Characteristics of behaviour therapy

  1. It is based on scientific methodology. At the outset of counselling, goals, concepts and procedures are stated explicitly, then tested and revised continually. Conclusions are based on what is observed rather than on personal beliefs.
  2. The focus is on the client’s current problems and the factors that influence them.
  3. Clients take an active role to bring about change. They learn to monitor their behaviour and practice new coping skills.
  4. Education is a core element, with an emphasis on the client learning self-management skills.
  5. Self-control is emphasised so that clients can initiate, conduct and evaluate their own therapy.
  6. Techniques are tailored to suit the individual client’s needs.
  7. The counsellor and client have a collaborative partnership.

GOALS AND TECHNIQUES

Behavioural therapies tend to:

-Be brief

-Move from the simple to complex -Combine several techniques.

Goals of therapy

The basic principle behind the behavioural approach is that clients need to learn new behaviours that will lessen the impact of problem behaviours.  Goals are set at the beginning of therapy, and assessment throughout the process is continuous to decide whether these goals are being met. Clients play an active role in deciding these goals and whether or not they are being met. Such goals need to be unambiguous and agreed to by both the client and the counsellor.  The goals may be amended throughout the therapeutic process where necessary.

This collaborative process involves:

-focus on what the client wishes to do

-the client ‘owning’ the goals

-checking that the goals are realistic

-a discussion to determine whether the goals are advantageous

-decisions as to whether the goals need to be amended, continued, or whether a referral is required

-a plan of action to implement the goals

Behavioural therapies can also be adopted to help reintegrate the client into society.

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