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PSYCH404: Psychotherapy

Unit 5: Behavioral Therapy   Behavioral therapy grew out of the behaviorist movement of the 1950s. According to the principles of behaviorism, all learning and behaviors are the result of certain environmental stimuli; the cognitive processes that support them are unknown and unstudiable – and are therefore irrelevant. Behavioral therapy came about when behaviorists first realized that they could use the techniques they had developed for specific scientific research in order to change maladaptive behaviors, which are considered the cause of mental disorders. This form of therapy remains popular in certain areas of psychopathology, where many of the diagnoses relate to client behaviors. This unit will review the basic theories of behaviorism and discuss how practitioners apply these theories in order to treat mental disorders.

Unit 5 Time Advisory
This unit will take you approximately 6.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 5.1: 3.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2–5.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 5.3: 2 hours

Unit5 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • describe the historical and theoretical background of behaviorism;
  • describe the major tenets of this theory, including how behavioral therapists generally conceptualize a) human nature, b) psychopathology, and c) the change process; and
  • compare and contrast this theory/therapy with the previous theories/therapies presented (i.e., psychoanalytic therapy, existential therapy, and client-centered therapy).

5.1 Historical and Theoretical Background of Behaviorism   5.1.1 Reaction to Nonscientific Aspects of Psychology   - Reading: Bryn Mawr College: Robert Wozniak’s “Behaviourism: The Early Years” and Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s “Behaviorism” Link: Bryn Mawr College: Robert Wozniak’s “Behaviourism: The Early Years” (HTML) and Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s “Behaviorism” (HTML)
 
Instructions: For the first reading, click on the link above and read the associated webpage in its entirety. As you read, note the aspects of psychology that behaviorists were attempting to improve, and identify their frustrations with the use of the concept of consciousness. For the second reading, click on the link above and read the entirety of the associated webpage. Although there will be some overlap in content with the first reading, the second reading focuses on the philosophical routes of behaviorism and provides new information on the key figures within behaviorism. Note that these readings apply to subunits 5.1.1 and 5.1.2.
 
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5.1.2 The Importance of Environment   5.1.3 Behaviorism vs. Psychoanalysis   - Lecture: iTunes Social Work Podcast: Jonathan B. Singer, PhD’s “Behavior Therapy” Link: iTunes Social Work Podcast: Jonathan B. Singer, PhD’s “Behavior Therapy” (iTunes)
 
Instructions: After clicking on the above link, please listen to the associated lecture on behavior therapy, which is Number 61 on the page. Although this lecture also addresses Cognitive Behavior Therapy, its main focus is Behavior Therapy. Note that this lecture will apply to subunits 5.1.3 through 5.4.3. Pay special attention to Singer’s example of how a behavior therapist would address a specific problem in a therapy situation.

 Listening to this lecture should take approximately 45 minutes.  
    
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displayed on the webpage above.

5.1.4 Corey’s Ten Key Characteristics of Behavior Therapy   5.2 The Therapeutic Process   5.2.1 Client Specifies the Desired Change   5.2.2 Client’s Responsibility for Goals   5.2.3 Continual Appraisal of Therapy: Continue with Goals or Change   5.2.4 Active Role of Therapist   5.2.5 The Importance of Situational Antecedents and Consequences of Problem Behaviors   5.2.6 Assessment of Progress   5.3 Specific Applications of Behavioral Therapy   5.3.1 Systematic Desensitization and Relaxation Techniques   - Reading: California State University: Dr. Thomas G. Stevens’ “Desensitization” and Arizona State University: Dr. Kristine Goto’s “Relaxation Training” Link: California State University: Dr. Thomas G. Stevens’ “Desensitization” (HTML) and Arizona State University: Dr. Kristine Goto’s “Relaxation Training” (HTML)
 
Instructions: For the first reading, click on the above link and read the entirety of these self-help instructions to gauge the steps required of desensitization. For the second reading, click on the above link and read the Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique (i.e., PMRT) to gain an idea of how psychotherapists use relaxation techniques with their clients. Feel free to listen to the audio version if you would prefer and to read/listen to the guided imagery transcript/mp3. Note that there is a great deal of research evidence which supports the efficacy of desensitization in alleviating many symptoms associated with phobias. 
 
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5.3.2 Exposure Therapies: In Vivo Desensitization and Flooding   5.3.3 Assertiveness Training   - Reading: Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders’ “Assertiveness Training” Link: Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders’ “Assertiveness Training” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this webpage for a brief overview of assertiveness training in behavior therapy. 
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.