what is contingency management

It takes a lot of work and effort to recover from a substance use disorder. Addiction has a powerful grip over millions of people in the United States. However, recovery is never out of reach, and entering an addiction treatment program is a big first step towards getting sober. A proven type of treatment program is behavioral therapy, where a therapist helps you treat the root cause of substance use with a variety of therapeutic methods. However, because different people have different needs and respond differently to treatment, there are many types of behavioral therapy. Contingency management is one of the most effective for substance use disorders.

We at San Antonio Recovery Center understand that breaking free from addiction is a big challenge for many people. That’s why we offer a contingency management program as well as other types of treatment. Our programs enable all patients to maximize their chances of success. If you or someone you love is ready to begin the journey toward sobriety, you can contact us today at 866.957.7885. Don’t let addiction keep you from the life you deserve.

What Is Contingency Management?

The goal of contingency management, like all other behavioral therapies, is to create changes in a person’s behavior. Contingency management works based on the principles of operant conditioning. Consider the following about behaviors:

  • When they are rewarded, they are more likely to continue - these behaviors go on to be performed longer, more consistently, and with improved quality
  • If they are punished, it is less likely that they will continue - this will eventually go on until the behavior no longer manifests
  • When they are neither punished nor rewarded, they will be reduced - behaviors that are ignored may or may not be eliminated

The belief is that many of the client’s behaviors are learned through this process, and contingency management tries to modify learned behaviors or create new ones through reward and punishment.

Contingency Management and Addiction Recovery

The idea behind contingency management is that a person’s behaviors can change due to immediate and certain rewards and punishments. Because substance use is a pleasurable or rewarding experience, it is very effective at reinforcing the behavior of substance use. Contingency management tries to counteract that by offering even greater rewards and incentives when the patient is able to abstain from using substances.

The real-world benefits of sobriety, such as improved health and relationships, can seem too remote and uncertain to reinforce the behavior of sobriety. Since contingency management seeks to minimize the behavior of substance use, it tries to provide more concrete rewards than a patient would receive if they were trying to get sober alone. If the patient is able to attend treatment and maintain the expectations of the program, their rewards are greater.

While punishments may feature in some contingency management programs, their use isn't appropriate because punishment:

  • Places a strain on the relationship between the patient and the therapist, which is counterproductive
  • Causes patients to be more secretive and less truthful about their behaviors
  • Does not have the long-lasting impact of a reward

Enter a Contingency Management Program at San Antonio Recovery Center

Are you or a loved one struggling with a substance use disorder and want to make a change? San Antonio Recovery Center offers a contingency management program as well as a variety of other treatments to suit your unique needs, including:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Group addiction counseling program
  • 12-step program
  • Family therapy
  • Life skills training
  • Motivational enhancement therapy program

Our caring and professional staff members understand that being in recovery is a lifelong endeavor. Don’t let substance use disorders take away your future. Contact us today at 866.957.7885 to begin your healing.

Now is the time to focus on your recovery.


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