What is behavioural therapy?
Behavioural therapy is still a relatively new practice in Australia, however it is widely recognised internationally. The role essentially involves bringing about positive changes in behaviours through the development of behavioural plans and education. A behaviour therapist will have qualifications in psychology, social science or behavioural science, and then will also have specialised training in applied behavioural analysis.
How does behavioural therapy work?
Behavioural therapists teach a child how to behave appropriately to get what they need, and to restore confidence, self-worth, independence and self-esteem. A behavioural therapist will work with the child to analyse the function or reason behind the challenging behaviour. From this, they will create a behaviour plan that will include how to manage that challenging behaviour in each environment.
The behaviour plan will also include techniques on how to reward and recognise the behaviours we want to see, and how to encourage further correct responses. For example: if a child is biting for attention, the therapist will work with the child to utilise a more appropriate behaviour to fulfil the function, such as tapping an adult on the arm.
A behavioural therapist might also look for gaps in a child’s development and teach the skills necessary to fill those gaps. By having access to every appropriate way of achieving our wants and needs, challenging behaviours no longer have any purpose.