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EDUC 616 Behavior Modification Plan

Behavior Modification Plan
Kurt Makaryk
Olivet Nazarene University
EDUC - 616
Prof. Brooks
June 2, 2020
Certification of Authorship: I certify that I am the author of this paper and that any assistance I
received in its preparation is fully acknowledged and disclosed in the paper. I have also cited
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Your Signature: Kurt Makaryk
If I were to be informed of, or if I witnessed evidence of a student self-harming, my
immediate reaction would be to approach the student calmly and matter-of-factly to address the
issue. It is important in this initial step to not point any blame or create a sense of shame for the
student. IN this situation, I would use the student’s own language to refer to why I suspect selfharm. If I were to see cutting scars or other evidence, it would be important for me to state that it
is why I am approaching the student. In order to maintain trust, it would be crucial for me to state
that I intend to seek help for that student. Immediately after the initial conversation, I would
escort the student to our school social worker’s office. Only once the student is safely under
supervision, would I leave them again. After follow-up with the social worker, I would monitor
the situation with the student very carefully. While respecting their privacy, and making no
public mention of the incident, I would be sure to check in with them often.
Self-harm is always a result of emotional struggle within a student. To this end, it should
be treated as a symptom of an emotional or behavior disorder. A student should never be
“reprimanded” for this behavior. The student’s mental health and safety are being compromised,
so as educators, we need to always be willing to provide the support for these individuals. It is
important to understand the cause of the behavior. “Self-mutilation can serve as a means to
relieve intolerable emotional pain; a form of self-punishment; a way to reconnect or ‘stabilize’
the body in response to a dissociative episode; and, almost always, a means of communicating a
deep sense of anguish. Typically, students who self-mutilate are not trying to manipulate others
around them; they are trying to express what they cannot put into words. The injury externalizes
and releases the pain, thereby helping them feel more in control of their emotions and body
(Lieberman, 2004).
Administrators can also be proactive in preventing and responding to self-harm episodes.
Teachers should have a clear plan to know what to do in the event that they suspect or witness
self-harm. This instruction should be carried out by school social workers and psychologists.
Parents and families should also be made aware of causes of and prevention against self-harm. In
addition, families should know about the response plan that schools carry out.
Lieberman, R. (2004). Understanding and Responding to Students Who Self-Mutilate. Principal
Leadership Magazine, 4(7).