Shedler (2008) describes behavioral approaches as based on the assumption that individuals are generally shaped by learning and socio-cultural environment. The main characteristics of behavior therapy mainly focus on observable behavior, current determinants of behavior, change promoting learning experiences, and rigorous assessment and evaluation (Goodwin, 2005). The main focus of behavioral therapy is on current behavior. Goodwin (2005) further adds that the major focus of behavior therapy is on change of behavior in the present and on action programs; that is, behavior therapy concepts are explicitly stated, empirically tested, and continually revised. Shedler (2008) further adds that specific behaviors are measured before and after an intervention to determine the extent of behavior change.
Behavior Therapeutic Process
Behavioral therapy identifies specific goals at the outset of the therapeutic process (Shedler, 2008). According to Ferguson (2007) the general therapeutic goals in this approach are aimed at enhancing personal choice and creating new conditions for learning. This is aimed toward discarding behaviors that are not progressive and to replace them with more constructive patterns (Ferguson, 2006). According to Ferguson (2008), both the therapist and the client together specify treatment goals in concrete, measurable, and objective terms. For effective therapy to occur, effective working link between Gestalt therapist and the client is necessary. Normally, problems are conceptualized behaviorally by skilled therapists who then make use of the therapeutic relationship to advance change (Shedler, 2008). The therapist teaches concrete skills by offering instructions, modeling, and feedback on performance. On the other hand, clients must participate fully in the counseling process right from the beginning to the end. In addition, must participate in the carrying out therapeutic activities, both in sessions and outside therapy (Ferguson, 2006).
Applications of Behavior Therapy
Behavioral Techniques, Areas of Application of the Approach
To determine the treatment plan, behavioral therapists perform the assessment and diagnosis at the outset. Goodwin (2005) postulates that therapeutic techniques of behavior are individually directed to specific problems experienced by different clients. Behavioral approach adopts in its therapeutic plan any technique that can be demonstrated to change behavior. This approach is advantageous as it relies in many and varied techniques aimed at causing behavior change (Shedler, 2008). These techniques may include; methods of relaxation, multimodal therapy, systematic desensitization, assertion training, and others (Ferguson, 2006). Shedler (2008) describes this approach as much applicable in integrated counseling with culturally diverse client demographics. The approach puts emphasis in making clients learn about the process of therapy and structure.
Evaluation of behavior Approach
Contributions of behavior Theory
Behavior therapy approach is widely applicable. It places more emphasis on research into and assessment of the techniques applied, thereby offering accountability (Shedler, 2008). The approach further identifies and explores specific problems, and keeps clients informed about the therapeutic process and the expected gains (Ferguson, 2007). The concepts and procedures in this approach are easy to master. Behavioral therapists are rein forcers, consultants, models, teachers, and experts in behavioral change (Shedler, 2008). This approach has also contributed a lot in integrated counseling with culturally diverse client demographics. This is because the approach stresses on teaching clients about the therapeutic process and structure that is provided by the model (Shedler, 2008).