Positive Behavior Facilitation (PBF)

Positive Behavior Facilitation (PBF)
Understanding and Intervening in the Behavior of Youth
Middle School
High School
Item Number:
Positive Behavior Facilitation (PBF): Understanding and Intervening in the Behavior of Youth


Positive Behavior Facilitation (PBF) challenges traditional models of discipline and control by providing school staff with new ways of supporting youth and encouraging them to make positive behavioral decisions for themselves. As a model for intervening in behavior, PBF examines not only the what; it purports that the why is as important in effectively intervening in the self-defeating behavior of children and in supporting, or facilitating, the demonstration of positive behavior. The author provides details on how to use six PBF tools — practical and functional strategies necessary in order to comprehensively understand and effectively intervene in behavior. The PBF approach helps adults examine how they interact with youth, better understand children’s behavior, and use effective interventions to help facilitate behavior change.

PBF Belief Statements

The belief statements listed below can support us, first, in understanding behavior before we attempt to intervene in it. Second, they help explain how children, adults, and behavior are viewed from the PBF frame of reference.

  1. To be successful as an educator of today's youth, one must be fully committed (i.e., called) to do so. For these purposes, educator is defined as anyone who is imparting knowledge to children and youth.
  2. Children are society's greatest and most precious resource.
  3. Every child deserves our best and greatest efforts at all times.
  4. Effective education of children in the 21st century requires awareness, tools, and skills that differ from those previously needed.
  5. Educating today's children and youth requires awareness, tools, and skills that are diverse and multifaceted.
  6. Many children and youth are wounded and are in need of healing. These wounds, including those that are very deep, can be healed with the support of caring and skilled adults.
  7. Facilitating positive behavior begins with the willingness and ability to do so in yourself.
  8. Healing ourselves of our personal wounds is directly related to our ability (or inability) to support children in their healing.
  9. Our responsibilities to the youth we serve include extrinsic behavior management and creation of opportunities for intrinsic behavioral change.
  10. The support and education of children are some of the world's most important work.

It is important to note that these statements are offered not as a means to force any particular set of beliefs on anyone who happens to read about PBF, but rather to describe how PBF views the task of facilitating personal positive behavior and supporting children in doing the same. These 10 belief statements are not absolutes; they are guideposts that can help us navigate our way toward promoting self-supportive behaviors in ourselves first and in children and youth.

From the Foreword

"Dr. Olive writes this book to encourage the adults who serve children and youth who defy instructions, overreact to minor frustrations, and have poor social skills and little motivation to learn. . . . Without an effective strategy for helping these youth, they are programmed for academic and social failure, rejection, and psychological alienation. PBF is the missing link that provides adults with a philosophical frame of reference, paired with effective strategies for succeeding with these youth."

—Nicholas J. Long, PhD

Book Review

"Dr. Olive reminds us that there is a difference—an important difference—between managing behavior and changing behavior. She provides the reader (primarily educators but parents and others who are engaged in the lives of youth) with insight on how we can move beyond management and encourage positive behavioral change. . . . Throughout the book, the reader is reminded that at the heart of our work with troubled and troubling youth is the necessary reflective work that each of us must do."

Reclaiming Youth Newsletter

Counselor Comments

"I am so glad that I did not miss out on this training! PBF is a comprehensive way of thinking about children’s behavior that makes lots of sense but is often not practiced. Dr. Olive brings so much knowledge, energy and passion to her seminar; she speaks from experience and is very engaging. The seminar positively affected the way I approach the students I work with as well as my colleagues."

—H. Hallock, LICSW, Counselor and Prevention Specialist

"Positive Behavior Facilitation (PBF) is a comprehensive and refreshing approach to understanding behavior and facilitating lasting change. It offers the possibility for entire systems to move far beyond traditional approaches to behavior management. Dr. Edna Olive is a dynamic and engaging trainer who brings a broad base of knowledge and experience to her audiences."

—C. Casey-Ducharme, M.Ed.

"The Positive Behavior Facilitation (PBF) program was one of the best presentations I've been to. It gives a very comprehensive approach to understanding yourself as an individual and professional and how that relates to fostering behavioral change in students. Dr Edna Olive has a passion that is infectious. I was so inspired by her as a trainer and a professional."

