This book is the first attempt to validate behavior modification techniques in a carefully controlled experimental treatment environment for emotionally disturbed children. Such special settings permit carefully conducted research experiments can be carried out. This is the first book to synthesize scientific and clinical approaches to human behavior, indicating that behavior modification may one day be as much an applied science as engineering or medicine.
This experimental approach introduces scientific rigor to the clinical setting, as evidenced by precise measurement of behavior variables, detailed specification of treatment procedures, and the use of sophisticated experimental designs to provide objective evaluation of the effectiveness of treatment programs. In this approach, series of idiographic (single-subject) case studies are conducted in a precise manner with each patient-subject admitted to the treatment program. The general research methodology is similar to that used in the broad area of operant conditioning, and most work reported in the book was conducted within a learning theory or behavior-modification framework.
Browning and Stover discuss the general problems of developing and controlling a total therapeutic milieu, presenting practical discussions of problems of data collection, decisions about treatment programs to be used, staffing problems, and documental opinion on the relative values of various treatment techniques. Throughout attention is devoted to developing a method for answering common questions of parent, child-care worker, and professional. The authors conducted symposia on the material contained in this book at various national and regional meetings and have lectured extensively on college campuses. It is a ground-breaking study.