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Author question and answer

  • Who should buy your book?

    I wanted this to be a practical guide for anyone dealing with inappropriate behaviour. [+]
    So it should appeal to a range of users from parents looking for help to those who work in jobs that bring them into contact with people who have behaviour problems. That might be jobs like teaching, counselling and youth work. Also volunteers who coach or run groups for young people will find it offers suggestions. And students studying humanities at university level will also find it useful in connecting the theory and practice of dealing with behaviour.
  • What are the benefits of using this approach?

    Encouraging Appropriate Behaviour gives the reader four things: [+]
    • Six steps to follow
    • 14 principles
    • 13 tools
    • 20 strategies

    The benefits of these are:

    Using the six steps:
    • creates a structure that helps give you a sense that you have control of the situation
    • helps you maintain a calm and consistent approach even when your really emotional
    • allows you to remember what to do
    • sheds light on the situation in a fair and unbiased way
    • can help you to choose where to focus your energy, based on the circumstances
    • helps come up with new ideas and possibilities to explore as you address each step
    • allows you to quickly and simply analyse situations.

    Having the principles to follow:
    • helps you avoid pitfalls
    • gives you important insights
    • builds your self confidence to handle situations effectively.

    Having a range of tools to choose from:
    • can change the way you see peoples behaviour
    • reveals other possibilities and perspectives
    • helps you use and role model assertive behaviour
    • builds your knowledge and understanding about the behaviour.

    Providing a range of possible strategies:
    • allows you to create new ways of dealing with issues
    • empowers you by giving you more response choices
    • gives you powerful and proven options for taking charge of situations.
  • Why should people buy your book instead of a different book on the subject?

    What Encouraging Appropriate Behaviour does is provide a generalised approach to any behaviour. [+]
    It shows how to narrow down what the behaviour is and then help you understand when and why it is occurring. Now you are in a position to make an informed decision on how to respond.

    It gives you the six BECOME steps of behaviour, emergency, context, options, myself and enact. These steps enable you to make an informed decisions on choosing options and strategies. It offers suggestions on ways of responding and specific strategies to try. The difference is that I have not been too prescriptive on when or why you should use a strategy. I give a menu of options for the reader to choose from and then a way in which they can work out which of those is most likely to work for their situation.
  • Can you explain why this book is different?

    The key differences is who I was trying to write for, what I thought they needed to know and how do you remember it all. [+]
    I tried to write for anyone who has to deal with inappropriate behaviour. Step by step instructions about what to think about and then what options they have. It can be adapted to any setting.

    Having theory is great but for many people just want to know what to do in practice. There is always going to be a need for some background information but that is kept to the bear minimum. I made sure all the information gets used at some point within the 6 steps.

    Because it uses a general framework - the six BECOME steps - that can be used in any situation it helps you remember it all. It is just like first aid training that uses steps to help you remember what to do. Providing lots of great stuff can lose its usefulness if you cannot remember what to do. I have provided a system to help overcome this.
  • What will you learn from the book?

    The short answer is how to deal with unacceptable behaviour. [+]
    There is a range of things that helps achieve that. The book provides the six BECOME steps of B-behaviour, E-emergency, C-context, O-options, M-myself and E-enact. Following these steps enables people to:
    • pin-point what the behaviour is
    • explore when and why it occurs
    • help work out how to encourage change.

    This gives you a logical and consistent way of approaching problem behaviours.

    Encouraging Appropriate Behaviour also discusses:
    • 14 principles of how to approach situations
    • 13 tools to help understand the problem
    • 10 response styles
    • 20 effective strategies to try.

    Case studies are used to demonstrate how to put this into practice as you follow the six steps.
  • What is the central idea discussed in the book?

    To address inappropriate behaviour it is helpful to have a process to follow. Especially when emotions are high. [+]
    It helps ensure the problem gets addressed and does not make matters any worse. I developed six steps to follow which cover the what, when, why and how. The six BECOME steps are:

    Many people get stuck focusing on the person when it needs to be all about the specific behaviour. We generalise too much and that does not help the person understand what needs to change.

    Well we need to ensure everyone is safe so this step focus attention on this issue.

    We can be too quick to blame the person without considering the situation they are in. The context of the situation needs to be understood but also possible reasons behind the behaviour. If you do not address the underlying reason it is unlikely that you can resolve the behaviour effectively. There is a tendency to simply want to stop the inappropriate behaviour rather than look to encourage replacing it with something that is appropriate to meet the persons need.

