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What Is Behavioral Therapy?

Behavioral therapy is the focused treatment of unhealthy behaviors. What exactly are unhealthy behaviors? Unhealthy behaviors are anything and everything that may be disruptive, abnormal, or harmful. 

Treatment depending on when each individual starts to show symptoms. That is when a behavioral analyst professional can help them improve their behavior by targeting what is causing it.

Behavioral Therapy is based on the theory that all behavior is learned. Mistakes in the learning (conditioning) causes abnormal behavior. Behavioral therapists main goal is to address the behaviors, correct them, and improve the individuals way of life.

(check out “When Do You Start Seeing Symptoms of Behavioral Problems” to see if these behaviors sound familiar). 

Different Types of Behavioral Therapy 

Each behavior has its own underlying cause. To address these behaviors, there are different types of behavioral therapies. These therapies include;

    1. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: This kind of therapy seeks to help patients overcome some kind of behavior, habit, or emotion (such as nail-biting, anger management, ADHD, etc).
    2. Applied Behavior Analysis: Helps patients overcome problematic behaviors which are prohibiting social functions, using positive and negative reinforcement. This therapy promotes independence. 
    3. Psychoanalytic Therapy: Often named “talk therapy.” This kind of therapy seeks to unearth emotional and behavioral patterns. Those patterns are usually what are preventing progress. Analysis of past and present relationships help achieve that. 
    4. Exposure Therapy: Aids patients who need to overcome fear or life stressors.

What Does Behavioral Therapy Treat?

As mentioned above, behavioral therapies 

This kind of therapy can be used to treat a variety of mental, or developmental, disorders. such as:

  • Depression
  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Anxiety
  • Anger issues
  • Eating disorders
  • OCD
  • Oppositional defiant disorder
  • Disorders of psychological development

This kind of therapy is beneficial to both children and adults. If applied to children with behavioral issues, the change in their lifestyles can be drastic. Earlier diagnosis and treatment offer a better lifestyle outlook.

What is Applied Behavioral Therapy?

Applied Behavioral Analysis promotes improvements in a child’s communication, reading, and social skills through the use of therapeutic techniques. It also targets adaptive learning skills, such as hygiene, punctuality, job competence, and motor skill. When a child is showcasing disruptive behavior it’s important to apply the therapy IN all settings he/she may encounter. This consistency will pave the way to improvement.

Applied Behavior Analysis is applied in various settings in your child’s life; home, school, work, and medical office. This helps target specific behavior in all environments. In other words, we want to help your child learn how to process the troubling environmental stimuli in any settings. This will help he/she learn how to contain the abnormal reaction and process the stimuli. 

Who is Applied Behavioral Therapy for?

ABA is mainly used as a form of therapeutic intervention for individuals with autism or some type of conduct disorder. It helps individuals with autism improve how they interact with others, learn new life skills, and establish positive behaviors. For the best outcome, it is recommended that parents seek treatment before their child turns 4. This will provide an  autistic child with a better chance of leading an independent life.

ABA can be  applied to other individuals as well. It helps adults cope with life’s situations, such as memory, strength, and relationship loss. It’s also proven to help people cope with lifestyle barriers that come with having a mental health or physical condition.


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Behavioral Therapy for Children.

Diagnosis changes treatment. But for the most part Applied Behavioral Analysis and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy are used for children with mental illnesses. The most important part about these therapies is that they reward positive behavior and ‘punish’ negative behavior.

It might take some time for your child to adjust to the therapist or physician. In time, when a routine of consistent appearances is established and the child associates the therapist or physician as someone they know they will be able to express themselves directly. 

Those who have autism or ADHD benefit the most from these behavioral therapies.


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