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THE BEHAVIORAL ANALYTIC THERAPIES
Behavior-Analytic Therapy is a therapeutic proposal philosophically based on radical behaviorism and on contextualism. It includes and proposes intervention strategies to address clinical phenomena through processes described from experimental methods of behavior analysis. TAC aims to act on operant and respondent behavior, including complex verbal processes, incorporating knowledge developed in basic experimental, conceptual and applied behavior analysis studies. It is a therapy designed for different intervention modalities and different types of clinical complaints.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
DBT is an approach based on behavior analysis, dialectical philosophy and Zen practice. Initially developed by Marsha Linehan as a treatment for suicidal and self-harm behaviors, DBT was recognized as the gold standard in the treatment for borderline personality disorder and, more recently, it has been adapted and researched for other clinical conditions involving children, adolescents and adults. Therefore, DBT is currently considered a transdiagnostic behavioral therapy.
Therapy by contingencies of reinforcement
Therapy by contingencies of reinforcement (TCR), systematized and developed by Guilhardi (2004), proposes a psychotherapeutic model based essentially on the Skinner’s Radical Behaviorism and on Behavioral Science. Radical Behaviorism presents a conception of Human Beings, which serves as a reference for clinical practice.
Behavior Science provides procedures, legitimised by experimental studies, to influence behaviors. Further, it conceptualizes laws which govern behavior on the basis of behavioral data produced in accordance with strict application of natural Science attitudes.
One objective of TCR is analysing behavioral episodes; it is also interested in the client’s behavior and feelings. However, all psychotherapeutic processes are conducted through the contingencies of reinforcement.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
ACT is a therapeutic model for the treatment of complex human problems which incorporates new concepts about language and cognition based on RFT (Relational Frame Theory), and which aims for behavioral change and psychological flexibility as a result of intervention. It uses acceptance processes, as well as mindfulness and behavioral modification processes to change the individual's’ relationship with his or her own thoughts, feelings, memories and physical sensations; this is done to increase the contact with each individual’s values in order to guide the behavioral change process.
Pragmatic Behavioral Psychotherapy
Pragmatic Behavioral Psychotherapy is a modality of TAC in which therapists avoid setting explicit rules for the client. During the course of therapy, It is up to the client, via a procedure called reflexive questioning, to describe the controlling variables of his/her behavior, and the effects of those behaviors on his/her circle of contacts.
From this point on, to alter his/her personal relations, it is up to the client to formulate interventions in his/her behavior. Differential reinforcement with natural consequences is the primary means of intervention as applied in therapy. In this model, great emphasis is placed on the verbal behavior and on the third level of selection.
Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP)
FAP is a form of psychotherapy based on Radical Behaviorism and Functional Contextualism. Its objective is to promote improvement in the client’s interpersonal relations. This is achieved by setting up a meaningful therapeutic relationship in which the client develops relational skills through practice during session. In turn, he/she can apply these skills practically in life.
To help the client build new skills, the therapist must be alert to the client’s clinically relevant behaviors, evoke new behaviors, reinforce improvements, assess the intervention’s effect. Finally, the therapist, by using his/her own repertoire of interpersonal difficulties, allows the client to draw comprehensively from his/her developed skill sets.
Denis Roberto ZamignaniDoutor em Psicologia Clínica pela Universidade de São Paulo. Analista do comportamento acreditado pela Associação Brasileira de Psicologia e Medicina Comportamental.
Diretor acadêmico do Paradigma Centro de Ciências e Tecnologia do Comportamento, onde é docente do Mestrado profissional em Análise do Comportamento Aplicada.