By Christopher R. Martell PhD ABPP, Sona Dimidjian PhD, Ruth Herman-Dunn PhD, Peter M. Lewinsohn Phd
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Extra info for Behavioral Activation for Depression: A Clinician's Guide
As such, it requires an ongoing problem-solving empirical approach on the part of the therapist. We encourage an experimental approach that focuses on trying a behavior and observing the outcome. In BA, the experiments are based on functional analyses of past behavior and hypotheses regarding potentially reinforcing activities for each client. For instance, a therapist might assume that a client who was socially anxious prior to being depressed but who enjoyed working on cars is more likely to be rewarded by going to an antique car show or fixing a lawn mower than going to a party.
BA therapists and clients work to plan activities on multiple occasions and try a variety of activities, evaluating the impact on clients’ mood, productivity, or satisfaction 32 BEHAVIORAL ACTIVATION FOR DEPRESSION with their lives prior to determining whether or not any behavior is worth continuing. While clients in BA can become discouraged when they plan and try activities and still don’t feel better, it is important for therapists to remain positive and hopeful. We learn by our successes and by our failures.
We generally explain to clients that the two approaches share a similar structure but that they emphasize different methods of changing depression. One of us (S. ” We thought this was a perfect summation of the basic differences between the two approaches, and we share it often with other clients who raise questions about cognitive therapy. Principle 3: The clues to figuring out what will be antidepressant for a particular client lie in what precedes and follows the client’s important behaviors.