Behavioral therapy describes a wide range of counseling options that are implemented in the hopes of altering someone’s maladaptive behavior. The primary objective in most forms of behavioral treatment reestablish positive behaviors and eliminate unwanted behaviors. Behavioral therapy works because of its deep roots in applied behavior analysis and behaviorism, which is the mindset that the things we learn come from what we experience out in the environment.
Contrary to a few of the other common types of therapy, such as humanistic or psychoanalytic therapies, behavioral therapy sessions stand out because it is entirely action-based. Our certified behavioral therapists have seen this type is effective in treating the negative behaviors or fear response themselves while teaching patients new skills or techniques to reduce or eliminate the issue altogether.
This type of therapy is considered to be problem-focused while being entirely action-oriented. Because of this, it is often seen as being useful for recognizing specific psychological issues that typically cause a domino effect of other complications in life. The most common culprit of these issues being stress management and anger management.
Because of this form of therapy’s customizable nature, it can be applied to treat a number of different mental illnesses and psychological conditions.
More frequently seen disorders that have been seen to benefit from these therapeutic methods include:
The form of therapy treatment that is used typically depends on a variety of individual factors that may be unique to each patient’s situation. This primarily includes the specific conditions that require being treated, along with the symptoms and their severity. Because there are so many situation variations amongst individuals seeking behavioral therapy treatment, there have been a number of different forms of therapy that have been created.
A few common behavioral therapy forms include:
CBT adds a cognitive element to the different behavioral techniques practiced in these sessions. The patient and therapist work together to focus on the negative thoughts and the problematic ideas that are produced by specific behaviors.
These sessions work to recognize and directly identify the destructive thoughts and negative feelings that are causing the need for treatment. The therapist will then help the patient continually challenge those thoughts and teach them how they can be replaced with positive and rational ones.
This form of behavioral therapy is a type of CBT that links the connection between cognitive and behavioral techniques. Successfully doing this helps struggling individuals learn how to cope with stress, manage their emotions, and strengthen relationships.
The idea behind classical conditioning is explained by claiming that a response learned and often repeated through immediate association. A couple of main behavioral therapy options based on classical conditioning practices are designed to break down those associations. Classical conditioning-based behavioral therapies that are available today include:
Aversion therapy involves triggering certain behaviors with an undesirable stimulus unconditioned, like an electric shock. Doing this helps the patient learn to associate the negative behaviors with that electric shock. Therefore, a link is then created between the negative actions and the sudden reflex that is felt after the shock.
Having been developed in the 1950s, this Systematic Desensitization method is designed to identify and eliminate the fear response of a phobia and substitute it for a much more relaxed response.
This process includes that the patient is taught different breathing exercises and deep muscle relaxation techniques. The patient is then tasked with creating a fear hierarchy that starts small but then builds up to the most intense and most robust fear-provoking thoughts and traumatic images. Lastly, the patient then applies the new muscle relaxation and breathing techniques to mitigate the fearful images starting with the lowest and working their way up the previously made fear hierarchy.
Operant conditioning is a practice that shows how learning things that occur through rewards, and punishments can cause specific behavioral responses. Through operant conditioning, an individual makes an association between a particular behavior and a consequence.
The token economy approach to behavioral therapy is a specialized process where specific behaviors are reinforced with some token. These tokens can then later be exchanged for different rewards.
These rewards can range anywhere from snacks to permissions to participate in different activities. School teachers may use the practice of token economy by giving the children sticker to reward the student’s good behavior. It is also often encouraged to strengthen relationships between a parent and child with parent training by rewarding good behaviors with cookies, new toys, or other desired rewards.
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Our skilled behavioral therapists will work with you to find a behavioral therapy treatment thats right for you or your loved one.
Call us today and our admission specialist will gladly answer any questions you may have about our process!