behavior therapy(redirected from behavior therapist)
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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 PavlovPavlov, Ivan Petrovich
, 1849–1936, Russian physiologist and experimental psychologist. He was professor at the military medical academy and director of the physiology department at the Institute for Experimental Medicine, St. Petersburg, from 1890.
..... Click the link for more information. , a Russian physiologist who observed that animals could be taught to respond to stimuli that might otherwise have no effect on them. B. F. SkinnerSkinner, Burrhus Frederic,
1904–90, American psychologist, b. Susquehanna, Pa. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1931, and remained there as an instructor until 1936, when he moved to the Univ. of Minnesota (1937–45) and to Indiana Univ.
..... Click the link for more information. 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.
behavior therapy[bi′hāv·yər ‚ther·ə·pē]
A mode of therapy that focuses on altering observable and quantifiable behavior of an individual by means of systematic manipulation of environmental and behavioral variables that are thought to be functionally related to the individual's behavior.