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Changing Behavior Through Research

Psychology or neuroscience researchers and other scientists have been studying methods of change for over a hundred years on countless populations worldwide. A wide variety of methods have been discredited (many of which are still panhandled online) and several others have been found to deliver good results. When considering which to try first, it’s important to look for programs and methods with research backing. Why guess which to choose based on someone’s flashy promises?

We’ve spent decades combing the scientific literature for effective methods. We then tested them in our clinics outside of a laboratory setting to make sure they’re practical and effective. We finally used the best technology and instructional design to translate them to an online program. But we didn’t stop there – we wanted to know that our methods and techniques kept their same potency online.

Every program should have (at least) a research agenda that looks like ours:

  1. Identify effective methods in scientifically validated studies OR pilot our internally developed methods in our Laboratory Clinic.
  2. Test these methods within the context of a treatment plan to ensure efficacy.
  3. Once developed for technology delivery, track online outcomes to establish their appropriateness to the online setting and to make sure they are as or more effective than when delivered face-to-face.
  4. Begin the process again as new methods are discovered to make sure they work as intended.

When pornography addiction disrupts someone’s life there are often feelings of vulnerability. You may feel willing to try anything to get rid of the problem. Unfortunately, slick information marketers use this vulnerability to propose a wide variety of dubious solutions and programs. Drinking cold water, clutching things to your chest or using tips and tricks to keep thoughts out of your mind only make overcoming the behavior worse. By taking each trigger on its own terms through cognitive targeting and restructuring, you will experience far superior outcomes.

Changing Research Behavior

When we started Candeo it was our desire to offer a fully professional and evidence-based program for pornography addiction that wouldn’t require a major investment from individuals. It didn’t make sense to us that methods established by expensive research should remain hidden in journals or clinics-they should be made available to everyone.

But we ran into a problem: How do you demonstrate program effectiveness for everyone? This required that research be done in a way that has never been possible before. Instead of going through the typical 6-year research cycle from getting the grant to publishing the research, we set up real time research structures. What good does data that is 6 years old do anyone-especially in an age of technology? Rather, we assess everyone at least 6 different times through the program on a variety of measures and factors. This helps us to triangulate aspects of the program that need to be enhanced for greater efficacy—and even more importantly, to tailor the program to individual needs, strengths and weaknesses.

This approach also allows us to go to the many organizations using our program to provide them with up-to-the-hour outcomes. They can track how well their clients are doing and see reports, charts and graphs related to their behavior.

So we had to change our behavior and the behavior of the research establishment to have the kind of real-time data required for delivering effective interventions. It’s a silent and not very sexy revolution, but we’re proud of it and the exceptional results it allows us to deliver for our students.