Third Wave Of Behavior Therapy Essay

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4. ACT is sometimes said to be at the forefront of “the third wave” of behavior therapy. Explain what is meant by “third wave,” including an explanation of how the “third wave” is thought to differ from the “first” and “second” waves. Behavior Therapy (BT) has a rather extensive history that is often referred to as the three waves of behaviorism. The first wave occurred during the 1950s and 60s. This wave was highly focused on overt behaviors and emotions and basically ignored thoughts and feelings. The goals of this wave were to reduce problematic behaviors and emotions and increase appropriate behaviors and emotions by using techniques such as relaxation, systematic desensitization, exposure and response prevention, contingency management, and behavioral activation. Although first wave BT was found to be an effective treatment for several problems, including anxiety, depression, and…show more content…
However, it is common for people to not accept or understand this fundamental principle. Instead, they fight it by attempting to get rid of, escape from, or avoid discomfort and unwanted private experiences. These methods typically result in temporary relief, which causes them to be reinforced. This leads to experiential avoidance often being the preferred coping strategy for dealing with unwanted or distressing private experiences. In the long term though, this control-oriented experiential avoidance is detrimental to the client because it amplifies suffering, diminishes psychological health, increases psychological distress, and reduces quality of life. Furthermore, it hinders valued living because life space begins to shrink and avoided situations continue to grow, as the client becomes withdrawn, avoided thoughts and feelings become overwhelming and unmanageable, and the ability be in present moment and enjoy life
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