Clinical Psychology - AARBA


prof. Roberto Truzoli

MPhil, PhD, Psychotherapist, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Milan, Luigi Sacco Hospital
Phone +29 02 50319729

Behavior analysis is the scientific study of principles of learning and behavior. Two primary areas of study include the experimental analysis of behavior and applied behavior analysis.

Clinical Behavior Analysis (CBA) is a clinical application of behavior analysis. CBA represents a movement in behavior therapy away from methodological behaviorism and back toward radical behaviorism. As with all behavior therapy, clinical behavior analysis relies on a functional analysis of problem behavior.
Those who practice behaviour therapy tend to look at specific, learned behaviours and how the environment influences those behaviours. Behaviour therapy based its core interventions on functional analysis. Just a few of the many problems that behaviour therapy have functionally analysed include intimacy in couples relationships, forgiveness in couples, chronic pain, anorexia, chronic distress, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, insomnia, brain injuries, enuresis, obsessive-compulsive disorder, medical compliance in people with illnesses, behavioral problems associated with mental illness, repetitive habits such as nail biting and trichtotillamania and obesity.

Behavioral activation (BA) is a behavior therapy for treating depression. It is one of many functional analytic psychotherapies which are based on a Skinnerian psychological model of behavior change. The theoretical underpinnings of behavioral activation for depression is Charles Ferster’s functional analysis of depression.

Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP) is a psychotherapeutic approach based on radical behaviorism that focuses on the therapeutic relationship as a means to maximize client change. FAP was first conceptualized in the 1980s by psychologists Robert Kohlenberg and Mavis Tsai. Behavioral principles (e.g., reinforcement, generalization) form the basis of FAP. Integrative behavioral couples therapy developed from dissatisfaction with traditional behavioral couples therapy.

Integrative behavioral couples therapy looks to Skinner for the difference between contingency shaped and rule-governed behavior.

Community Reinforcement Approach and Family Training is a model first developed by Nathan H. Azrin and Hunt. The model focuses on the use of functional behavioral assessment to reduce drinking behavior.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy was created by Marsha Linehan. The model attempts to balance acceptance and change. It focuses on the use of behavior chain analysis, which combines the process of functional analysis with a greater focus on each element in the behavior stream.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Its development co-occurred with that of relational frame theory, with several researchers such as Steven C Hayes.

Suggested books

  • Behavioral Activation – The CBT Distinctive Features Series, written by J. W. Kanter, A. M. Busch, and L. C. Rusch (2009) 
  • Functional analytic psychotherapy: A guide for creating intense and curative therapeutic relationships, written by R. J. Kohlenberg, and M. Tsai (1991)
  • Behaviour therapy, written by M. M. Antony and E. Roemer (2003) inside Essential psychotherapies of A. S. Gurman amd S. B. Messer (2nd ed. pp. 182-223)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder, written by M. Linehan (1993)
  • Suggested articles

    • Clinical behavior analysis: where it went wrong, how it was made good again, and why its future is so bright written by R. J. Kohlenberg, M. Y. Bolling, J. W. Kanter, and C. R. Parker. The Behavior Analyst Today, Volume 3, N. 3 2002, pp. 248-253. (Read the article)
    • Introduction to the special section on clinical behavior analysis written by D. W. Woods, R. G. Miltenberger, and J. E. Carr. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Volume 39, N. 4 2006, pp. 407-411. (Read the article)
    • An introduction to relational frame theory: basics and applications written by J. T. Blackledge. The Behavior Analyst Today, Volume 3, N. 4 2003, pp. 421-433. (Read the article)
    • A functional analysis of depression written by C. B. Fester. American Psychologist, Volume 28, N. 10 1973, pp. 857-870. (Read the article)
    • Effectiveness of a cognitive-behavioral group intervention for comorbid anxiety and mood disorders in partially responder outpatients written by R. Truzoli, C. Rovetta, M. Romanò, C. Viganò, and G. Ba. Activitas Nervosa Superior Rediviva, Volume 57, N. 4 2015, pp. 89-97. (Read the article)
    • Behavioral activation treatment for depression: returning to contextual roots written by N. S. Jacobson, C. R. Martell, and S. Dimidjian. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, Volume 8, N. 3 2001, pp. 255-270. (Read the article)
    • The role of verbal conditioning in third generation behavior therapy written by J. Catulli, T. C. Riley-Tillman, S. Axelrod, and P. Hineline. The Behavior Analyst Today, Volume 6, N. 2 2005, pp. 137-146. (Read the article)