Questionnaires Selfmonitoring and Observation of Behaviour

Questionnaires are often useful to generate a first impression of the problem behaviour. Depending on the problem behaviour (for example, anxiety, depression, substance abuse) the therapist can select from a number of questionnaires that collect domain-specific information. When the domain is depression, the therapist can administer the Beck Depression Inventory (Beck et al., 1996), which is developed to assess the behavioural manifestations of depression, as well as for example the Pleasant Events Schedule (MacPhillamy & Lewinsohn, 1976), which aims to assess to what extent the patient still initiates pleasant activities that may serve as reinforcers. In regards to substance use disorders, the Time Line Follow-Back (TLFB) method gives a good impression of the quantity and frequency of drinking/drug taking during the past six months, as well as more detailed information on pattern of substance use (Sobell, Toneatto & Sobell, 1994). For a comprehensive review of behavioural assessment in addiction see Emmelkamp & Vedel (2006).

When the therapist and patient have determined what behaviour needs to change, it can be useful to have the patient complete a self-monitoring diary to elucidate the conditions under which the behaviour occurs. Such diary registrations can illuminate crucial associations between problem behaviour and critical events (antecedents and consequences of the problem behaviour). It is important to tailor the registration forms to the individual needs of the patient. In general, during the self-monitoring phase, patients are asked to record date and time, the situation they are in, their emotion and its intensity, the presence of any physical sensations, their automatic thoughts and the occurrence of the problem behaviour. In contrast to cognitive therapy, where diaries are used as a means of changing cognitions, in behaviour therapy diaries are used as an assessment instrument to enhance the problem analysis (see Figure 4.1) and the evaluation of treatment. In this respect, it can also be useful to monitor behaviour by using counters. This type of behavioural assessment is particularly useful with high-frequency behaviours, such as tics and obsessions.

Observing behaviour can generate important information. For example, a visit to the playground during break can generate valuable information about a child that does not interact with its peers. Teachers can perform such behavioural observations, provided they receive

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