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Behavioral Activation


Behavioral activation is a third generation behavior therapy for treating depression. It is one of many functional analytic psychotherapies which are based on a Skinnerian psychological model of behavior change, generally referred to as applied behavior analysis. This area is also a part of what is called clinical behavior analysis (CBA) and makes up one of the most effective practices in the professional practice of behavior analysis.

How is behavioral activation carried out?

In behavioral activation participants are asked to create a hierarchy of reinforcing activities. These activities are rank-ordered by difficulty and participants track their own goals along with clinicians who use a token economy to reinforce success in moving through the hierarchy of activities. Participants are measured before and after and a great effect on their depression was found as a result of this treatment.

What is the success rate of Behavioral Activation in the treatment of depression?

The results of behavioral activation treatment were markedly superior when compared to other therapies. <

A recent review of behavioral activation studies for depression found that it has a robust effect and an effective treatment. A large-scale treatment study found behavioral activation to be more effective than cognitive therapy and on a par with medication for treating depression.

Which other conditions can be treated with Behavioral Activation?

Recently, behavioral activation has been applied to anxiety and appears to give promising results. One study found it to be effective with fibromyalgia-related pain anxiety.

Behavioral activation Resources