Assignment: Behaviorism Theories

RESPONSE 1: Social Learning, Exchange, and Behaviorism Theories in Social Work Practice


Respond to two colleagues who chose the two theories you did NOT choose for your post.


·       Use the theory that neither of you used in your posts to explain how that third theory might apply to the population your colleague discussed. For example, imagine that your post is about social learning. Jane’s post is about exchange theory, while Steve’s post is about behaviorism. You would respond to Jane’s post by discussing behaviorism. Then you would respond to Steve’s post by discussing exchange theory.



Colleague 1: Dalicia


A brief description of the theory and the population you selected.  The theory that I have selected is the social learning theory.  Robbins, Chatterjee, & Canda (2012) stated that “social learning theory is the school of behavioral thought that has best combined internal and external processes” (pg 351). This theory is based on how individuals adapt and adopt to different environments base of their behavior and cultural norm. Robbins, Chatterjee, & Canda (2012) stated that social learning theory offers a synthesis of cognitive psychology and principles of behavior modification in addition to an analysis of social influence on development. The population I would use with this theory is young children. Younger children from the ages of 3 to 5 because children learn how to adapt to different things or environment based on learn behaviors from adults.


Then explain how that theory might contribute to social work practice with the population you selected.  Using this theory could contribute to the social work practice with the populations of younger children due to understanding why a child act a certain way around their mother or father. With the social learning theory a bobo doll experiment was use to see gain understanding of the fears and anxiety of the child. Using this in the social work practice would help me as a social worker to be able to communicate with the child non-verbally because non verbal communication is how younger children communicate. The social learning theory would help me understand what behavior the parent uses around the child that causes the child to show fear. This theory would also give me understanding on why the young child cannot adapt too many situations and also the child cognitive functioning. Another reason social learning theory would contribute to social work practice with the population that is selected is that it would help me gain understanding on the reason the child have a negative reaction to some things; in which many individuals would called it a social norm but this theory calls it copying. Many younger children tend to copy things and it becomes a learn behavior which can make it hard for the younger child to adapt to different situations. This theory would lead me as a social worker in helping the child to use different coping skills to help change their adaptation from what was socially learn to be able to help the child as they grow older and to help the parents gain an understanding of their child behavior.


Robbins, S. P., Chatterjee, P., & Canda, E. R. (2012). Contemporary human behavior theory: A critical perspective for social work (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Allyn & Bacon.






Colleague 2: Tiffany


The theory that I have chosen for this discussion is the behaviorism theory. The behaviorism theory is mainly related to learning and adapting to new settings, environments, and situations (Robbins et al., 2012). It is often classified into two categories which include classical behaviorism and neobehaviorism.  The two main processes through which learning occurs are identified as classical conditioning and operant conditioning (Robbins et al., 2012). Classical conditioning places emphasis on learning that is associated when a naturally eliciting stimulus is paired with a neutral stimulus (Robbins et al., 2012). Operant conditioning focuses on the importance of reinforcement rather than connecting of one stimulus with another (Robbins et al., 2012). It also emphasizes consequences of behavior and states that behavior is shaped and maintained by its consequences (Robbins et al., 2012). Operant conditioning also places significance on reinforcement and the role it plays in strengthened behaviors. This concept is based on the implications that are provided for negative or positive responses (Robbins et al., 2012).

The population that I selected is children with behavior challenges associated with the autism spectrum disorder. Working with children with behavioral problems can be challenging. Therefore, it is important that we seek services, interventions, and behavioral approaches that can assist with changing or decreasing a child’s negative behaviors. By incorporating more behavioral services into our treatment plans and working with families on how to shape, reinforce, and have consequences for behaviors will provide a more stable approach. The behaviorism theory can assist social workers with learning different methods that will provide an understanding of how stimulus, conditioning, responses, and learning can be integrated during the treatment planning stage. These approaches can teach children different skills and assist with finding positive replacement behaviors.

The behaviorism theory can help with providing an understanding of the importance of consequences, reinforcement, shaping behavior, and help with incorporating a reward system into the child’s daily schedule (Robbins et al., 2012). This concept will assist with providing structure not only for the child but also for the family system. The theory will also help me with becoming more informed in order to be more efficient in my practice when providing services and techniques in my treatment plans. The behaviorism theory will enhance my skill set when working with this population and assist me with developing different procedures and methods to utilize in my daily practice. Lastly, this theory will help with being mindful of interactions, engagement, communication, and body language when working with children with autism. These abilities will help when building rapports, bridging the communication gap, and assist with changing behaviors.

Within society, we have seen a need for an increase in services for this population in the recent years. The issues that children with autism and their families face on a daily basis can be overwhelming and difficult to cope with at times. As social workers, we must work with families on providing them with the educational element and the knowledge for them to be advocates for their children and seek better services.



Robbins, S. P., Chatterjee, P., & Canda, E. R. (2012). Contemporary human behavior theory: A

critical perspective for social work (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Allyn & Bacon.