Treatment Theories and Techniques - Ascent Psychology



Behaviour therapy is based on the theory that behaviour is learned and maintained (through observation, pairing of antecedents and behaviour and conditional reinforcement) and hence can be altered (through modelling and rehearsal, stimulus control and contingency management).

Cognitive therapy is based on the theory that distressing emotions and maladaptive behaviours are the result of faulty or irrational patterns of thinking. Dysfunctional beliefs, expectations, perceptions, attributions, interpretations and appraisals are identified and modified or replaced with rational, adaptive cognitions which alleviate the problematic feelings and behaviour.


Interpersonal therapy is based on the theory that interpersonal relationships play a significant role in both causing and maintaining depression. Interpersonal therapy aims to identify and resolve interpersonal difficulties that are thought to be related to the depression. These difficulties may include: conflict with others, role disputes or role transitions, social isolation, and prolonged grief following loss. Interpersonal therapy builds skills – mainly in the communication and interpersonal domains.


Motivational interviewing is a useful technique to use with people who are initially ambivalent or reluctant to engage in CBT, particularly when needing to change a behaviour which provides rewards for them (e.g. smoking, drinking excessively). Discussions of the costs and benefits of change and even planned exercises are sometimes needed to convince the person that in the longer (and sometimes shorter) term, the benefits of change outweigh the costs of not changing. Often concerns about what might happen, or their perception of their inability to cope, impedes progress and these must be uncovered and dealt with, along with discussing what might the future might look like if they changed and the impact of the change on their satisfaction with life.


This kind of intervention emphasises that our behaviour and feelings as adults (including psychological problems) are rooted in our childhood experiences, and assists individuals to make sense of their current relationships, experiences and how they see the world.

The Psychodynamic approach is an alternative for those who have not experienced an improvement in their emotional, psychological and physical symptoms using other psychological approaches.