Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Functional analytic psychotherapy

Kohlenberg, R.J. & Tsai, Mavis. Functional analytic psychotherapy. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 4, 175-201.

Functional analytic psychotherapy (FAP) is a radical behaviorist approach to psychotherapy. As such, it views everything we do as behavior and believes these behaviors are the result of contingencies of reinforcement we have experienced in past relationships. The therapy emphasizes the importance of the client-therapist relationship since it creates a functionally similar environment [to the "real world"] which can evoke problematic behavior (deemed CRB1's) that can then be observed and responded to with reinforcement, shaping, and interpretations. Improvements witnessed in-session (deemed CRB2's) can be praised and reinforced immediately, and the clinician's reinforcement can be assessed for effectiveness. Further, its emphasis on contextualism leads therapists to develop a comprehensive understanding of the meaning of a client's behaviors and forces practitioners to remain open-minded about an intervention's potential effectiveness given the context. As such, FAP commonly embraces and enhances concepts and techniques from different therapies, such as psychoanalysis and cognitive therapy. Practitioners of FAP are encouraged to tailor their use of therapeutic techniques depending on: what will evoke the client's problems in the session, whether the client's problems are rule-governed or contingency-shaped, and what will be naturally reinforcing of the client's target behaviors.

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