Behaviour Therapy

Behaviour Therapy

Behavioral Psychotherapy is, more often than not, known to us as Behavior Therapy. This method of treatment is a broad term- relating to clinical psychotherapy that uses instrumental techniques from behaviorism and/or cognitive psychology.

Behavior therapy looks at significant learned behavior and how the environment, or the community’s mental state, influences said behaviors. This form of therapy consists of techniques based on learning theory, such as respondent or operant conditioning.

Benefits of Behavior Therapy

  • Behavioral Psychotherapy ensures a change in how one acts so that, for example, autistic children and their families don’t have to worry about anxiety-related events.
  • Their calmness in one setting will encourage them to test the waters of their own volition.
  • With the right cognitive framework, we can progress against social phobia. The behavioral experiences in light of the therapy can thus prevent depression.
  • Behavior therapy changes the physiology of one’s brain. It has a strong impact on how the autistic child views themselves and the world around.
  • They will learn to act rather than remain passive.
  • Behavior therapy can be adopted to treat depression, self-harm, anger issues, anorexia, stress, etc.

Types of Behavior Therapy

Behavioral therapy is an umbrella term for the various measures and means of healing- required for the treatment of diverse mental health issues. Among them are:

  • Psychoanalytic therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Child therapy
  • Addiction therapy
  • ABA therapy

From this list, Cognitive Behavior Therapy and ABA therapy are most commonly associated with treating Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

This treatment entails a therapist working with a client to manage certain problematic behaviors, habits, and/or emotions that consistently come up. Overwhelming fears and phobias may be taken as considerable examples.

CBT mainly pays attention to the shifting thought and behavior pattern from dysfunctional to functional.

Stress relief techniques are part of the package deal wherein medical professionals or health care providers assist in guiding and expanding skills for challenging situations.

Through the use of this carefully constructed system, the aim is to secure self-confidence in an autistic individual.

Here are some methods that specialists can employ as part of the regimen:

  • Cognitive restructuring

By adopting this means of treatment, the specialist can get a hold of negative thought patterns. CBT therapists will ask the child about their thought processes in certain situations- walk them through the scenario to better identify how the child is feeling. After that, these patterns will be reconstructed into more positive and productive thinking.

  • Exposure therapy

This can be used as a stage for the fears and phobias of the child. The therapist will guide the child on how to deal with their fear and/or anxiety.  While going through the motions, they will slowly expose the child to the subject that provokes these feelings- making them less vulnerable and bolder in their coping skills.

  • Activity scheduling

Individuals with autism often avoid activities due to anxiety. In such scenarios, it may be helpful to get them to follow a calendar. This planning ahead will help them establish a structured system of a good routine, making them more likely to follow through with the task.

ABA Therapy

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy sets its focus on modifying the worrisome and aggressive actions for “improved social functioning”. Therapists make use of positive reinforcement to establish desirable behavioral change. They aim to better the communication and life skills of their clients. The structure that ABA relies on can be adapted to guide autistic children to improve their social, self-care, and communication skills. This is in addition to being able to maintain and manage their respective behavioral concerns.

Frequent Evaluation

This is an essential segment in ABA treatment. The aspiration here is to lay out the causes of behaviours, and help the child work on changing and improving them. The method of accessing and strategies might be determined early on which may or may not be modified by the therapist. It all solely depends on how far the child has advanced and what their further needs are.

Observing and analyzing progress is significantly important in terms of making sure that the therapy is successful in improving the child’s progress.

Key Ideas Behind Behaviour Therapy

The basic theory is that human actions and thoughts are heavily influenced by the events or stimuli in the environment. Another theory that follows is that, by CBT and ABA, positive consequences are more likely to have a greater impact on behavior.

ABA therapy uses this as its basis to help autistic children learn new and appropriate conduct.

In CBT and ABA, therapy specialists assess an autistic child’s skills and the challenges that they must overcome. In the process, doctors set them goals and objectives, designing and implementing a program that directs them towards the “target skill”. As the sessions go by, the medical professionals constantly measure the target skill to analyze where the program is working. In light of the progress, they make necessary changes.

How Effective is Behavioral Therapy for Autism?

Behavior therapy is studied and approved to be an evidence-based, best practice treatment by the American Psychological Association. It is the most researched and thoroughly analyzed form of early intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorder. After much investigation, it’s been acknowledged that excessive and long-term therapy with applied behavior analysis and cognitive behavioral therapy improves the outcome for most children on the spectrum.

This adds up to around 25 to 40 hours a week of therapy for at least 1 to 3 years for each autistic individual in need of it. Around 75% of people receiving behavioral therapy experience some benefits. Studies also showed that play therapy is effective in children of ages 3 to 12.

In light of the research done, improvement is displayed in intellectual development, communication, social functioning and daily life skills. Identical results were found with autistic adults who had undergone ABA therapy. The basis to success with ABA therapy proves to have been consistency and long-term engagement.