Behavioral Activation

Several psychotherapeutic interventions have been shown to be effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder, one of which is behavioral activation. Behavioral activation is a brief treatment for depression that involves decreasing avoidance or escape behaviors that maintain depression and increasing possible sources of positive reinforcement to improve one’s life. This approach involves educating the client on a personalized case conceptualization of how depression develops and is maintained, teaching key principles such as how behavior is shaped and maintained in certain contexts by the consequences of action, using techniques such as conducting a functional analysis or assessment, and scheduling increasingly challenging activities that are in line with one’s values and goals. This entry reviews the history of the approach, the empirical support for ...

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