Behavior therapy is a technique in psychotherapy where the therapist seeks to describe the patient's behavior and understand it as a result of the patient's emotions and how the patient perceives the world around them. "Behaviorists" tend to see many behaviors as learned, rather than innate, and are usually a response to the patient's environment, both in the past and in the present. They try to track a patient's progress through therapy using objective criteria rather than the subjective perception of either the therapist or the patient. It uses a wide range of techniques tailored to each individual patient, but two of the most common are relaxation (to deal with anxiety) and desensitization. It is frequently used for patients suffering from phobias, in patients with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, in patients with eating disorders, and in addicts.
Issues with personality are perceived in behavior therapy as the sum of a patient's learned behaviors, and not as an independent construct.
Therapy usually starts by fully assessing the patient, generally by using standardized tests. This establishes a baseline for the patient against which progress can be measured, such as feelings of anxiety when exposed to a phobia. Modern technologies such as virtual reality allow the patient to be exposed to dangerous situations while keeping the patient completely safe, such as dealing with a fear of heights.
Clinical studies have shown behavior therapy to be effective for many patients, and it compares favorably to treatment with medication.
One of the methods of behavior therapy used in the episode Broken was the awarding of "privileges" to patients who agree to follow the treatment plan of their attending physician.