Behavioral Therapy

What is Behavioral Therapy?

Behavioral therapy is an overarching term for therapies that treat mental health disorders by altering negative behavioral patterns. When used in addiction treatment, behavioral therapy techniques help guests identify unwanted and unhealthy behaviors while teaching them an alternative, healthy habits to promote change. This type of therapy views behavior under the belief that actions are a product of learned behaviors, which can be changed for the better.



Within behavioral therapy, therapists aim to review issues and situations that occur in the present, encouraging problem-solving and solution-based discussions to instill active participation in sessions that lead to healthy shifts in behavior.

What does Behavioral Therapy Treat?

Behavioral therapy is proven to benefit a wide range of mental health disorders and, as an evidence-based treatment, is considered to be an extremely effective therapy. While there are several approaches to behavioral therapy, all variations aim to teach individuals how to process their thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors in a healthy way.

Behavioral therapy helps in the treatment of:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Substance use disorders
  • Panic disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Attention deficit disorder (ADHD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Suicidal ideation and self-harm
  • Interpersonal issues
  • Anger management issues
  • Stress management issues
  • Fears and phobias

Knowing that this therapy works to change an individual’s maladaptive behaviors, treatment that utilizes these methods reinforce positive behaviors and remove negative behaviors. Most people who enter into therapy are seeking out help so that they may change their current situation. 

As a result, behavioral therapy is effective in teaching people how to recognize the influencing factors behind their negative circumstances. It will also teach individuals how to practice new, healthy habits for a happier mindset and a more fulfilling life.

Therapy Types for Behavior

There are a number of different behavioral therapies that provide benefits for those wishing to change their behaviors for the better. Depending on the disorder being treated, the severity of symptoms, and the mindset of the individual seeking treatment, therapists can employ one or more techniques to bring about healing and change.

Types of behavioral therapy:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) combines cognitive and behavioral methods to treat a person’s current symptoms by teaching them to identify the problematic thoughts that influence their mood/behaviors and shift their inner voice to reflect patterns of rational, positive self-talk which helps the individual cope with stressful situations.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a form of CBT that uses skills-based techniques to teach the individual how to manage their emotions, tolerate distress and improve relationships.
  • Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) uses an action-based behavioral approach that teaches an individual to identify the irrational thoughts and beliefs that lead to emotional and/or behavioral issues so that they can actively challenge those thoughts and replace them with rational, realistic viewpoints.
  • Exposure therapy exposes an individual to the source of their fears while incorporating behavioral techniques, such as relaxation strategies, to help them to overcome their fears of situations or other phobias.

Can Behavior Change Help Addiction Recovery?

While certain details of treatment might be influenced by the particular kind of chemical dependence, the goal of recovery and the means of achieving it all focus on the cultivation of positive change. For this reason, therapy techniques focused on behavioral change can help those suffering from substance use disorders. It offers you a way to reframe your mindset and shift behavioral patterns to limit negative reactions to stressful situations. This is one of the reasons why Royal Life Centers utilizes multiple therapy approaches in the treatment of our guests.

Behavioral change in addiction treatment includes:

  • Accept the reality of your substance abuse
  • Recognize codependency or co-addiction
  • Confront triggers and cravings
  • Develop relapse prevention skills
  • Cope with change
  • Deconstruct fears
  • Express feelings, wants, and needs
  • Create a healthy self-imagine
  • Reframe your thoughts
  • Acknowledge unhealthy relationships
  • Develop new relationships
  • Seek support
  • Restore healthy boundaries
  • Embrace support groups
  • Empathize with other people
  • Forgive yourself
  • Process trauma

Treatment programs using behavioral therapy help you cope with the moment-to-moment discomforts of recovery. Additionally, our therapists collaborate with you to define your unique goals in recovery and encourage you to practice the skills in-between sessions. This practice helps you use these healthy habits within your routine and continue them in daily life following treatment. As a result, the skills developed during group activities and one-on-one therapy sessions provide you with the prevention toolbox to achieve life-long success in recovery.

Behavioral Therapy for Substance Use Disorders

Behavioral therapy for substance use disorders is proven to benefit those working through recovery both by itself and as a part of a multi-modal treatment plan. The use of these therapeutic methods improves an individual’s response to treatment, helping them to accept help and encouraging them to continue their recovery maintenance following the completion of treatment. Therapy for substance abuse offers positive strategies to promote learning, comprehension, motivation, and the creation of coping skills.

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