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Therapy: Behavioural Activation

Behavioural activation is a treatment and an intervention that has been developed for depression.

It is based on the idea that one way to combat low mood is to increase your activity level, especially when it comes to joyful and pleasurable activities. This kind of treatment would seek to help you tackle lists of tasks and responsibilities in a realistic and achievable way.

The behavioural activation model suggests that difficult and painful life events such as grief, trauma, daily stressors leading to depression can also lead to a person having too little positive reinforcement in their lives. Additionally, a person might turn to unhealthy behaviours such as drinking, sleeping late into the afternoon, social withdrawal in an attempt to avoid painful feelings. These behaviours provide temporary relief, but in a long run they result in more negative outcomes, and worsening depression.

When using behavioural activation, your therapist will intervenes in two ways: They will help you to  increase the amount of positive reinforcement you experience in your life, and they will help you to break out of negative behaviour patterns that cause depression and worsen depression.

This approach focuses on encouraging a person to develop or get back into activities which are meaningful to them but which they have been avoiding. The therapy involves scheduling activities and monitoring behaviours and looking at specific situations where changing these behaviours and activities may be helpful.

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