A = Antecedents (what happens to trigger the behaviour — people and/or environment)
B = Behaviour (here are your thoughts, feelings and behaviours)
C = Consequence (is this behaviour being reinforced or punished?)
Suppose that I want to manage my behaviours (e.g., I become frustrated and use angry words) when I am interacting with my partner.
A = We talk after work when we are both stressed, I get angry when we are arguing about something, he becomes demanding which makes me angrier, I hate talking about my family.
B = I yell, he yells, I get angry, we fight.
C = He has to listen to me when I yell (reinforced), I feel better that I have expressed my frustration (reinforced), I want him to know how I feel (reinforced), I feel awful that we are fighting (punished).
What you can do:
- To change the behaviour, simply make as many changes as you can.
- Experiment with different changes until you find a strategy that works for you.
- Change as many antecedents as you can: change the environment, change what might be triggering the behaviour, change what people say or do or change the activity.
For example, you can set times to talk when you are not stressed from work, you can put aside 5–10 minutes after work for downtime, you can talk before you become frustrated, you can breathe and keep calm rather than yelling, and you can talk about your family at a time when you are more relaxed and feel in control.
Change as many consequences as you can: change the responses, change the way you or others react or respond, change the outcomes or change the environment.
You can use diversions, distractions, rewards and other activities (e.g., if you can interact without fighting, reward yourselves with a glass of wine or with a time out doing something you both enjoy).