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15 Innovative Behavior Therapy Techniques for Adults
Behavior therapy, also called behavioral modification, is a psychological technique based on the principle that certain observable, maladaptive, self-destructing, or badly adjusted behaviors can be modified. This is done through learning more appropriate new behaviors to replace the old, dysfunctional ones. Behavior therapy can be a useful treatment for many mental health conditions and symptoms of mental illness that involve maladaptive behavior. These include aggressive behavior, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and phobias.
1. Behavioral Homework Assignments
With this technique, the therapist requests that you complete homework between therapy sessions. These assignments may consist of real-life behavioral experiments where you are asked to try new responses to situations discussed during your therapy sessions.
This is a patient-guided treatment that instructs you to control pain, brainwaves, body temperature, muscle tension, and other bodily functions and processes by means of visualization, relaxation, and other practices. For some people, positive reinforcements are used as rewards for those who produce the correct biofeedback response during the treatment session. The name biofeedback refers to the biological signals that are sent back to you in order for you to develop new strategies for controlling them.
3. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT assimilates features of behavior modification into the conventional cognitive restructuring approach. The therapist works alongside you to identify the thoughts that lead to the destructive behavior. CBT helps some people who have fundamental core beliefs (called schemas), which are flawed and have a negative impact on functioning and behavior.
4. Cognitive Rehearsal
With this remedy for behavior, the therapist guides you through a step-by-step process where difficult situations are faced. To deal with these life occurrences, you must work on rehearsing the steps mentally. The goal is to prepare the patient for when these situations occur in real life.
With conditioning, the therapist uses specific reinforcements to encourage desired behavior. The gold star, or other reward, reinforces and increases the wanted behavior by associating it with something positive.
6. Contingency Contracting
Another therapy used by psychologists is contingency contracting, where the therapist you outline together a written or verbal contract of desired good behaviors. Sometimes the contract has positive reinforcements connected to the appropriate behaviors and negative ones associated with maladaptive actions.
You can modify a behavior through ignoring the action. By ignoring the behavior you will often lower its tendency for appearing again. The therapist teaches you to ignore your behavior and not give reward or notice when it occurs.
With flooding, you are exposed directly to the anxiety or stress-provoking situation that he fears most. This is done through mental visualization or real life contact. An effort is made to relinquish the fear response in the patient.
9. Journal Therapy
When the therapist used journal therapy, you are asked to keep a detailed record of daily feelings, thoughts, and actions when certain situations come forward. Journaling helps make you aware of your maladaptive thoughts and opens your eyes to their consequences on your behavior.
Meditation, a form of stress reduction, improves behavior by altering brain chemistries. This technique is a toll for improving thinking and evaluating one’s self. To reach your goals, you meditate. During meditation sessions, you recall stored memories from areas of the brain and used this information positively.
The modeling technique allows you to learn a new behavior through observation.
12. Progressive Relaxation
With progressive relaxation, you completely relax all of the muscle groups of the body and use calm, even breathing to allow tension to escape. This activity is used by therapists for a relaxation exercise to relieve stress and anxiety, and as a means of preparing you for systematic desensitization.
13. Rehearsed Behavior
During rehearsed behavior exercises, the therapist asks you to engage in role-playing actions where the therapist acts out appropriate responses or behaviors to a given situation.
14. Systematic Desensitization
This therapy exposes you to a situation that you fear, either in a role-playing circumstance or in real life. The therapist employs relaxation techniques to help you cope with your reaction and eventually eliminate your stress and anxiety altogether. With repeated exposure and obtaining the desired response, you gradually become desensitized to the old, maladaptive response.
15. Validity Testing
With validity testing, you are asked to check the validity of the automatic thoughts you encounter. The therapist will ask you to defend or produce evidence that a thought or belief is real or true. Once you are unable to verbalize the challenge, a damaged nature of that schema is revealed to you.
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