PBS: What is Positive Behaviour Support?

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What is PBS?

Positive Behaviour Support, or more commonly shortened to PBS, is a behaviour management system based on scientific evidence and research. It aims to improve the quality of life of individuals and their families by helping to prevent challenging or negative behaviour.

What is challenging behaviour?

All behaviour occurs for a reason and in attempt to achieving a specific outcome. Challenging behaviour works in the same way and for the same reasons.

However, unlike positive behaviour, challenging behaviour can make everyday life more difficult for not just those around the individual but the person exhibiting the challenging behaviour as well.

Types of challenging behaviour

Challenging behaviour comes in many different forms. It can manifest itself as aggressive behaviour or include the harming oneself or others. The different types of challenging behaviour may seriously impact on the day to day experiences of individuals, their parents, families, support workers and others around them.

Managing challenging behaviour

Improving, preventing and managing challenging behaviour is about improving the quality of life for everyone. Negative behaviour can be very stressful and so PBS works to provide effective tools and strategies to help prevent such distress.

While some people attempt various short term solutions, these temporary fixes ultimately do not address the reason underlying the challenging behaviour. Even in instances where short term fixes do not actually make the situation worse or cause further negatively impact it doesn’t offer a permanent, effective solution.

Understanding PBS

PBS uses various techniques to promote positive behaviour and manage challenging behaviour. Using applied behaviour analysis coupled with a values based approach and focused on the individual’s needs, PBS practitioners can help find better ways for people to get their needs met through their behaviour.

PBS focuses on understanding why challenging behaviour occurs, what the reasons are behind it and what the individual is trying to achieve.

Scientific methodology and evidence backed research

What makes PBS such an effective and respectful form of behaviour management is not just that it provides a unique, individual-centric approach.

How PBS works

Information collection

Positive behaviour support doesn’t just involve the person themselves. Family, support workers and carers are all involved and work together.

The practitioners will collect as much information as possible in a methodical and scientific manner. This includes health and medical information. By ensuring as much data is collected as possible, they’ll be best posed to understand the behaviour.


Using the collected information, the PBS practitioner can design a positive behaviour support plan. Every plan is specific to the individual it is designed for and includes strategies and techniques to help them meet their needs.

The plan may also include the development of new skills to help improve communication or increase independence. It might include ideas to help a person feel better if they’re feeling down. This is all in addition to copying techniques for situations that can be difficult and challenging.

PBS plans also include guidance to help others provide the necessary support. It will also help parents, family, carers and support workers understand the meaning behind behaviour and the needs of the individual person. Moreover, it sets out guidelines for everyone to understand for situations where things have become unsafe.

The aim of the plan is to prevent challenging behaviour and help one live a more meaningful life and improve one’s wellbeing.

Plan reviews

Plans are periodically reviewed over time to ensure that the strategies and techniques are working. Information is collected in the same methodical and scientific way as before to inform practitioners of how effective the plan is.

If any adjustments need to be done, practitioners will be as informed as possible to do so.

Why use PBS?

PBS is an evidence-backed and effective form of behaviour management. Additionally, it is an ethical form of providing support for people and their networks experiencing challenging behaviour.

It focuses on providing unique and customised behaviour management plans whilst promoting individual wellbeing and preserving dignity.

Supporting the development of positive behaviour

  • PBS aims to improve the quality of an individual’s life.
  • It works to understand the reason and meaning behind certain behaviours.
  • It focuses on developing positive skills rather than punishing challenging behaviour.
  • PBS is conducted collaboratively with the person themselves and their friends and carers.
  • Combining theory and processes, PBS engages in applied behaviour analysis to predict and change challenging behaviour.
  • Decisions and PBS plans are made based on facts, data and research and through formal assessments.
  • PBS plans are designed to provide positive, active support for people over the long term to improve their wellbeing.

PBS at One Central Health

One Central Health offers Positive Behaviour Support services in addition to a variety of other complementary services, including:

Our practitioners all work to the highest clinical standards to help people with their challenging behaviour in a way that ensures their human rights and dignity is upheld.

Contact us today

To find out more about PBS and our services, contact the OCH team today.

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