Consequences can broadly be described as what happens after an action, whether or not that action was pro-social or healthy. I say that to clarify that although the word “consequence” is often thought of in negative terms, we work to teach that all actions have a reaction or consequence, and that the initiator of the action is the one who will be reaping the greatest effects of their action. Cause and effect is one of the most basic skills my coworkers and I hope to teach clients who come to treatment.
The way we teach that sort of cause and effect is through natural and logical consequences. Logical consequences are the consequences that occur external and planfully. For example, getting a ticket for speeding or earning a paycheck for working are both logical consequences. Natural consequences are the consequences that will occur regardless of any logical consequences. In the same examples, feeling guilty or being late because you got pulled over are natural consequences. Earning trust with your supervisor would be a natural consequence for working consistently. Identifying the natural and logical consequences for actions assists clients in being able to eventually anticipate them, and modify their behaviors accordingly.