The Behavior Analyst

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 103–115 | Cite as

Applying the Least Restrictive Alternative Principle to Treatment Decisions: A Legal and Behavioral Analysis

  • J. M. Johnston
  • Robert A. Sherman


The least restrictive alternative concept is widely used in mental health law. This paper addresses how the concept has been applied to treatment decisions. The paper offers both a legal and a behavioral analysis to some problems that have emerged in recent years concerning the selection of behavioral procedures used to change client behavior. The paper also offers ways of improving the application of the concept, which involve developing a more behaviorally functional perspective toward restrictiveness.

Key words

least restrictive alternative treatment decisions legal issues behavioral programming 


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. M. Johnston
    • 1
  • Robert A. Sherman
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  2. 2.Graffin & Krattenmaker, P. C.BostonUSA

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