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a psychological intervention designed to help people resolve emotional, behavioral, and interpersonal problems, and improve the quality of their lives


person with no professional training who provides mental health services

behavior therapists

therapist who focuses on specific problem behaviors and current variables that maintain problematic thoughts, feelings, and behaviors

systematic desensitization

patients are taught to relax as they are gradually exposed to what they fear in a stepwise manner

exposure therapy

therapy that confronts patients with what they fear with the goal of reducing the fear


research procedure for examining the effectiveness of isolated components of a larger treatment

response prevention

technique in which therapists prevent patients from performing their typical avoidance behaviors

participant modeling

technique in which the therapist first models a problematic situation and then guides the patient through the steps to cope with it unassisted

token economy

method in which desirable behaviors are rewarded with tokens that patients can exchange for tangible rewards

aversion therapy

treatment that uses punishment to decrease the frequency of undesirable behaviors

cognitive behavior therapy

treatment that attempts to replace maladaptive or irrational cognitions with more adaptive, rational cognitions

group therapy

therapy that treats more than one person at a time

structural family therapy

treatment in which therapists deeply involve themselves in family activities to change how family members arrange and organize interactions

emperically supported therapies (ESTs)

treatments for specific disorders supported by high-quality scientific evidence


use of medications to treat psychological problems

electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

patients receive brief electrical pulses to the brain that produce a seizure to treat serious psychological problems


brain surgery to treat psychological problems

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