Treatment jargon: what is behavior therapy?

Sep 12, 18 Treatment jargon: what is behavior therapy?

What is behavior therapy?

According to PsychCentral “behavior therapy is focused on helping an individual understand how changing their behavior can lead to changes in how they are feeling. The goal of behavior therapy is usually focused on increasing the person’s engagement in positive or socially reinforcing activities. Behavior therapy is a structured approach that carefully measures what the person is doing and then seeks to increase chances for positive experience.”

Let’s bring all that down to earth for us mere mortals. Behavior therapy involves you working with a therapist to get rid of  bad habits and behaviors by changing what you do everyday and rewarding good behavior. For example, you want a new pair of shoes. You and your therapist are working on how you avoid meeting new people because of  the nervousness you feel in social situations. Well, you guys come up with a plan to reward yourself $5 every time you say hello to someone you don’t know as you pass them in the hall at work. Once you reach $50 you can get a new pair of shoes. The point is to take a behavior and associate it with something positive to get you to do it more.

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External Resources


Pathfinders for Autism

Disability Scoop

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

National Center for PTSD

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