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Behavior therapy is a form of psychotherapy used to treat depression, anxiety disorders, phobias, and other forms of psychopathology. Its philosophical roots can be found in the school of behaviorism, which states that psychological matters can be studied scientifically by observing overt behavior, without discussing internal mental states.


Behavior therapy originally grew out of a 1953 research project by B.F. Skinner, Ogden Lindsley, and Harry C. Solomon.[1]

In the second half of the 20th century, behavior therapy was coupled with the cognitive therapy of Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis, to form cognitive behavioral therapy and rational emotive therapy.

Scientific basis

Behavior therapy is based upon the principles of classical conditioning developed by Ivan Pavlov and operant conditioning developed by B.F. Skinner and modelling behavior studied by Albert Bandura

Notable Behavioral Theorists

Main techniques

The main techniques used in behavior therapy are derived from the scientific base and include:

Common treatments

The particular techniques have been combined into clinical protocols to treat particular behaviour disorders

See also


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  1. Lindsley, O., Skinner, B.F., Solomon, H.C.. "Science and Practice of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy". Oxford University Press.