Behavioral Therapy, Concept, Effectiveness, Characteristics And Principles.

The behavioral therapy is a general term for the types of therapy that treat mental health disorders , which seeks to identify and help change potentially self – destructive or unhealthy behaviors, works with the idea that all behaviors are learned and that behaviors unhealthy can be changed. The focus of treatment is usually on current problems and how to change them.

Is a term that refers to the psychotherapy clinic that uses techniques derived from the behaviorism and is often used along with  cognitive psychology, m hile analyzing the behavior sees everything that makes an organization like behavior, including open activities and Covert, cognitive psychology takes the view of mentalism according to which covert activity is the cause of overt behavior.

Those who practice behavior therapy tend to look more at specific and learned behaviors and how the environment influences them. It does not involve a specific method, but it does have a wide range of techniques that can be used to treat a person’s psychological problems.

Characteristics of behavioral therapy

By nature, they are empirical (data-driven), contextual (focused on environment and context), functional (interested in the effect or consequence that a behavior ultimately has), probabilistic (they view behavior as predictable), monistic ( rejection of the mind – dualism of the body and treatment of the person as a unit), and relational (analysis of two-way interactions).

Behavioral therapy develops, adds to, and provides behavior intervention strategies and programs for clients, and training for individuals who care about facilitating successful lives in communities.

Who can benefit from behavioral therapy?

It can benefit people with a wide range of disorders, commonly to treat:

It can also help treat conditions and disorders such as:

This type of therapy can benefit adults and children.

Principles of behavioral therapy

There are two key principles that form the foundation of behavior therapy: classical conditioning and operant conditioning .

Classical conditioning

Behavioral therapy that is based on classical conditioning uses a number of techniques to achieve behavior change. This was originally known as behavior modification, but is now known as applied behavior analysis. Read more about classical conditioning.

The various methods of changing behavior include:

Flooding or Flooding

Flooding is a process that is generally used for people with phobias and anxiety and involves exposing the individual to objects or situations they fear in an intense and rapid way. An example of this would be exposing a person who is afraid of dogs to a dog for an extended period of time, the longer they continue without anything bad happening, the less fearful the person becomes.

The idea is that the person cannot escape their fear during the process and therefore must face their fear head-on. Obviously, this method can be disconcerting and may only be suitable for certain situations.

Systematic desensitization

This technique works on a premise similar to flooding, however, it is more gradual. The therapist would begin by asking the person to write a list of the fears they have, once this list is written, the therapist will teach relaxation techniques for the individual to use while thinking about the list of fears . Working from the least fearful element to the most fearful element, the therapist will help the individual to face their fears in a relaxed state.

Aversion therapy

This process combines the undesirable behavior with some form of aversive stimulus with the goal of reducing the unwanted behavior. An example of how this is commonly used is when an alcoholic is prescribed a certain drug that induces nausea, anxiety, and headaches when combined with alcohol. This means that every time the person drinks, they get negative side effects, this hopes to prevent that person from drinking to help them overcome their addiction.

Operant conditioning

Operant conditioning uses techniques such as positive reinforcement, punishment, and modeling to help alter behavior. Complete content of operant conditioning.

The following strategies can be used within this type of therapy:

Token Economy

This strategy is based on positive reinforcement, it is a common tactic used by parents and teachers to help improve children’s behavior.

Contingency management

A more formal approach, contingency management involves a written contract between the therapist and the individual that outlines goals, rewards, and sanctions. For some, having this kind of clear agreement helps change behavior and add a sense of responsibility.


Modeling involves learning through observing and imitating others, having a positive role model can give individuals something to aim for, allowing them to change their behavior to match their role model. This role model can be the therapist or someone the individual already knows.


Extinguishing works by removing any type of reinforcement of behavior.

Is behavioral therapy effective?

It has been used successfully to treat a large number of conditions, it is considered extremely effective. About 75 percent of people who enter therapy experience some benefits from treatment.

Studies have shown that play therapy is very effective in children ages 3 to 12. However, this therapy is being used more and more in people of all ages.

How to find a behavioral therapist?

Finding a therapist can be overwhelming, but there are many resources that make it easier. When you find a provider, you can choose between:

  • Social workers.
  • Faith-based counselors.
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists

You need to make sure the one you choose has the necessary certifications and degrees – some will focus on treating certain conditions, such as eating disorders or depression.

If you don’t know how to start looking for a therapist, you can ask your doctor for a recommendation, they may recommend you to a psychiatrist if you think you could benefit from medication. Psychiatrists can write prescriptions for medications.

A therapist will ask you a lot of personal questions about you, you will know that you have found the right therapist if you feel comfortable talking to him or her. You may need to meet with several therapists before finding the right one.

Behavioral therapy for children

Applied behavior therapy and play therapy are used for children, it involves teaching children different methods to respond to situations in a more positive way. A central part of this therapy is rewarding positive behavior and punishing negative behavior, parents should help reinforce this in the child’s daily life.

It may take a while for children to trust their therapist, this is normal. They will eventually feel warmer if they feel like they can express themselves without consequences.

Children with autism often benefit from behavior therapy.

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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.

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