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What you must knw about Behavioural Therapy!!

Behavioural therapy aims at reinforcing wanted behaviours and eliminating unwanted ones; it includes a broad spectrum of techniques that can be used to alter maladaptive behaviours. There are various types of behavioural therapy administered by our experienced Psychologist at ANJ Therapy Sydney.

Behavioural therapy is based on the principles of behaviourism, an approach that focuses on the aspect that we learn from what we are exposed to – our environment. During the early part of the 20th century, this approach began and has evolved till today to be a prevailing force in the field. The first pioneer to work on this idea was Edward Thorndike.

Behavioural therapy is action-based unlike other types of therapy (psychoanalytic therapy and humanistic therapies which are based on the principles of insight). Behavioural therapy is highly focused on inculcating new behaviours and minimizing unwanted behaviours.

Types of behavioural therapy:

There are several types of behavioural therapy. Based on the condition of the client and the severity of the problem, the type of therapy used varies. The different types of behavioural therapies include the following:

  • Applied behaviour analysis (ABA): this technique shapes and alters undesirable behaviours by using the principles of operant conditioning.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): it is a behavioural approach but it includes the aspect of cognition focusing on the unwanted thoughts which lead to unwanted behaviours.
  • Cognitive behavioural play therapy: the assessment, intervention and prevention of psychological and social problems are based on the principles of the behavioural approach, but play is included as an additional element into all aspects.
  • Dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT): it is a type of CBT that includes the behavioural and cognitive strategies to assist clients to balance their emotional, psychological and social well-being.
  • Exposure therapy: behavioural techniques are implied to assist clients to overcome situational fears or fear of objects. With relaxation strategies, techniques are incorporated wherein individuals are exposed to the source of their fears. To treat phobias, anxieties, etc, this technique comes in handy.
  • Rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT): helps focus on thoughts and emotions that are negative and destructive. Individuals replace these thoughts actively with more realistic and rational ones.
  • Social learning theory: focuses on the observational learning of individuals. It is based on the social learning theory wherein one learns or adapts behaviour on the observation of how others are being reinforced or punished for their behaviour.

Who may require Behavioural therapy?

A variety of psychological conditions or disorders can be treated by implementing behavioural therapy which includes the following:

  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Phobias
  • Alcohol and substance use disorders
  • Panic disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Behavioural therapy can also be addressed for psychological issues such as anger or stress management as it directly modifies and changes one’s behaviour. Also, behavioural therapy is a technique that is well known to produce results in a short time.

Advantages of behavioural therapy:

Behavioural therapy is currently being used worldwide and also its proven to be effective in the treatment of various disorders. Cognitive behavioural therapy is considered to be “gold standard” in treating a variety of disorders. For children, when other types of therapy aren’t applicable Cognitive behavioural play therapy in specific can be effective.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is usually more economical than the other types of behavioural therapy and within 5-20 sessions goals can be met. Evidences show that CBT is most effective in the intervention of anxiety, stress, anger-related issues, depression, Substance abuse and Relapse prevention, Somatic symptom disorder, Bulimia, etc.

Additionally, behavioural therapy also assists to cope up with the following issues which include, coping strategies, enhancing communication, generating healthier thought patterns and improving self-esteem. Hence, Behavioural therapy is effective and can help individuals overcome their psychological issues as it focuses on the problem and modifies one’s actions and brings about better quality of life.