Behavioral activation refers to the goal of cognitive-behavioral therapy that engages people to do enjoyable activities more often.
This activation equally helps people to make their problem-solving skills better. Behavioral history can be traced backed to 1970 when this behavioral activation supported psychotherapy(1).
The main purpose of behavioral activation
As in cognitive therapy, the therapist aids you, in how you can enjoy and become social with other people in your life. The main purpose of this therapy is to decide, how you can overcome your hardships, that stand in your route of happiness.
Behavioral activation is being used as a treatment approach for depressive individuals or people suffering from mood disorders. As depressive individuals avoid activities, favor remaining alone, adapt anti-social behavior. Behavioral activation helps in this matter via gradually lessening their avoidance, isolation behavior, increase their interest to participate in activities. This behavioral activation also improves a bad mood.
The behavioral activation treatment approach
Behavioral activation is based on Lewinsohn (1)and Ferster’s theory(2)that emphasized negative and positive associations in depression(3) and previously behavioral activation only focused on activity scheduling and activities related to one individual values(4).
Hence behavioral activation modern treatment approach should be focused on activity monitoring and activity schedule to augment encouragement and engagement in activities that are recommended for improving mood.
In most cases, behavioral activation involves activities that were enjoyed before becoming depressed and also emphasizes activities that were connected to the individual values or individuals pushed these activities aside due to some reasons.
Recommended strategies to overcome depression
You will be assigned to do some specific tasks to complete during sessions and when you will be able to complete the task easily, your therapist will increase the difficulty level of the task. Sometimes, these tasks are arranged in an activity hierarchy, and you will be asked to use your mind. These activities can be exercising, showering, going for dinner, and other actions working on specific goals.
Your therapist will also ask about your eating habits and sleeping routine because these two things are mainly disturbed when you become depressed.
Similarly, you will be asked to complete activity monitoring. You have to record your single activity performed throughout the day or during the whole week along with mood ratings for each activity performed. This act will enable you to identify your behavioral patterns like how can you eliminate avoidance problems or can become submerged in an activity. After you do these two things successfully you will observe quite an improvement in your mood.
Your therapist will encourage you to complete your task. He/she will also help you that how can you work successfully toward your goal. At the same time, he/she will also work on your emotions that can occur when you perform an activity.
- Lewinsohn PMJEpod. A behavioral approach to depression. 1974:150-72.
- Ferster CB. A Functional Analysis of Depression. American Psychologist, 1973;28:857-70.
- Hopko DR, Lejuez C, Ruggiero KJ, Eifert GHJCpr. Contemporary behavioral activation treatments for depression: Procedures, principles, and progress. 2003;23(5):699-717.
- Kanter JW, Manos RC, Bowe WM, Baruch DE, Busch AM, Rusch LCJCpr. What is behavioral activation?: A review of the empirical literature. 2010;30(6):608-20.
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The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional.