Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Fly By Design

by Val

The intervention that I spoke about in my video assignment was a technique used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  This technique demonstrates how thoughts and feelings impact actions, and that by changing thoughts, it is possible to change behavior.  This therapeutic method can be used with children as well as adults, and in groups or working with individuals.

The Fly By Design activity is part of an evidence based curriculum developed by Dr.Harvey Milkman and Dr. Kenneth Wanberg (2005).  In this activity, participants make a paper airplane and fly it.  The instructor notes how far the plane flies.  After this, participants are asked to make a second airplane and are encouraged to modify it.  The planes represent thoughts and the distance represents actions taken.  Metaphorically, one’s thoughts control one’s actions, just as the plane design controls the distance that the plane travelled.  By changing the design (or thoughts), the participant is able to control the plane (or actions).


Milkman, D. H., & Wanberg, D. K. (2005). Pathways to Self-Discovery and Change: Criminal Conduct and Substance Abuse Treatment for Adolescents. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

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