What is it Behavioural Therapy?

Behavioural therapy works on the basis that all behaviour is learned and that you can unlearn that behaviour too.

This type of therapy is based on the theory that if all behaviour is learned, then faulty learning (what is sometimes called ‘conditioning’) is the cause of ‘abnormal’ behaviour (for example, a phobia or feelings of extreme anxiety). Treatment focuses on what you can do about the problem now rather than exploring the past to find explanations for what caused it in the first place.

See also Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

It can help if…

Behavioural therapy might be an option if you need help in changing a behaviour. For example, if you suffer from social anxiety (feeling anxious about speaking or eating out in public), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or have a phobia, addiction or an anxiety disorder.

What happens?

The focus is on developing specific practical skills so that you can deal with difficult situations. This is usually called graded exposure. The therapist will suggest small step-by-step techniques to help you with your problem. You might be taught breathing techniques to help you calm down in an anxious situation. If you have a phobia, then you may be gradually exposed to whatever triggers it in order to change (‘recondition’) the way you respond to it. With OCD, you may be exposed to situations or tasks and asked not to carry out those actions that normally help you relive your anxiety.  Behaviour therapy is often short-term.

For more information, see the British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies.