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Contingency Management

Contingency management/motivational incentive

Contingency Management

Contingency management is a behavioral therapy that leans into providing incentive-based interventions to produce behavior change. As a form of treatment, it is also commonly referred to as motivational incentives. Contingency management is used to treat substance abuse disorders and mental health disorders. It is sometimes used in combination with other behavioral therapies or a medication-assisted treatment program.

Take advantage of Olympic Behavioral Health’s many addiction treatment programs by contacting (561) 272-0800.


Incentive-based interventions in substance abuse treatment rely on the psychological understanding of behavior acquisition. For instance, positive behavior reinforcement leads to that behavior being repeated. On the flip side, behaviors that are not rewarded or reinforced will taper off or cease altogether.

Instead of focusing on negative reinforcement wherein, negative behavior is punished, contingency management focuses on praising positive behaviors. Thus, incentive-based intervention leans on dishing out rewards when recovery benchmarks are met, such as clean drug tests.

The use of incentives in substance abuse treatment is also designed to combat the association someone with an addiction may have around drug use producing a reward. Certainly, drug use is damaging. But for users amid their addiction, their brain has linked drug use with positives like the euphoria produced by opiates or the dulling sensation of drinking alcohol. It is thus helpful to replace that link with a stronger link between abstinence and rewards. Ultimately, contingency management is a form of abstinence reinforcement.(1)

Contingency Management


Contingency management is growing as a common intervention for substance abuse. On its face, it may sound outlandishly expensive. But research indicates contingency management programs only cost a few hundred dollars per person more than other forms of therapy-based addiction treatment. This slight increase in cost compared to other methods is outweighed by the potential for improved outcomes. That may be particularly true among patients who have failed to experience success with other forms of treatment.

Discover the full benefits and possibilities of incentive-based interventions when you contact (561) 272-0800.


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