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Coverant Control

Description of the Strategy

The word coverant is a contraction of covert operant. Thus, it is an internal response that is reinforced (positively or negatively), punished, extinguished, or modeled. However, because the operants are strictly internal (and therefore accessible only by the individual), the consequences must likewise be administered internally. The therapist acts only as an instructor, not as the consequential agent.

There are several types of covert control procedures. Four (covert extinction, covert response cost, thought-stopping, and covert sensitization) decrease frequency of undesirable behavior. Two (covert positive reinforcement and covert negative reinforcement) increase frequency of positive behavior. Covert modeling can be used to either increase or decrease the frequency of a behavior. In using any of these procedures, repetition is very important. ...

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