What is Behavioral Therapy?

Behavioral Therapist

Developmental disabilities include diagnoses such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and cognitive delays. It is estimated 15.04% of the population is diagnosed with developmental disabilities (Boyle et al, 2011). In some cases, children coping with developmental disabilities from an early age are at an increased risk of developing certain negative behavioral characteristics, such as poor tolerance, aggressive behaviors, inability to control anger, self-injurious behaviors, and excessive frustration, among others (Spratt et al, 2012). There is also a chance of children developing internalizing behaviors, such as somatic complaints, refusal to participate, social withdrawal, or lack of self-care skills, among others (Moylan et al. 2010). Behavior therapy, especially those focused on incorporating the family, have been associated with fewer child behavior problems, improved maternal and paternal parenting style, and decreased maternal stress (Roberts et al, 2010).

What is Behavioral Therapy?

It refers to a set of action-based therapies that are administered to resolve behavioral issues and foster positive behavioral change. Behavioral therapy focuses on evaluating different kinds of socially significant human behaviors. The goal of behavior therapy is to change or eliminate maladaptive or unwanted behaviors, and increased positive behavioral change. The concept behind this therapy is that all behaviors, both positive and negative ones, are learned and can be changed by focusing on potential triggers and the outcome of certain types of behavior. Common types of behavioral therapies include, ABA therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and exposure therapy.

Behavior therapy can be used for a wide range of disorders in both children and adults. It helps in the treatment of disorders and conditions, such as:


•  Autism •  Phobias, like social phobias
•  ADHD •  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
•  Anger issues •  Self-harm
•  Anxiety •  Lack of self-care skills
•  Bipolar disorder •  Problems with communication
•  Depression •  Eating disorders
•  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) •  Panic disorders



  • Behavioral therapy can also be effective when administered with other therapies. For example, if a child is receiving physical therapy for motor and muscular development, behavioral therapy can be used to encourage them by using techniques such as positive reinforcement, small rewards, and praise. It can also be used to overcome speech deficits and reduce obsessive-compulsive behavioral concerns, such as skin picking and rigid displays of behaviors.

  • Behavioral Therapy for Children with Autism

  • Autism is a disorder that generally affects a person’s communication development and social behaviors. Therapists often opt for behavioral therapy to help children with autism overcome a spectrum of related conditions and disorders. One of the most commonly used behavioral therapies is Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA, and is shown to be effective for children with autism to eliminate negative behaviors and increase skills in areas related to social and communication. Typically, a certified therapist conducts one-on-one sessions spanning for 10-40 hours a week in different environments for effective results. Parents and other family members are encouraged to participate in the sessions in order to generalize the skill set to the home setting and around key supports for the child.

  • If you have a child showing symptoms of autism, you should consider consulting with an experienced and certified therapist. They will guide you through the process to get accurate diagnosis of your child’s condition and enrolled in effective treatment. If you would like additional information on how behavior therapy can assist your child or family, contact Cornerstones today at 855-855-2712.

  • Boyle, C.A., Boulet, S., Schieve, L.A., Cohen, R.A., Blumberg, S.J., Yeargin-Allsopp, M., Visser, S., & Kogan, M.D. (2011). Trends in the Prevalence of Developmental Disabilities in US Children, 1997-2008. Pediatrics, 127(6), 1034-1042.

  • Spratt, E.G., Friedenberg, S., La Rosa, A.A., De Bellis, M.D., Macias, M.M., Summer, A.P., Hulsey, C.T., Runyan, K.D., Brady, T.K. (2012). The Effects of Early Neglect on Cognitive, Language, and Behavioral Functioning in Childhood. Psychology, 3(2), 175-182.

  • Moylan, C.A., Herrenkohl, T.I., Sousa, C. Tajima, E.I., Russo, J.M. (2010). The Effects of Child Abuse and Exposure to Domestic Violence on Adolescent Internalizing and Externalizing Behavior Problems. J Fam Viol, 25(1), 53–63.

  • Roberts, C., Mazzucchelli, T., Studman, L., & Sanders. M.R. (2010). Behavioral family intervention for children with developmental disabilities and behavioral problems. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 35(2), 180-193.

In HomeABA Therapy

Are you looking for ABA services for your child in the comfort of your home? Are you looking for less stress in your life? Cornerstones Autism Services can help.

click to call