Behavioral therapy, or behavioral modification, is a psychological technique based on the premise that specific, observable, maladaptive, badly adjusted, or self-destructing behaviors can be modified by learning new, more appropriate behaviors to replace them.
Since its early 20th-century beginnings, behavioral therapy has prided itself above all on being scientific. So avoiding such unquantifiable as needs, wants, and motivation, together with excursions into the unconscious and trans personal.Instead it has concentrated on observing and analyzing behavioral and cognitive functioning, diagnosing unproductive ways of dealing with life, and instituting systematic changes to improve outcomes. Therapists discuss methods and expectations with clients; the clients' participation is negotiated, and measures to monitor effectiveness are established. Techniques used are practical and direct, including those listed below.Counter Conditioning An undesirable response to a stimulus is replaced by one newly elicited.Desensitization The client is relaxed deeply, then gradually he or she is exposed to an anxiety provoking situation.Aversion Conditioning A stimulus that is attractive to the client, but would lead to undesirable results, is paired with an unpleasant event in order to break the pattern.Role Playing The therapist demonstrates more effective behaviors in the session. The client tries these out in real-life situations.Behavior Rehearsal The client copies the therapist's staged rehearsal of a forthcoming situation that is expected to be problematic.BenefitsBehavioral therapy can be a useful treatment tool in an array of mental illnesses and symptoms of mental illness that involve maladaptive behavior, such as sub-stance abuse, aggressive behavior, anger management, eating disorders, phobias, and anxiety disorders. It is also used to treat organic disorders such as incontinence and insomnia by changing the behaviors that might be contributing to these disordersCognitive TherapyThis grew out of behavioral thinking in the 1960s and concentrates on how people's experiences are governed by their perceptions. For example, cognitive theory sees depression as the result of sad thinking, rather than believing conversely that sad thinking is the result of a state of depression.Cognitive Restructuring Transforming a client's thinking processes so as to influence behavior and emotions.Rational-emotive Approach Replacing irrational beliefs with rational ones.Assumption of Responsibility Getting clients to accept that no one else "makes" them think, feel, or do anything.Unlike traditional psychotherapy and many other forms of therapy, cognitive behavior therapy does not involve lengthy time frames or extensive investigation into past life events. Cognitive behavior therapy is a goal-oriented short-term process, predominantly focused upon the present and future. Most cognitive behavior therapy treatments range from a few weeks to a few months in duration.Cognitive behavior therapy therapists take an active role in the treatment process, and the patient is usually expected to complete types of "homework" exercises involving reinforcement of positive patterns. Indeed, these "corrective experiences" that occur outside of the therapy sessions are an important part of treatment.