The Behaviour Therapy Service is part of the USW Behaviour Analysis Clinic. It aims to help individuals understand and manage some of the “everyday” behaviour problems that may affect their lives (e.g., stress, phobias, anxiety about particular situations). It uses the principles of behaviour analysis to guide clients in developing their own solutions to problems and improving their quality of life.
What is behaviour therapy?
Behaviour therapy is a short-term treatment that focuses primarily on teaching people ways to understand the problems they are experiencing (for example, feeling anxious, lacking assertiveness, feeling “low”), as well as behavioural techniques to address those problems. It is based on the scientific principles of behaviour analysis. Supported by the behaviour specialist, the client takes an active role in understanding the problem and changing behavioural patterns that may affect quality of life. In behaviour therapy, the client is also expected to engage in activities outside the prearranged sessions in order to be successful in behaviour change.
What does the behaviour specialist do?
The role of the behaviour specialist is to guide the client in pursuing the most appropriate evidence-based techniques to assist him achieve the desired outcome. The behaviour specialist’s guidance is based on the information that the individual discloses to him. Behaviour specialists do not offer advice on how to approach a problem, but rather guide the client in understanding the problem and coming up with a solution.
How does the behaviour specialist explore the factors responsible for a problem?
Clinical case formulation (or clinical functional analysis) is a technique that the behaviour specialist uses in defining the problem behaviour and in identifying some of the factors responsible for the development and maintenance of the problem behaviour. It involves an open and honest conversation between the behaviour specialist and the client concerning the latter’s experiences both shortly before and after he/she developed the problem behaviour. This process usually takes 2-3 sessions (each session in an hour).
What other techniques are used in behaviour therapy?
Behaviour therapy uses a wealth of techniques to promote behaviour change including problem-solving skills (a method that teaches the person to take a rational and positive approach to problem solving), behavioural activation (a method that teaches the person how to engage more fully with life by setting achievable goals), self-management (a method that teaches the person ways of independently managing his own behaviour and goals), as well as relaxation techniques. It may also involve behavioural experiments (in which clients “test” the validity of negative beliefs) and exposure therapy (a method that allows a person to face fearful situations in a safe environment). However, it is down to the client to decide whether he or she wants to engage with the techniques. The application of each of those techniques depends on the client’s problem behaviour, and usually requires 4-6 hour-long sessions.
What is the research evidence of the effectiveness of the behaviour therapy?
There is a wealth of research suggesting behaviour therapy’s effectiveness in those with mild to moderate depression, anxiety, phobias, sleep problems, and in those with poor problem-solving and self-management skills.
What are the qualifications of the behaviour specialists working at the Behaviour Therapy Service?
All the behaviour specialists in the clinic have earned Master’s degrees in Behaviour Analysis and Therapy, and are currently enrolled in the PgDip in Behaviour Analysis Supervised Practice. Most will eventually pursue qualification as Board Certified Behaviour Analysts. Their work is closely supervised by Dr. Ioannis Angelakis, CPsychol.
What types of problem behaviours could be addressed by the Behaviour Therapy Service?
The Behaviour Therapy Service does not treat chronic mental health disorders. It is concerned with those types of problems that are not severe, but may arise from time to time and interfere with a person’s everyday life. For example:
(1) Stress, anxiety, social anxiety (not chronic)
(2) Low mood (not chronic)
(3) Phobias (e.g., fear of insects, public speaking)
(4) Compulsive behaviours
(5) Problems with self-management (e.g., poor time management, bad habits)
(6) Issues with problem-solving skills (e.g., feeling overwhelmed by work and not knowing what to do)
How can I receive help at the Behaviour Therapy Service?
The first step is to fill in a screening form. This form will be reviewed by the Coordinator of the Behaviour Therapy Service to determine if services at the clinic are a good choice for you. If so, you’ll be contacted about scheduling an appointment. In your first session, you will be asked to fill in several self-report scales and will meet with one of our behaviour specialists who will further assess whether your problem behaviour lies within the expertise of the service. If we judge that your problem is not suitable for our clinic, we will give you information about other services that might be helpful to you.
When and where are sessions scheduled?
The service is currently open on Wednesday afternoons from 12-4 pm. Sessions are held in Innovation House, which is located across the street from the Treforest railway station.
Is there a fee for the service?
Sessions are £8 per hour for USW students and £12 per hour for non-students. Therapy typically lasts for 6-10 sessions, but the number of sessions you attend is down to you.
What if I have additional questions about the Behaviour Therapy Service?
For further information, please contact the service Coordinator, Dr Ioannis Angelakis