Behavior therapy is a broad approach to treatment that relies on principles derived from two major theories: (1) classical conditioning and (2) operant conditioning. These two theories have led to a wide range of interventions that have been applied to psychological and emotional problems.

Historical Context

Classical conditioning and operant conditioning were derived from basic experimental research. Classical conditioning, on the one hand, resulted from research showing that environmental stimuli (e.g., a specific sound) when paired with elicitors of specific automatic responses (e.g., salivation due to exposure to food sources) would also elicit the same response. Once conditioned, these responses could be eliminated if the stimulus (e.g., a specific sound) was presented with no stimuli that elicit an automatic response. This process has been called extinction and, ...

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