Behavioral Therapy Essay

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The most effective therapy to treat depression is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. (CBT) was coined in the 1960’s by Dr. Aaron T. Beck. Beck was a psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania where he studied and practiced psychoanalysis. His main goal was to carry out experiments to test psychoanalytic concepts of depression. In his finding he came across patients experiencing steams of negative thoughts. These thoughts usually happened spontaneously and where then named- automatic thoughts. Everyone suffers from these thoughts, some more than others. The more he studied the more he realized these thoughts could easily be put into three categories: thoughts about themselves, the world, or the future. His goal was to help patients realize …show more content…

Though most people associate this theory with B.F Skinner, the roots go back to John Watson, an American psychologist. After speaking out on his apposing views of Freud’s theory of psychology, he pioneered a new school of thought- behaviorism. Watson explained it to be the science of observable behavior which he believed was the only form of behavior that could be of real value for the study of humans. His sole reason for apposing Freud’s theory of the unconscious mind was because it was not observable and was based on the psychologist’s own interpretation. “Watson found this emphasis on introspection and subjective interpretation to be very unscientific and unhelpful in understand behavior,” (Weibell, 2011). While Watson focused on classical conditioning, B.F Skinner developed operant conditioning, which gave him the name “father of operant conditioning”. “…it means roughly changing of behavior by the use of reinforcement which is given after the desired response” (McLeod, …show more content…

Behavior that makes sense to a depressed person causes low levels of positive reinforcement, behavioral interventions counter the tendency to avoid and withdraw oneself. This increases the patient’s sense of self-efficacy and address needs of self-care that were neglected during the depressive episodes. The first step in this process if for the client to monitor current activity levels and- with the therapist’s help- assign a schedule of enjoyable activities. The assignments are set for the times that the client has increasing depressive symptoms in order for the client to note the changes that cure in their mood at this time. The experiment tests the faulty predictions the clients make about their successes and failures. The therapist also helps the client make step-by-step plans for the activities that cause the most anxiety in the client. When the client is instructed to do specific activities, it becomes obvious to the therapist their patterns of withdrawal and avoidance, making it easier to evaluate. Behavioral activation also ensures that future social interactions become more rewarding because skill deficits are targeted (Sudak, 2012). In the article, “Behavioral Activation Strategies for Major Depression in Transdiagnostic Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy”, Todd J. Farchione, James F. Boswell, and Julianne G. Wilner use a case study in order to back up the theory that when using CBT, BA is an effective strategy to

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