Behavior Modification

behavior therapy

behavior therapy or behavior modification, in psychology, treatment of human behavioral disorders through the reinforcement of acceptable behavior and suppression of undesirable behavior. The technique had its roots in the work of Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist who observed that animals could be taught to respond to stimuli that might otherwise have no effect on them. B. F. Skinner developed the technique in the United States, using positive or negative reinforcers to encourage desirable behavior and punishments to discourage undesirable behavior. Behavior therapists believe that, in many cases, behaviors can be learned or unlearned through basic conditioning techniques; unlike traditional psychoanalysis, the method has little regard for the unconscious processes underlying personality disorders. Behavior therapy uses such techniques as aversive conditioning, where unwanted habits are paired with unpleasant stimuli, and systematic desensitization, where a stimulus that causes anxiety is paired with a pleasant one.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy: Research, Practice, and Philosophy
Brian Sheldon.
Routledge, 1995
Assessment and Treatment of Emotional or Behavioral Disorders
H. A. Chris Ninness; Sigrid S. Glenn; Janet Ellis.
Praeger, 1993
Behavior Modification: Contributions to Education
Sidney W. Bijou; Roberto Ruíz.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1981
Therapeutic Approaches in Psychology
Susan Cave.
Routledge, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Behavioural Therapies"
Personality and Assessment
Walter Mischel.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Behavior Change"
Handbook of Clinical Child Psychology
C. Eugene Walker; Michael C. Roberts.
John Wiley & Sons, 2001 (3rd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 41 "Behavior Therapy with Children"
Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties: Theory to Practice
Paul Cooper; Colin J. Smith; Graham Upton.
Routledge, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Behavioural Approaches"
The Psychological Treatment of Depression: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
J. Mark G. Williams.
Routledge, 1992 (2nd edition)
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy with Older People
Ken Laidlaw; Larry W. Thompson; Leah Dick-Siskin; Dolores Gallagher-Thompson.
Wiley, 2003
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