Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA): Anxiety Treatment Review

What is Applied Behavioral Analysis?

Applied Behavioral Analysis or ABA is a form of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) (see A-Z list). As the name implies it is applied and therefore is based on practice rather than theory and focusses on changing the observable behaviour of the individual and how it affects a particular situation. ABA is a form of almost pure behaviourism in that it only looks at, treats and uses as feedback the behaviour of the client. It operates by conditioning the individual to behave in certain ways in certain situations. Success (often social success) is measured through changes in the client's behaviour in a range of situations. If effect ABA has been designed as a behaviour modification programme. If a person modifies their behaviour they will obtain greater success in the world.

12 Prinicles of Applied Behavioral Analysis.

There are 12 principles that underpin Applied Behavioral Analysis:

  1. Applied. Applied Behavioral Analysis is based on practice and experimentation in a situation to find out what changes in behaviour bring about the effect required. Applied means in real life situations and not in a therapy room or training room.
  2. Behaviour. Applied Behavioral Analysis is focused on real changes in behaviour on behalf of the client and how that changes any given situation. ABA is only interested in measuring changes in observable behaviour.
  3. Analysis. ABA requires systematic and structured analysis of the behaviours and affects obtained as a results. The intention is to make a particular set of client behaviours stable and reliable.
  4. Replicable or technological. The Applied Behavioral Analysis intervention must be capable of being repeated by any therapist, which means the intervention needs to be recorded precisely by the therapist.
  5. Systematic. The interventions used have to be researched and applied in a systematic way that uphold the principles of ABA.
  6. Effective. The interventions have to be effective in changing the clients behaviour. This means that interventions have to be measurable and measured. Non-effective interventions are removed.
  7. Generality. The aim of ABA is to change the long-term behaviour of the client and in a series of different  contexts. As such the therapist is looking for generisable changes in behaviour and preferably changes that start to positively impact other behviours.
  8. Accountability. Every intervention needs to be scientifically tested to ensure it works. The therapist can make a guess at what might work and then needs to show as far as is possible that it was that intervention that made the difference.
  9. Public. The whole process of Applied Behavioral Analysis has to be open and transparent in that all the explanations and outcomes have to be observable. ABA does not allow theories or explanations that are mystical, metaphysical explanations, hidden treatments, or magic.
  10. Do-able. The interventions and the application of the need to be achievable by anyone not just a trained therapist.
  11. Empowering. The aim of ABA is to empower or give the power to the client so that they can change their own behaviour and that they can see the feedback readily and adapt as necessary.
  12. Optimistic. ABA is only applied with positive intent and with demonstratable achievement.

Applied Behavioral Analysis is probably one of the most researched and evidenced form of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Low effectiveness

 

Medium Effectiveness

 

High Effectiveness

Go to A-Z list of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

 

 

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