Behavioral Therapy

BehavioralTherapy

BehavioralTherapy

Healthdisorderscan be addressedusingdifferentapproachesdepending on theperceivedeffectiveness of eachtypeof therapy.Behavioral therapyis among thecommonlyusedapproaches,anditrefersto an approachthat is usedby thetherapists in modeling orchangingself-destructive behaviors(McLeod, 2011). Behavioral therapyisbasedon theclassicalconditioning, which involvestheprocessof learningthrough association.Thispaperwill analyzebehavioral therapy,with themainfocuson specificpopulationsin which behavioral therapyhas beenshownto be effectiveandthekeylimitationsof behavioral therapy.

Populationsin which behavioral therapyis successful

Behavioraltherapyhas beenshownto be effectiveinat leastfour specificpopulations.First,behavioral therapyis an effectivetreatmentforpeoplewhoabusesubstances.Accordingto Garry &amp Bleuer (2014) at least60 % of patientswith substancedependencyreporta cleantoxicology after 52-weeksessionsof behavioral therapy.Behavioral interventionprovidessubstanceabusers with incentivesto modifyattitudesrelatedtosubstanceabuse,remainabstinent, andaddressenvironmental cuesas wellas thestressful circumstancesthat subjectthem to theriskof intensivecraving.Behavioral therapyworkswellforindividualas wellas groupsof substancedependentpatients.Apartfrom initialtreatment,behavioral therapypreventsrelapseby helpingaddictsidentifyandavoidsituationsthat are consideredto be high-risk forthem.

Secondly,behavioral therapyis effectivein treatingpersonssufferingfrom depression.Accordingto Lau(2013)behavioral interventionshelpspeopleovercomedysfunctional beliefsanddistorted cognitionsthat causedepressive symptoms.Theapplicationof behavioral interventionin thetreatmentof depressionisbasedon theassumptionthatthisconditionis causedby problematicenvironment-behavior relationship.Comparedto pharmacological interventions,behavioral interventionsare moreeffectivein treatingdepression,especiallyamong theperinatal women(Lau, 2013).

Third,behavioral therapyleadsto successfultreatmentof behaviorproblemsamong patientssufferingfrom autism. Althoughsomestudieshaveshownthatautism has geneticroots,behavioral interventionshelpthepatientovercomesomeof its symptomsandadoptappropriateattitudesandbehaviorsAccording to Park (2012) kidswith autism whoreceivesbehavioral interventionstatingfrom18 monthsandgoesforabout2 yearsdemonstratean averageenhancementin theIQ with a scoreof about17.6 pointsandremarkableincreasein their capacityto adoptnormaldevelopmental behaviors.

Fourth,behaviortherapyis an effectiveapproachthat is widelyusedto helpsexoffenders. Accordingto Yates (2013) thesuccessof behaviortherapyis derivedfrom thefactthatsexualcrimeisconceptualizedas cognitive as wellas behavioral patternsthat are acquiredas a resultof observational learning,modeling, cognition,attitudes,andmostimportantly, behaviorreinforcement.Thismeansthatthesepredisposing factorscan be successfullyreversedorovercomeusingbehavioral interventions.

Limitationsof behavioral therapy

Behavioraltherapyhas three majorlimitationsthat reduceits effectiveness. First,behavioral therapyfailsto checkon patternsof behaviorthat spanin differentsettingsandtimein thelifeof a client(Yates, 2013). Therapists whoadoptthebehaviorist approachassumethatallclientsin theclinical settingmanifestbehavioral patternsthat donot varydepending on situations.

Secondly,literatureon behavioral therapyassumesthisapproachcan be adequatelyusedby alltherapiststo allpatients.Thisisconfirmedby thecommonpracticeof behavioral therapists assigningclientsto interventionsin a randomway.Thisimpliesthatbehavioral therapydoesnot takeaccountof individualdifferences.In mostcases,behavioral therapists considerindividualdifferencesto be errorsornoise,andhavenoimpacton theoutcomeof behavioral therapy.Thetendencyof thetherapists to ignorethesedifferencesunderminestheeffectiveness of thetherapeuticapproach(McLeod, 2011).

Third,behavioral therapyfocusesmoreon thebetween thesessionchallengesorsuccesseswhileignoringthein-session issues.Thishappensbecausebehavioral therapists tendto focusmoreon theprocedureof behavioral therapy,evento thedetrimentof thepatient’slife(McLeod, 2011).

Fourth,behavioral therapists oftenfailto considerthesignificanceof their reactionto their patients.Thisis becausebehavioral therapyprocedurespaylessattentionto therapeuticinteractions,which in turnreducesthechancesfortheestablishmentof thewarmrelationshipbetween therapist andtheclient.

Fifth,behavioral therapyputsmoreemphasison thetreatmentof problemsthat arecategorizedunderAxisI disorders.Consequently, behavioral therapyattendslessto thecomplexities of interpersonal challenges,includingthepersonalitydisorders(McLeod, 2011). Instead,behavioral therapyfocuseson isolatedandexplicitcomponentsof patientfunctioning.

Conclusion

Behavioraltherapyis an effectiveapproachthat resultsinsignificantchangein self-destructive behaviors.Althoughbehavioral therapyhas beenperceivedto be applicableto allpatientsandby alltherapists, there are somespecificpopulationsin which ithas beenprovento be effective.Someof thesepopulationsincludethesexoffenders, depressedpatients,andsubstanceaddicts.Behavioral therapyis effectivein a widerangeof behavioral conditionsbecauseitfacilitatesthechangeof attitude,cognition,behavior,andobservational learning.However,its limitations(includingits failureto checkof pattersof behavior,individualdifferences,andfocuson between-session challenges)reduceits effectiveness.

References

Garry,R. &amp Bleuer, C. (2014). Bestpractices: Substance use disorder treatment for adolescents.Washington, DC: American Counseling Association.

Lau,Y. (2013). Efficacy of cognitive-behavior therapy to prevent theperinatal depressive symptoms. MacauJournal of Nursing12 (1), 48-57.

McLeod,S. (2011). Behavioral therapy. SimplyPsychology.Retrieved February 10, 2015, fromhttp://www.simplypsychology.org/behavioral-therapy.html

Park,A. (2012). Behavior therapy normalizes brains of autistic children.TimeIncorporation.Retrieved February 10, 2015, fromhttp://healthland.time.com/2012/10/26/behavior-therapy-normalizes-brains-of-autistic-children/

Yates,M. (2013). Treatment of sexual offenders: Research, best practicesand emerging models. InternationalJournal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy,8, 3-4.

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