Behavior Therapy

Marsha Linehan – Refreshingly blunt, outside the box, and extremely effective in helping some of the most troubled individuals, she created her own Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) which builds on her training as a behavioral therapist along with mindfulness skills she learned as a Zen master.

Linehan, M. M. (2014). DBT skills training handouts and worksheets. New York: Guildford Press.

Linehan, M. M. (2020). Building a life worth living: A memoir. New York: Random House.

Functional Behavior Analysis (FBA) – Behavior Therapy has come a long way since Pavlov’s dogs (classical conditioning) and B. F. Skinner’s operant conditioning. Those scientists and many others paved the way for an analysis or assessment called the Functional Behavior Analysis (FBA). This assessment analyzes behaviors and gives a concise and helpful introduction to behavior therapy like none else I’ve seen. The FBA focuses on learning the function or purpose of a person’s behavior before trying to modify that behavior. It is also a mechanism to do a detailed study of what precedes a specific behavior and what happens after the behavior occurs; this is done for the purpose of understanding the function of a behavior and then promoting a behavior change or modification.

While the FBA is used most often in public schools to help special education students or those with frequent disruptive behavior, I believe it would be helpful for all educators and parents to have a basic understanding of the FBA. Insights into causes of a specific behavior, its functions, and the consequences of that behavior would give everyone a greater ability to deal with and modify specific behaviors. There are a vast number of resources available on the web. Here is one free tool I found helpful:

Making better sense of behavior using functional behavior assessment. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Note: I could find no single person or group to credit for this tool. Perhaps that is because it was developed over a long period of time with many contributors from the field of behavioral psychology.


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