What Is A Behavioral Therapist?
Behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy whose focal point is modifying disagreeable behavior in patients. Behavioral therapy entails diagnosing abhorrent, maladaptive behaviors and replacing them with behaviors more conducive to a healthier lifestyle mental well being. This kind of therapy is also known to be referred to as behavior modification therapy. A behavioral therapist will become specialized in this field.
Cognitive therapy has a primary focus on the specific thoughts and emotions that have the tendency to lead to certain unwanted emotional and physical behaviors, while behavioral therapy deals with changing and eliminating those unwanted behaviors. There are certain therapists who believe in practicing a form of psychotherapy that homes in on both thoughts and behavior. This type of dual edged approach is called cognitive-behavioral therapy.
How Is Behavioral Therapy Used?
Behavioral therapy has been proven for use in treating a broad range of psychological maladies including, but not limited to, depression, Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and certain physical and psychological addictions. Behavior therapy can also be used to handle the treatment of insomnia and chronic fatigue. This type of therapy generally require a lesser number of treatment sessions than cognitive therapy, although the length of therapeutic treatment will vary with each individual patients circumstances and will be determined by the behavioral therapist.
There have been some cases where behavioral therapy has been used to treat obesity. When applied for use in diagnosing and treating obesity, a behavioral therapist will start by analyzing the patients eating and activity patterns, in addition to dieting methods and other applicable habits. The therapist will use the information gained through this type of analysis to identify decisive strategies for implementing weight loss progression, healthier eating habits, and an overall better positive self-image.
Behavior therapy generally commences with the analytical skills of a trained behavioral therapist being put to use. The therapist will begin by analyzing the specific inappropriate behaviors of the patient that may be causing stress, diminishing the patients quality of life, or otherwise having an adverse impact on the patient. Upon completion of the initial analysis, the behavioral therapist will then choose the most appropriate treatment techniques as indicated. Therapists may choose treatments courses consisting of techniques such as desensitization, assertiveness training, relaxation training, and environment modification. The therapist may also opt to try exposure and response prevention in order to work towards controlling the patients actions and reactions. Some other more commonly used techniques can include positive reinforcement and social skills training. In some rare cases, a treatment method known as paradoxical intention may be used in behavioral therapy. This technique involves encouraging a patient to temporarily continue discouraged behaviors. Therapists who have used this particular technique have reported some usefulness in identifying and removing certain undesirable behaviors.
Another means often used in behavior therapy is called aversive therapy. Aversive therapy necessitates associating maladaptive behaviors with repulsive stimuli. Electro shock therapy used to be used as aversive therapy in the past but has since fallen out of favor with behavioral therapists, many of whom consider it to be an unethical form of treatment.