Behavior therapy is a short-term approach that has wide applicability. It emphasizes research into and assessment of the techniques used, thus providing accountability. Specific problems are identified and attacked, and clients are kept informed about the therapeutic process and about what gains are being made. The approach has demonstrated effectiveness in many areas of human functioning. The concepts and procedures are easily grasped. The therapist is an explicit reinforcer, consultant, model, teacher, and expert in behavioral change. The approach has undergone tremendous development and expansion over the past two decades, and the literature continues to expand at a phenomenal rate.. Historically, the behavioral trend developed in the 1950s and early 1960s as a radical departure from the psychoanalytic perspective. Four major phases in the development of behavior therapy are (1) the classical conditioning trend, (2) the operant conditioning model, (3) the social learning approach, and (4) cognitive behavior therapy.
Key Figures and Focus (1950s to early 1960s)
Ivan Pavlov is famous for "conditioned reflex" he developed jointly with his assistant Ivan Filippovitch Tolochinov in 1901. He had come to learn this concept of conditioned reflex when examining the rates of salivations among dogs. Pavlov had learned then when a bell was rung in subsequent time with food being presented to the dog in consecutive sequences, the dog will initially salivate when the food is presented. The dog will later come to associate the ringing of the bell with the presentation of the food and salivate upon the ringing of the bell.
BF Skinner was commonly known as B.F. Skinner. Skinner's views were slightly less extreme than those of Watson. Skinner believed that we do have such a thing as a mind, but that it is simply more productive to study observable behavior rather than internal mental events. Skinner believed that the best way to understand behavior is