Behavior therapy is one of the most widely used psychotherapy all over the world. That’s because of its efficiency in solving or correcting different psychological problems. The best behavioral therapist is even capable of helping a person control seemingly incurable psychological disorders. Hence, if you notice any harmful behaviors or habits within yourself, it’s best to consult such therapist for help.
But what really is behavior therapy, how does it work and how can it help you? Moreover, what are the benefits it offers?
What is Behavior Therapy?
In a nutshell, behavior therapy is a type of psychotherapy which functions on the principle that behaviors are learned. Therefore, it stands that self-destructive or harmful behaviors is possible to unlearn or changed. It focuses on treating psychological disorders, but is also applicable for dealing with undesirable habits people may possess.
One of the main types of behavior therapy is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). It circles on the theory that behaviors are running in the mind while being reinforced by rewards. Now, for example, a student goes late at school, but the friendly teacher still allows the student to go in without any repercussions. Tardiness is then reinforced, and the student would think it is fine to be late. Tendency is, the student would make a habit out of it; either during the classes of such particular teacher or with others.
Now, CBT would address such problem by making the student unlearn such habit, and it would circle on how the student would accept his or her misbehaviors. It may help the student realize the wrong perception towards tardiness, despite of it being reinforced with certain rewards. Key is behavioral theory circles on how such student would properly face and handle such thoughts towards tardiness.
Benefits Behavior Therapy Provides
From the main principles above, you’d get some good ideas about the benefits of behavior therapy, such as:
- It helps a Person Responsible for Misbehaviors
Unlike other psychotherapy, behavior therapy focuses on helping the person understand that behaviors results from thoughts. This helps a person take responsibility of the behavior, instead of dismissing it as effects of external stimuli or causes.
With the example above, behavior therapy emphasize that the student must change his or her perception towards tardiness. Although, in some cases, it acknowledges that the environment must be changed as well to avoid reinforcing the behavior.
- It’s Goal Oriented
Behavior therapy starts a series of psychotherapy sessions by identifying a concrete end goal. It seeks to change specified harmful behaviors of a person. The entire series will move towards that goal, instead of drifting away to deal with other concerns.
From there, behavior therapy only focuses on the present and immediately prior events that lead to the current behavior. Unlike other psychoanalytic psychotherapy, it doesn’t dig deeper to a person’s past, especially if it’s not that significant in changing certain behaviors.
- Gain Faster Results
Now, because of its specified approach, behavior therapy only takes around 15 sessions to gain fruitful results. Other psychotherapies often take few months or even more than a year to achieve such outcome. However, the person and the behaviors ought to be changed are still big factors in the length of the series of sessions.
- It’s Applicable for certain Harmful Behaviors
A person doesn’t have to acquire a disorder just to show some harmful habits and behaviors. Once a person acknowledges that something is wrong and he needs help in stopping it, he can see a behavioral therapist for it. Some behaviors this psychotherapy can change are punctuality, life perception and even distrustfulness among others.
- It’s Capable of Curbing Symptoms of Disorders too
Some behaviors manifest as a symptom of particular disorder. The most common disorders showing such behaviors are depression, anxiety, phobia, paranoia, autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit disorder among other conditions. Behavior therapy may not completely cure such disorders, but it’s efficient in addressing some symptoms or manifestations.
For example, it can help a person with clinical depression to somehow look on the brighter side each morning. Or, it helps a person with attention deficit disorder to learn focusing on certain things.
Behavior therapy is helpful in many ways. But if you’re unsure if it’s applicable for you or for a loved one, consult your psychiatrist for help. Ask about behavior therapy to see if it’s a good idea for your case.