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Behavioral therapy also known as behavioral modification is a psychological method whose foundation states that observable, maladaptive, badly adjusted, self destructive or specific behaviors can be changed by replacing them with newer, more appropriate ones.
Origins of Behavioral Therapy
From child rearing to the criminal justice system, punishment and reward have be used and recorded in history to make a difference in behavior. Modern behavioral therapy began as early as the 1950s and was evident in the work of Joseph Wolpe and B.K. Skinner. Patients of Wolpe who suffered from phobias were treated using a technique he developed known as systematic desensitization. This involved slowly exposing a patient to stimuli that was anxiety provoking until the response to the anxiety was ended.
Skinner introduced what was known as operant conditioning, which was a behavioral technique, based on the idea that choices of behavior are made by an individual due to
Consequences and experiences of that behavior.
Benefits of Behavioral Psychology
It can be an effective treatment for treating mental illnesses, symptoms of mental illness involving maladaptive behavior that include anxiety disorders, aggressive behavior, eating disorders, phobias, and substance abuse. Behavioral therapy is also often used to treat organic disorders like insomnia and incontinence by behavioral modification.
Behavioral therapy techniques are sometimes used together with additional psychological interventions such as with medication. Depression psychology also attempts to understand the mental state of a person and what causes a particular behavior the exhibit.