Bobbi Hoadley

The treatment of depression and depressive disorders invariably includes some kind of behaviour change procedure. Often the treatment will be delivered in a “train and hope” model which can be effective for those persons who have demonstrated good behavioural skills in the past. Those skills include pro-social behaviours, self-soothing behaviours, and resilience behaviours. Eliciting those formerly practiced skill is an excellent solution for episodic depression due to life events or specific trauma - when it works.

Sometimes the helpless or hopelessness that accompanies depression is overwhelming, particularly if it is recurring or accompanies other disorders such as post-traumatic stress (PTSD). Depressed emotional behaviours disable the behaviours of initiation and motivation, and sometimes lead to collateral behaviours like anxiety. In those instances the typical treatments sometimes fail to offer relief for any length of time. That kind of failure can deepen the sense of helpless or hopelessness and create a chronic problem.

The rat race can be interrupted and individuals can get an effective kick-start with individualized behaviour support, based on a Functional Analysis of Behaviour. Targeting an individual’s depressed behaviour with behavioural activation, offers hope and optimism for long-term or chronic suffering from depression.

Behaviour change supports include the practice of replacement behaviours that appeal specifically to the person. Additionally, we support the building of new behaviours that prevent recurrence. All focused on the end goal of behavioural activation that is self-generated for recovery. Depressive episodes often reoccur but when the tools are effective and in the hands of the person suffering then the episodes decrease in intensity and duration, finally going away altogether.

You can read more evidence of the effectiveness of ABA as a treatment for depression in  this research article on Behaviour Activation.