Behaviour therapy is a term that covers a wide-range of therapies that treat various mental disorders. It is a type of therapy that works with a person to identify and change self-destructive habits and patterns. Behaviour therapy is backed by the idea that all behaviour is learned and can be changed. It is commonly used in addiction treatment as to help addicts overcome their current problems and addictive behaviour.
The concept of behaviour therapy is taken from experiments conducted by Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov in the 1920s and 1930s. His work focused on conditioning theories and techniques applied to abnormal behaviour. In the US, behaviour therapy was promoted by psychologist, BF Skinner, who found it as an effective treatment for mental patients in a Massachusetts hospital. Since these early experiments and studies, various behaviour therapies have been used widely in countless patients throughout the world.
Behaviour therapy is used to treat several different problems, making it an effective treatment for many types of people. It is commonly used as a treatment for the following conditions:
Behaviour therapy is used with adults, teens, and children.
There are several types of behaviour therapy. Some of these include:
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the most popular types of behaviour therapy. It combines cognitive therapy and behavioural therapy, and is based upon the idea that a person’s beliefs and thoughts have a direct influence on their mood and actions. It is used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for drug and alcohol addiction in rehab centres worldwide.
Aversion Therapy is another type of behaviour therapy that is commonly used to treat addiction and substance abuse. Aversion therapy teaches people to associate something that is desirable but unhealthy, with something unpleasant and undesirable. For example, an addiction counsellor or therapist might direct you to associate drug use with negative memory.
System desensitization is a type of behaviour therapy that is typically used to treat phobias and fear. It is a classical conditioning method that teaches a person to replace a fear or phobic response with various relaxation techniques. A person is primarily taught different ways to relax, and then slowly exposed to what they fear in larger doses while practicing relaxation methods.
Contingency management offers patients incentives or rewards for meeting specific behavioural goals. It has shown to have strong and consistent support amongst various types of drug use. This type of behaviour therapy holds the idea that positive incentives are most effective in creating positive changes in those with substance abuse problems.
Because it is considered such a beneficial treatment, behaviour therapy is used widely to treat countless different conditions. It is estimated that approximately 75 percent of those who receive behaviour therapy experience positive results.
There are several ways behaviour therapy helps treat substance abuse and addiction. It teaches addicts how to modify behaviour regarding substance abuse, as well as their attitude towards drugs or alcohol. It also helps them learn new skills conducive to healthy living, while helping them to overcome any patterns of self-destructive behaviour.
Understanding psychotherapy and how it works, American Psychological Association , 2017
The Efficacy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Review of Meta-analyses, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2012
Behavioral Therapies for Drug Abuse, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2013