What is an example of behavior therapy?

Behavioral therapy is an umbrella term that refers to different treatment methods used to manage and treat mental health complications. Behavioral therapy seeks to identify self-destructive or unhealthy behaviors in patients to change them for the better.

It is anchored on the premise that all human behaviors are learned, and unhealthy behaviors can be unlearned or changed. Behavioral therapy typically focuses on the current problem and how to change it. Examples of behavioral therapy include:

  1. Cognitive-behavioral play therapy

  2. System desensitization

  3. Aversion therapy

Cognitive-behavioral play therapy - this type of treatment is commonly used with children. The therapist takes time to watch how the child plays to gain insights into what the child cannot express or is uncomfortable expressing. Children are allowed to choose preferred toys which they will use to play freely.

The children are also encouraged to draw pictures and use the toys to create scenes in the sandbox. From these images that they draw, the therapist gets insights on hidden the child's subconscious mind.

System desensitization utilizes classical conditioning as an effective treatment for several mental disorders. This kind of therapy is usually used to treat phobia related problems. Patients are guided on how to substitute fear responses with relaxation responses. They will then be exposed slowly to their fear stimuli once they have mastered the treatment.

Aversion therapy is commonly used for problems associated with substance abuse and alcoholism.Therapists typically teach the patients how to associate an unhealthy stimulus that they often desire with an overly unpleasant stimulus.

For this kind of therapy to be effective, the unpleasant stimulus has to cause much discomfort. For example, the therapist may teach you how to associate heroin with a very unpleasant memory.

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