Behavioral activation is a specific treatment that is in the family of CBTs, as well as one part of the broader CBT approach in the treatment of depression. It is based on the notion that one important feature of depression is the lack of participation in rewarding activities, which deprives a person of the opportunity to obtain joy, pleasure, and a sense of accomplishment from available sources in our lives.
Providers who deliver behavioral activation help clients to develop a sense of their daily lives that lack a sense of joy, pleasure, accomplishment, or meaning and to work toward more actively engaging in activities that would provide these experiences. To accomplish this aim, providers often help clients to clarify their values, or what is important to them, and to problem solve obstacles that arise in enacting these activities.
Research shows that behavioral activation alone is just as effective as antidepressant medication in treating depression.
You can read more about behavioral activation from these sources:
- From psychologytools.com: https://www.psychologytools.com/self-help/behavioral-activation/
- From our esteemed colleague, Christopher Martell: https://www.christophermartell.com/ba.php