    We can fail to use a variety of options in response to behaviour and tend to do the same thing all the time. There is lots of ways to resolve and respond to situations, so lets use them.

    There can be plenty of ways and times when you are dealing with a behaviour that is the result of something you did. That means you are a part of the context. Stepping back and thinking about what your part it in all is can help ensure that you act fairly and consistently.

    Doing nothing basically means the same as agreeing. If you do nothing, nothing will change. So once you have gone through the what, when, why and how in the other five steps it is time to do something about the behaviour.
  • What are some examples of solutions you propose to deal with difficult behaviour?

    One of the simplest tools is using I-messages to communicate. [+]
    It is structuring sentences stating with I feel (then stating your feelings) when (and then stating the behaviour that triggered the feelings). What is great about it is that it lets the person know how you feel and the behaviour they need to change. Not only that, it helps stop blaming and putting down the other person which generally does not help the situation.

    Teaching others to use I-messages gives them a way to effectively communicate when they have problems with others behaviour. That way they can sort out their own issues without needing outside help. The thing to remember is that while I-messages are simple, that does not mean they are easy. Like any skill practice is needed to get them working well.

    A favourite strategy of mine is building and eroding. It works on the concept that any behaviour will build or erode the expectations of others. Lets take being late as an example. If someone is always on time that builds the expectation that they will be somewhere when they say they will be. People begin to trust the person to be there on time and that they can believe them when they say something. If they are late all the time that erodes people trust in what they say and do. So I would be saying something like “I feel annoyed when people regularly turn up late. It erodes the level of trust because I do not know when to belief them about what time they will turn up.”

    There is a chapter on forming behaviour agreements. Many groups and settings like schools have rules to live by. What should be in those rules and how do you frame them? Encouraging Appropriate Behaviour goes into detail about that. A downfall of some agreements is they focus on the things you should not do. You really need an agreement to focus on what you want people to do. Take we will respect ourselves, others and the environment for example. These eight words sum up lots about how you want people to act. One of the key points is having a discussion about the expectations with everyone involved. People will need to know how you show respect. If you don’t then you generally get excuses like “I didn’t know”.
  • What evidence supports the idea's in your book?

    Using a framework or steps has been used in many area’s to help people understand and develop solutions. It is widely practiced in emergency management so the methodology is nothing new. [+]

    I just developed a new series of steps to use, the BECOME steps. The content comes from well established branches of practical and theoretical psychology and counselling.

    The foundation of response style curve in the book is based on behaviour therapy which goes back to the 1950’s. This lays out 10 possible styles with which you can use to try and bring about change. Behaviour therapy focuses on what is happening in the environment that effects behaviour. It produced foundation psychological theories like operant conditioning and social learning.

    Many strategies in the book are based on cognitive behaviour therapy approaches. This began to integrate what we were thinking (called cognitions) with what was happening in the environment or situation. Cognitive behaviour therapy developed out of behaviour therapy. People like Ellis, Beck and Meichenbaum developed their own ways of approaching this along with others.

    Many of the principles and a number of strategies come from solutions focused practice. This has been around since the late 1970’s when Steve De Shazer & colleagues began developing it.

    The aggression risk assessment is based on training used by the San Francisco Police Force, as well as assault response training that has been run overseas and Australia since the early 1990’s.

    Understanding why the behaviour is occurring is important in trying to choose the most effect strategy to use. Many people would have heard of Maslow’s theory of needs which dates back to 1970. While the book does not advocate trying to psychoanalyse others, this theory does offer a helpful way of understanding why a behaviour might be occurring.
  • How controversial is the approach offered?

    Unsurprisingly, there still continues to be controversy about how to deal with inappropriate behaviour. [+]
    Is it okay to use physical aggression like smacking a child? I think opinion either way comes down to more about the values the person holds then to what is being suggested by the social and psychological research. So when I suggest you should focus on encouraging appropriate behaviour rather than on the bad behaviour there is going to be people who will disagree.

    I want to stress that when I say focus on encouraging appropriate behaviour it does not mean you totally disregard or never use consequences. We need to have balance so I do not recommend using just one way of going about things. That is why I created the style curve to show 10 various ways you can respond to situations so you are not locked in to one way.

    But I do not believe that physical punishment should be used. As a youth worker I never used it and we had great outcomes. Really what physical punishment communicates is that I am bigger or more powerful than you so do as I say or I will hurt you. It is not a good message and there is plenty of evident that this leads to increased aggressive behaviour when you use physically punishment.
  • What credentials do you have in the subject area?

