Behavioural therapy looks at how to adopt positive behaviour change as a means of assisting individuals stop unwanted or problematic behaviours including addictions, anxiety, phobias and obsessive -compulsive disorder (OCD). In behavioral therapy has the overall aim of reinforcing desirable behaviour patterns and works on the theory that we learn from our environment which means external influences can be used to assist with conditioning and setting positive behaviour and reactions. Behavioural therapy considers past situations, thoughts and feelings which potentially led to the development of unwanted behaviour whilst focussing on positive, active behavioural changes to help eradicated it. Behavioral therapy is action-based and highly focused and takes the behavior itself as the problem with the aim of teaching the clients new behaviour to reduce or eliminate issues. These three major areas use strategies of behavioral therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy, Applied behavior analysis and Social learning theory.
Behavior Therapy and Classical Conditioning
Classical conditioning is used to alter behaviour through a variety of techniques including:
Flooding which is the process of exposing individuals to fear-invoking situations or objects intensely and rapidly and is used in treatment of phobias, anxiety and other stress-related disorders. Flooding might be used to help An individual with a fear of dogs and involves initial exposure to a friendly dog for a possibly uncomfortably, long period during which they cannot leave. This is continued and the individual sees their fear reduce with increasing, positive encounters.
Systematic Desensitisation involves having the individual list their fears and then learn and use relaxation techniques whilst focusing on these fears. Systematic desensitization is used to treat phobias and works by the client is learning relaxation techniques, then considering and listing and ranking their fears.Then working, over the course of sessions, through from with their least to most feared situation least feared situation with the guidance of the therapist and relaxation techniques.
Aversion Therapy which involves matching undesirable behaviour with an aversion technique which aims of reducing the behaviour. For example individuals suffering from alcohol abuse, in medical treatment, use a that causes severe headaches, nausea, anxiety and vomiting in combination with alcohol.