Can Applied Behavior Analysis Be Used in Conjunction With Other Types of Therapy?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) can most certainly be used in conjunction with other types of therapy. ABA is an approach to psychotherapy that uses many of the philosophies of operant conditioning in the application of its methods. This school of thought is employed in traditional talk therapy to treat a number of issues such as autism, substance abuse, phobias and eating disorders. It is useful in behavior modification and the teaching of coping skills. Read on to learn more about ABA and how it can be combined with other therapeutic methods.

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About ABA

ABA is a therapeutic approach with the intention of changing specific behaviors in order to enhance a client’s quality of life. The goal might be to increase proactive actions or to decrease problematic ones. In addition, applied behavior analysis is often used to teach adaptive learning skills such as hygiene and grooming, domestic skills, fine motor dexterity, coping mechanisms and academic performance. ABA can be effectively used in a number of settings, including homes, healthcare facilities, therapist offices, schools, and workplaces.

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How ABA Is Used in Therapy

Applied behavior analysis is a therapeutic intervention used in a variety of contexts. ABA uses a number of teaching strategies in order to help clients learn new skills, improve their social interactions and maintain the proactive behaviors they’ve learned. Therapists utilize certain behavioral techniques to assist the client in learning adaptive ways of interacting and to then transfer what they’ve discovered to different contexts within their lives. In order for these outcomes to occur, the therapist must identify the problematic issues. They then work with the client to set specific goals for change and to create a plan of treatment for accomplishing desired outcomes. As new skills are gained, the occasional review will be scheduled in order to assess the progress that’s occurred or to accommodate for any setbacks. How long clients can expect to undergo ABA is dependent upon factors such as the issues being addressed and how well an individual is progressing.

ABA and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The Washington State Healthcare Authority shares how applied behavior analysis can be used in conjunction with other types of therapy. One of the most common combinations is in conjunction with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that strives to address presenting problems by teaching clients how to change behavior and thinking that is dysfunctional. The premise of this model is that ways in which we perceive situations are actually more influential on how we feel than the situation itself. Therefore, therapists favoring this approach spend a great deal of time helping clients to recognize harmful thought patterns and then work to re-frame the messages being internalized through that inner dialogue.

When ABA and CBT are used together, this method can be incredibly effective in treating problems like:

  • PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Clinical Depression
  • Addiction
  • Eating Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

The combination of these two therapies works well because it confronts faulty messaging and then uses behavioral techniques to teach healthier reactions.

ABA is an effective therapeutic modality for correcting many behavioral problems. Applied behavior analysis can be used in conjunction with other types of therapy in order to address other aspects of a problem such as cognitive and emotional.