Behavioural therapy | E therapy

Behavioural therapy

This is a therapy designed to teach clients to respond to maladaptive stimuli in a different way to learn habits and behaviours. This is a therapy used with clients who have OCD, phobias, anxiety or addictions. It is suitable for adults.

The initial interview includes an assessment to find goals and methods of treatment which consist of different relaxation techniques. These include:

  • Verbal
  • Brief
  • Differential
  • Mental
  • Progressive

For example, progressive relaxation is where the client is taught to relax various muscles in a systematic way.

Systematic desensitisation is used to help with phobias. There are three elements to this:

  • The client is taught deep muscular relaxation.
  • Exploring a hierarchy of anxiety-causing stimuli.
  • Then the client would be asked to use the relaxation techniques then exposed to the agreed hierarchy in sequential sessions. The following is a potential example for arachnophobia:
  • A cute toy spider
  • A) Pictures of real small spiders. B) Pictures larger spiders
  • A) Watch a non-threatening video of a small spider. B) Watch a non-threatening video of a larger spider.
  • A) Be in a room with small spiders in a tank. B) Be in a room with larger spiders in a tank.
  • Hold a small spider.
  • Hold a larger spider.

The therapist uses three main types of goals to help a client with:

  • Adapting behaviour that is problematic.
  • By learning how the client makes decisions.
  • Helping the client to reduce/eliminate the anxiety by providing strategies.

These strategies include:

  • Modelling
  • Behaviour rehearsal
  • Assertive training
  • Use of positive reinforcers, eg praise, attention
  • Or punishment eg time-out.

The behavioural therapist will also set homework tasks for the client.