    Much of what is in the book comes from my own practical experiences working with youth. [+]
    I studied a Diploma in Outdoor Leadership and then spent two years full time leading outdoor education groups. When you take a new group of students bushwalking and rafting every week you get to see a lot of different personalities and behaviours. I then spent five years with various organisations working with youth at risk. I learnt a great deal from the other staff I worked along side. There was plenty of behavioural issues to deal with, especially because I was involved in residential programs where you live along side the young people. One residential program I worked on was for 20 days.

    I like to lean new things, especially when I can put it into some form of practical use. So I have done lots of research and reading. It is sort of come about the opposite way around. I got the experience then leant the relevant theory.
  • What is your personal background and how did it inspire this book?

    I wanted to know how do you change peoples behaviour? I realised was that I was doing it but only on auto pilot - unconscious competence they call it. I began to wondered how would I ever be able to teach someone what I did. [+]
    I left school and went into banking ending up a commercial lending manager. I travelled for year around Australia and loved being out in the bush. That lead me to studying outdoor leadership. I was going to be an adventure tour guide but then I found out about outdoor education. Teaching young people by using the outdoors and adventure seemed so natural and it made the work more challenging and meaningful.

    Eventually working in outdoor education led to me working with at risk young men at Typo Station. It was a residential program where you live onsite with the young people. Each program lasted 20 days broken up by two weekend home visits. The biggest challenge was the nine day hike but the rewards were great as well. I did that for three years.

    But I never really answered the question that I had arrived at Typo with. How do you change peoples behaviour? So in 2005 I began to write out idea’s about what I had been doing. Then I started research it and eventually came up with a set of actions and tools that has finally over time become Encouraging Appropriate Behaviour.
  • Tell us about yourself?

    I am generally reflective and a private sort of person. [+]
    I think most people see me as being more introverted than extroverted. I like to focus on what is real and of practical value so some might describe me as analytical and objective. I always try and do the best I can with what I have got. I also like to read. I am an inquisitive type and am always asking myself why or how does that work so most of what I read is non fiction.

    Being outdoors is a big part of making myself feel happy. I can happily work inside but I really notice it if I don’t get to spend much time in the outdoors. I try and walk or ride my bike everyday or at the very least sit on the balcony to read. But every time I head to the bush I notice myself relaxing and feeling content. I need to get a regular outdoors adventure fix.

    This goes back to my teenage years when I use to surf. I was never any good but just loved the freedom and being out in the surf trying to work with it. I leant some good lessons surfing. The biggest was you have to work with nature, its too powerful to be able to tame or control it.

    Human nature really intrigues me. Once I started to work in outdoor education I then began to delve deeper into how people learn and change. That started the search that ended up in me writing Encouraging Appropriate Behaviour.
  • What do you do when your not writing?

    Writing has never been a full time occupation for me. [+]
    I doubt if it ever will. I really enjoy working with people in the outdoors so I do freelance work leading groups. I do outdoor education, some youth at risk work and work with people recovering from mental illness. I am also establishing a training course based on my book.
  • How come the book price is so cheap?

    I did not want the price to become a hugh barrier for people because Encouraging Appropriate Behaviour includes useful life skills. [+]
    While I cannot afford to give the book away, I want it within reach of most peoples budgets.

    Also publishing is changing which helps reduce the cost of book production. I have been able to keep production costs down by outsourcing it to professionals which means only paying only for the time they worked on the project. There is no full time publishing team to pay. Now with printing on demand available, when an order comes in and it can be printed overnight and then sent out. That means you do not have to print a hugh number of books to have in stock that you have to recoup the cost of. For smaller publishers like myself it is now possible to produce high quality books for really reasonable prices.
  • What's the hardest part in teach people how to deal with difficult behaviour?

    They are trying to find solutions and are sometimes hoping to find one magic trick that will solve all their problems. [+]
    In reality there is no instant solution and in fact it is a process that takes time. So managing peoples expectations is difficult as it is a delicate balancing act. You want to give people hope and encouragement that it is within their ability to resolve issues but you do not want to promise the impossible. Unrealistic expectations leads people to giving up when they do not see instant results. Behaviour problems usually build up over time - sometimes a long time - so you cannot expect one solution will fix everything overnight.
A printed version of the author question and answers is available on the press kit page.
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Clicking the buy button will take you to the books page at

Price USD$11.95 for paperback and USD$7.99 for kindle ebook. Available on all amazon stores.

 You are at: