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date: 30 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Behavior therapy is heterogeneous and parallels what Wittgenstein called “family resemblances,” as it is impossible to delineate necessary or sufficient definitional criteria for what constitutes behavior therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy. Since its infancy, behavior therapy has been sometimes associated with one or more forms of behaviorism, the basic learning and/or cognitive principles, and a grab bag of practical ideas, as well as the varieties of problems it endeavors to solve, among many other complex relations. Behavior therapy has become increasingly intricate as it matures and, to some extent, has developed into what Kuhn (2001) termed “micro-communities.” Subcommunities within behavior therapy employ different concepts, point to various influences, utilize different research methodologies, prioritize different problems, and incorporate diverse clinical strategies into routine practice. This chapter provides a general overview of the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of behavior therapy.

Keywords: classical conditioning, operant conditioning, behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, philosophy of science, scientific revolution, logical positivism, falsificationism, methodological anarchism

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