Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy are types of treatment that are based firmly on research findings. These approaches aid people in achieving specific changes or goals.
Changes or goals might involve:
A way of acting: like smoking less or being more outgoing;
A way of feeling: like helping a person to be less scared, less depressed, or less anxious;
A way of thinking: like learning to problem-solve or get rid of self-defeating thoughts;
A way of dealing with physical or medical problems: like lessening back pain or helping a person stick to a doctor’s suggestions.
Behavior Therapists and Cognitive Behavior Therapists usually focus more on the current situation and its solution, rather than the past.
They concentrate on a person’s views and beliefs about their life, not on personality traits.
Behavior Therapists and Cognitive Behavior Therapists treat individuals, parents, children, couples, and families.
Replacing ways of living that do not work well with ways of living that work, and giving people more control over their lives, are common goals of behavior and cognitive behavior therapy.
HOW TO GET HELP:
If you are looking for help, either for yourself or someone else, you may be tempted to call someone who advertises in a local publication or who comes up from a search of the Internet.
You may, or may not, find a competent therapist in this manner.
It is wise to check on the credentials of a psychotherapist.
It is expected that competent therapists hold advanced academic degrees.
They should be listed as members of professional organizations, such as the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies or the American Psychological Association.
Of course, they should be licensed to practice in your state.
You can find competent specialists who are affiliated with local universities or mental health facilities or who are listed on the websites of professional organizations.
You may, of course, visit our website (www.abct.org) and click on "Find a CBT Therapist"
The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) is an interdisciplinary organization committed to the advancement of a scientific approach to the understanding and amelioration of problems of the human condition.
These aims are achieved through the investigation and application of behavioral, cognitive, and other evidence-based principles to assessment, prevention, and treatment.
The first known cases of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
(AIDS) were identified in 1981. During that year, fewer than 20
cases of AIDS were diagnosed. By 1992, nearly 250,000 Americans
had been diagnosed with AIDS. The Center for Disease Control estimates
that between 1 and 1.5 million people in the United States
currently have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, the
cause of AIDS. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is worldwide. It is believed
that up to 10 million people have been infected.
What Is the Relation Between HIV Infection and AIDS?
Individuals who are infected with HIV have few symptoms of illness
and do not appear ill. During this early stage, HIV infection
can be detected through blood testing. People who have HIV antibodies
(“HIV positive”) carry the virus and can transmit it to others.
Those whose antibody test is negative (“HIV negative”) generally
do not have HIV infection, although several months are
required for persons
Following initial infection, HIV begins attacking and destroying
the immune system and parts of the nervous system. As this
process continues, the body is progressively less able to defend
against a number of different infections and illnesses. Eventually,
persons with HIV infection and compromised immune systems
become susceptible to life-threatening opportunistic
It is becoming more common to view HIV illness as an entire
spectrum ranging from initial infection to major illness development.
The length of time between initial HIV infection and the
onset of major illness varies greatly. While some individuals develop
serious illness quickly, others have had HIV for over 10 years
and remain in good health. The average time between initial HIV
infection and an AIDS diagnosis is 7 years. While there is currently
no cure for either AIDS or HIV infection, early medical treatments
can manage some HIV-related illness and help persons remain in
better health for considerably longer periods than in the past.
How Is HIV Transmitted?
Unlike airborne viruses that cause colds or flu, HIV is constrained
in certain body fluids, chiefly blood, semen, vaginal secretions,
and breast milk. Body fluids such as saliva, urine, tears, or
perspiration do not contain HIV at levels that pose risk for transmission.
For HIV transmission to occur, the virus in infected blood,
semen, or vaginal secretions must enter the bloodstream of another
person. This can take place during:
sexual intercourse with an infected partner;
when blood or blood traces from an infected person are injected;
when an infected woman transmits the virus to her fetus.
All cases of AIDS have been due to one of the above three
methods of exposure.
There have been no cases of AIDS attributed to ordinary social
contact with an infected person. Household members who live
with and care for AIDS
Who Is at Risk for HIV Infection?
In the United States, the majority of AIDS cases have occurred
among gay or bisexual men (approximately 60% of all cases) and
users of intravenous drugs (24%). Approximately 6% of AIDS
cases in America are caused by contact with an infected partner
during heterosexual activities.The remainder of cases have
occurred among hemophiliacs, blood transfusion recipients, and
children who acquired HIV from their infected mothers. In some
other areas of the world, HIV is almost always contracted through
heterosexual activities and is unrelated to homosexual behavior or
to intravenous drug use.
Because AIDS lags years behind initial HIV infection, AIDS
cases diagnosed today tell us where the HIV infection epidemic
has been but not necessarily where it is going. While gay men and
intravenous drug users will continue to be affected by AIDS,
because HIV is already common in those groups, HIV infection is
increasing in the heterosexual population, especially in cities.
In this “second wave,” the people with an increased risk for
HIV infection are those who are also at risk for unwanted or
teenage pregnancies, “traditional” sexually transmitted diseases
such as syphilis, gonorrhea, and genital herpes, and initiation of
drug use. These behaviors and AIDS risk behaviors are similar.
The key to curbing the AIDS epidemic is slowing the spread of
new HIV infections.
Risk Groups or Risk Behaviors?
While it has been traditional to classify AIDS cases based on
“risk group” status (such as gay men or intravenous drug users), it
is a person’s behavior, rather than identity, which brings risk for
AIDS or affords protection for it. Gay men who do not engage in
high-risk behavior are at no risk for AIDS, while heterosexual persons
who engage in frequent high-risk behavior are at increased
vulnerability. The aim of AIDS prevention efforts is to help individuals
change risk-producing aspects of their behavior. These
risk-reduction changes include:
Avoiding sexual contact with multiple partners or, if sexually active (with multiple partners or with a single high-risk partner), consistently and correctly using latex condoms to afford barrier protection from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases;
Refraining from sexual activities that permit transmissions of HIV, including unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse if one is sexually active and not monogamous;
Avoiding the start of injected drug use or, if already a drug user, seeking treatment for drug abuse and refraining from exchange, sharing, or re-use of needles;
Cleaning of syringes, using bleach agents that kill HIV;
Presuming that any potential new sexual or drug use partner could have HIV infection; and
Maintaining safer behavior patterns consistently over time and avoiding lapses into high-risk behavior.
Over the past few years, public understanding about AIDS has
increased greatly. Numerous surveys indicate that most Americans
have become knowledgeable about how HIV is contracted and how
risk can be lessened. Unfortunately, the same surveys indicate that
many people still hold the incorrect belief that HIV can be contracted
through ordinary social or workplace contact with AIDS
patients, a misconception that contributes to unwarranted discrimination
AIDS has taken a great toll in the short time it has been with
us. At present, prevention represents the best— and the only —
available means to curb the increase in future AIDS cases. Much is
already known about ways to help people adopt more healthful
behavior patterns, from exercise and fitness to smoking cessation
to using seat belts.
Other established areas of behavior therapy — such as refusal
assertiveness training, teaching problem-solving skills to handle
conflicts or peer pressure, and teaching self-management of risk
urges — can also be applied to the fight against AIDS. The challenge
of AIDS prevention is to creatively apply what we already
know about behavior change to the difficult task of helping people
reduce their risk for contracting HIV infection.
For more information or to find a therapist:
Please feel free to photocopy or reproduce this fact sheet, noting that this fact sheet was writen and produced by ABCT. You may also link directly to our site and/or to the
from which you took this fact sheet