—A. M. Walker, M.Ed., Senior Counseling and Prevention Specialist

Table of Contents


Introduction: Behavior in the 21st Century and the Role of Positive Behavior Facilitation

Tools of Positive Behavior Facilitation

  • Tool 1: Awareness and Management of Self—asks us to do what we frequently ask youth to do—be honest about ourselves, take responsibility for ourselves, and change what we determine must be changed.
  • Tool 2: Knowledge of the Dynamics of Conflict—asks us to be aware of how and why conflict is created and then to practice effective management techniques that include preventing the escalation of a conflict into crisis. This tool also asks us to embrace a deeper understanding of conflict by considering the persons involved in the conflict.
  • Tool 3: Understanding the Differences between Behavior Management and Behavior Change—enables us to (a) gain clarity about our intentions in intervening in behavior, (b) choose the appropriate techniques based on our objectives, (c) begin to master the skills necessary to manage behavior and facilitate change of behavior, and (d) intervene in behavior in ways that best meet the developmental and emotional needs of the child.
  • Tool 4: Healing Environment—establishing a healing environment enables us to care for and nurture youth in their daily surroundings—helping them experience compassion, generosity, connectedness, trustful relationships, respect, and healing of their wounds.
  • Tool 5: Surface Behavior Management Techniques—simple and effective techniques that provide youth with opportunities to practice how to learn, live, and interact with others.
  • Tool 6: Effective Communication—involves the skills of observing, attending, listening, decoding, signaling, and responding.

Conclusion: You, as Messenger—challenges and inspires you to become fully committed and engaged to the work of supporting and nuturing youth in such a way that they are successful and fulfilled, and the they become adults contributing to society.

  • Appendix A: The Language of PBF
  • Appendix B: Strategies and Techniques for Behavior Management and Behavior Change
  • Appendix C: Questions for Assessing the Healing Environment
  • Appendix D: Definitions of Surface Behavior Management Techniques
  • Appendix E: The Charge of PBF
  • Appendix F: The 25 Principles of PBF
The 25 Principles of PBF
  1. Behavior is not microwaveable. (In other words, changing it takes time.)
  2. A tool is something used to get a job done. A skill is the result of consistent practice with tools.
  3. You cannot change the behavior of another human being. You can form relationships and create environments that support others while they change themselves.
  4. Relationships are the foundation for everything.
  5. Being self-aware is the first step in living successfully. Managing what you become aware of is the second step.
  6. Conflict and crisis are not the same thing.
  7. Conflict is an opportunity for learning about yourself and others.
  8. The healing environment is more about the nature of the relationships in the setting and less about what is in the physical setting.
  9. Everyone is equally important to a child's growth and healing.
  10. You have control over your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
  11. Relief from conflict is not the same as resolution of conflict.
  12. Someone or something else cannot trigger you.
  13. Nonverbal messages are more authentic than verbal messages.
  14. Adults and children have very similar needs.
  15. Observable behavior is the most visible and least significant part of a human being.
  16. The overuse of Surface Behavior Management Techniques can be addictive for adults and children.
  17. Things manage behavior; people change behavior.
  18. Your core beliefs will shape how you think, feel, and behave; know what they are. If the beliefs you have no longer work for you, work to replace them with beliefs that do work for you.
  19. There are many children and adults whose lives predispose them for conflict. In other words, their crisis often has nothing to do with you; you just happen to be present.
  20. Supporting others in changing their behavior requires that you be in relationship with them and that you get involved in their lives.
  21. Before you attempt to manage and control the behavior of another, manage and control your own behavior.
  22. All of your efforts will be more successful if you genuinely care about what you are doing.
  23. Don't take it personally, even when it feels personal.
  24. Learn to be comfortable with silence; it's a powerful tool.
  25. You can't effectively intervene in what you don't understand.


In-service training, consultation, or workshops by the author of this program can be provided for your school, facility, or organization. For more information and available dates, please contact:

711 Ritchie Avenue
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

Phone: 301-980-2927
Fax: 301-589-0086
E-Mail: rocketkids@comcast.net
Website: www.rocketinc.net