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date: 26 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Considered a third-wave behavior therapy, behavioral activation is a therapeutic process emphasizing structured attempts to increase overt behaviors likely to bring patients into contact with reinforcing environmental contingencies and corresponding improvements in thoughts, mood, and quality of life. In the past two decades, behavioral activation has emerged as an empirically supported treatment for depression that has effectively been provided to patients with diverse clinical presentations and in multiple therapeutic contexts. This chapter focuses on providing a brief historical context of behavioral activation, a description of the principles and procedures underlying contemporary behavioral activation therapies, a review of assessment strategies particularly relevant to this approach, a comprehensive analysis of treatment outcome studies, and a presentation of limitations and future directions that need to be addressed to further solidify the status of behavioral activation as an effective and feasible approach to treating clinical depression and other mental health problems.

Keywords: behavioral activation, behavior principles, assessment, treatment outcome review, clinical depression

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