The goal of behavioral psychology is to utilize learning principles to eliminate or reduce unwanted reactions to external situations, one’s thoughts and feelings, and ones bodily sensations or functions. Behavior therapy refers to a collection of techniques based on the principles of classical conditioning and learning theory. Some points to keep in mind are:
- Behavioral therapy is short-term – the goal is to seek the problematic behavior and change it over a brief period of time. Therefore, as some types of therapy may go on for years, a behavioral therapy will only last a few months or less.
- Behavioral therapy seeks to intervene and alleviate symptoms. To a behavioral therapist, the symptom (or the behavior) is the problem that needs to be fixed, not an underlying psychological problem that is producing the symptoms (behaviors).
- Behavioral therapy is very directive. With the help of the client, the therapist who formulates the treatment plan. The client then follows the therapist’s treatment plan, and when the goal is reached the therapy ends.
In general, behavioral therapy is data driven. Information about treatment approaches and their effectiveness is based on the evidence gathered and analyzed, in addition to the client’s subjective report.
To learn about the intensive training required to earn the Board Certified Behavioral Analyst credential, please visit this link: Training Requirements at BACB