Behavior therapy involves looking at the antecedents, things that happen before a certain behavior, and the consequences, things that happen after the behavior. It tries to change this pattern, based on the belief that there is a reinforcement or increase in behavior that happens because of Our responses. For example, if we are over eating, it could be that we had a stressful day at work where we were yelled at and felt minimized, then we go home and eat something not necessarily good for us, and afterwards we feel bad. So, breaking down a pattern of behavior into its parts is the emphasis in behavior therapy. However, there are other types of therapy that integrate behavior, but also look at our thoughts and feelings, including mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy. While looking at the behavior, these therapies state that changing thoughts can also help change behavior.
Dr. Ronnie Siddique
Thank you for your question. One of the main techniques used in Behavior Therapy are behavioral experiments, which are planned activities to test thoughts that are in the form of predictions. The therapist and client will collaboratively design an experiment, specifying precisely what the client is to do, how to do it, and when to do it. After the experiment, they will
discuss what happened, what conclusions they drew, what they learned, and how much they believed the thoughts now. Another technique is Exposure and Response Prevention, which are exercises to expose clients to objects/situations/stimuli that they usually avoid and to have them do it without escaping or avoiding parts of it. By confronting feared experiences that are highly valued, the client corrects inaccurate automatic thoughts and increases ability to cope. Another technique is Behavioral Activation, which helps clients to re-engage in life, improve mood, experience pleasure, and counter isolation. The therapist will help the client to schedule activities, motivate clients to follow their schedule, address problems that could interfere, and give themselves credit for following their schedule.
I hope this has been helpful!
Jenna Torres, PsyD