Behavioral therapy is the process of modifying the way a person thinks and behaves. This type of therapy can be used to help people with a number of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression and addiction.
Behavioral therapy is often successful in treating these conditions because it helps to change the underlying thoughts and behaviors that contribute to them. Mental health counselors who specialize in this type of therapy can create an individualized treatment process that works best for you.
Types of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
There are a number of different behavioral therapies, each of which has its own approach. Some common types of behavioral therapy include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT),
- Cognitive-behavioral play therapy (CBPT),
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT),
- Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
Each of these therapies focuses on different aspects of behavior change.
Let’s take a look at each of these in greater detail.
CBT is one of the most common and well-studied types of behavioral therapy. It focuses on how your thoughts, feelings and behaviors are interconnected. CBT aims to help you identify and change negative thoughts and patterns of behavior that contribute to your mental health issues.
People who are good candidates for CBT are those with a clear understanding of their problems and a strong motivation to change. CBT has been shown to be effective for a wide range of mental health issues, including:
- Bipolar disorder,
- Eating disorders,
Cognitive-Behavioral Play Therapy
This form of therapy is designed for children and adolescents who are experiencing difficulties in their lives. It uses play as a way to help kids communicate their thoughts and feelings, which can be difficult for them to do verbally.
Children who get the most benefit from cognitive-behavioral play therapy are those who are able to understand and talk about their thoughts and feelings. If your child is not yet able to do this, he or she may not be ready for this type of therapy.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help kids learn how to:
- Understand their thoughts and feelings,
- Problem solve,
- Manage stress,
- Deal with difficult emotions,
- Set goals,
- Improve relationships.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
DBT is another type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. It was developed specifically for people with borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, it has been found to be helpful for other types of mental health issues as well.
DBT focuses on balancing acceptance and change. The goal is to accept yourself as you are while also working to change the behaviors that are causing problems. This approach can be helpful for people who find it difficult to accept themselves or who feel like they are always in conflict with something internal to themselves, external to themselves or both.
DBT also helps people learn how to regulate their emotions. This is important because people with BPD can often experience intense emotions that are difficult to manage. DBT can help them learn how to deal with these emotions in a more effective way.
Acceptance & Commitment Therapy
This form of therapy also helps people to accept themselves for who they are and helps them to identify the behaviors that are causing them problems. The goal is to make changes in these behaviors, but only if doing so aligns with the person’s values. This type of therapy can be helpful for people who find it difficult to stick to traditional therapies or who feel like they haven’t found the right approach yet.
Both DBT and ACT can be very effective therapies for people with BPD. If you think that you might benefit from either of these approaches, please talk to your therapist or doctor. They can help you decide if one of these therapies is right for you.
Different Techniques Used In Behavioral Therapy
Behavioral therapy can be delivered in a number of different ways, depending on the therapist’s suggestions and the person’s needs. Some of the most common techniques used in behavioral therapy include:
- Cognitive restructuring: This involves helping people change the way they think about themselves, their situations and their behaviors. This can be helpful for changing unhelpful thoughts and beliefs that might be contributing to problems.
- Exposure therapy: This involves gradually exposing people to the things that scare them or make them anxious. This can help people learn how to cope with their fears and anxieties in a safe and controlled environment.
- Behavioral activation: This involves helping people identify and engage in activities that make them happy so as to increase their overall wellbeing. This can help to reinforce desirable behaviors that lead to a lasting sense of well-being.
- Systematic desensitization: An approach similar to exposure therapy, but more related to helping those with severe phobias, this involves helping people to relax and manage their anxiety by gradually exposing them to the things that scare them. This can be done by starting with activities that are relatively safe before working up to the things that cause fear or anxiety.
- Aversion Therapy: A type of behavioral therapy that uses unpleasant or uncomfortable sensations to discourage a person from engaging in a particular behavior. This can be done by pairing the desired behavior with an unpleasant experience, such as electric shocks, or making the person feel physically ill after performing the behavior. Aversion therapy can help with giving up smoking, drinking, and drug abuse.
Behavioral therapy can be an extremely effective treatment for mental health issues. It focuses on changing problematic behaviors while also accepting yourself as you are. This approach can be helpful for people who find it difficult to accept themselves or who struggle with intense emotions.
There are many different types of behavioral therapy, so it is important to find the one that best suits your needs.