Behavior Therapies Behavior Therapies The treatment of disorders (can be either mental or physical) by the use of either psychological needs or by the use of medicinal needs is called therapy. Therapy involves talking with a trained professional about things such as symptoms, problems, and understanding one’s self. Therapists help patients in many ways: Help patients understand and cope with their illnesses. Empathize with their patients and help them understand why they behave the way they do. Help patients make positive changes by discussing their past behavior.

Help patients discover why they think certain thoughts and how these thoughts affect their feelings. Help patients to identify and repair problems with relationships. There are many different kinds of therapies. The important ones are explained below. Behavior therapy: this focuses on what you do.

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This type of therapy works particularly well for problems in which certain maladaptive anxiety-causing behaviors recur such as phobias, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders, drug and alcohol abuse and eating disorders. The therapy is accomplished by reinforcing positive behavior and extinguishing negative ones. Some common types of behavior therapy are: Systematic Desensitization- by approaching the situation associated with a great deal of anxiety in steps, the patient can gradually decrease the anxiety related to it. This process usually contained three steps- relaxation techniques (which includes breathing exercises, mental imagery and biofeedback), Creating a Hierarchy (The therapist creates a series of situations in which the feared event occurs more and more intensely) and finally desensitization (where the patient can finally handle the most anxiety causing event in the series. A simple example of this could be a person suffering from the phobia of dogs, the progression can be imagined, (e.g., thinking about a dog barking at you) real, (e.g., having a dog bark at you), or even virtual (e.g., have an animated virtual dog on the computer bark at you.) Exposure therapies- involves actual contact with a feared situation. It can be done with a therapist, helper, or alone, and begins with the smallest phobia, gradually working up to more difficult tasks.

This is where clients learn to manage their fear firsthand, and we are always aware of the courage it takes for anyone to confront what they fear most – so we are gentle and go slowly. This therapy is especially helpful for driving and flying phobias, as well as fears of heights, bridges, elevators, being alone, and social situations. It is similar to systematic desensitization except without the relaxation techniques. Flooding- Instead of going through a hierarchy that works from less traumatic to most traumatic anxiety provoking events, the patient is exposed to the most anxiety-causing event at once. With this technique the patient confronts the feared situation directly. Behavior Modification- All behavior therapy attempts to modify behavior but there is also a specific process called behavior modification.

This can be used to either increase or decrease a behavior. In this technique, one begins by defining and counting the occurrences of an undesirable behavior the patient would like to decrease, such as biting one’s nails, or a desired behavior the client would like to increase, such as assertive behavior. This is called collecting baseline data. The baseline data is used to compare increases or decreases in behavior, which monitors success of the therapy. For those wanting to decrease a behavior, circumstances that may trigger the undesirable behavior are identified. The person then rearranges his or her environment so that possible triggers of the behavior can be avoided, which, in turn, will hopefully decrease the behavior.

For those wanting to increase a behavior, they may identify situations that would be appropriate for the behavior and intentionally put themselves in these circumstances to perform the desirable behavior. Behavior modification may also involve a series of reinforcements and punishments to help increase and decrease specific behaviors. GOAL SETTING is important when desensitizing phobias, as well as helping clarify what you want to achieve in your life. Long and short-term goals are carried out during the groups. ASSERTIVENESS TRAINING is crucial, because those with anxiety disorders tend to be people pleasers and try to please others at their own expense.

In short, they need to learn how to say NO, set limits, maintain boundaries, express both positive and negative emotions openly and easily, and initiate behavior on their own behalf. Assertiveness is not just about getting what you want; it is very much about knowing how you feel and what you want, and then being able to communicate that information to others. COMMUNICATION SKILLS allow people to be understood by others, facilitating connection with the world around you. Relationships blossom with good communication skills, wither without them. These skills are taught early in Part I, then practiced routinely to insure permanent learning. SOCIAL SKILLS training is especially valuable for people struggling with social anxiety.

Often, we begin with simple greetings, then graduate to short exchanges, later learning how to express personal opinions, and later yet, displeasure. The training also extends to body language, movement, gestures, and personal presentation. Learning to be the center of attention and speak in front of a group are other areas addressed. Some theorists combine behavioral techniques with cognitive therapy techniques such as thought restructuring. The two theories work well together especially when treating depression and anxiety disorders. Cognitive Therapy believes that negative thoughts are the cause of mental suffering. It focuses on identifying and changing negative thinking patterns.

Often people with clinical depression make negative assumptions about their world. These assumptions lead them to have negative thoughts about themselves, their situation, and their future (cognitive triad). These negative thoughts create depressive feelings. This therapy’s goals are to help clients become aware of what their thoughts are, be able to identify irrational or distorted thinking, and then substitute more balanced, functional thoughts. In short, what we think about and believe with certainty becomes our reality.

Since thoughts and feelings are believed to be linked together, the way you think can affect how you feel. Since thoughts sometimes happens so quickly, people often don’t realize what they are thinking in certain situations. What they notice is how they feel. Thus, cognitive psychotherapists view these thoughts as automatic. They believe that the way to change these negative feelings is to change the thoughts that occur in stressful situations. For example, if you were placed in front of hundreds of people to give a talk, you may be scared to death and your stomach may do somersaults.

You may only notice that you feel nervous and not realize you thought, I ‘m going to mess up and everyone’s going to laugh! One way to feel better in this situation is to change how you think about public speaking. A cognitive psychotherapist would help you identify and your specific thoughts and assumptions about giving a speech. Catastrophic Thinking and the Anticipatory Response are central to maintaining anxiety disorders. Time Magazine called agoraphobia the dreaded disease of the What ifs, because every thought th …