What are third generation therapies?

It is believed that, throughout his life, one in four people will suffer from some form of mental disorder, The most common are those related to anxiety and depression. The treatment of these problems and disorders can be approached in multiple ways starting from psychology, one of the most common being the use of behavior modification techniques.

Within these techniques, the use of third generation therapies is increasingly common, Which modify behavior by working on aspects such as the patient’s relationship to the problem and the context in which the subject lives.

    Behavior modification therapies

    When we talk about third generation therapies, we are talking about one of the newer types of behavior therapy, developed with the limitations of its predecessors in mind. To understand what they are, we must first remember what a behavioral technique or therapy is.

    The person with a mental disorder often experiences profound discomfort resulting from the realization or the effects of performing patterns of behavior and thought that do not serve them effectively in explaining or interacting with the world, resulting in a poorly adaptive behavior and limited vision. at work and / or thinking.

    Behavioral or behavior modification techniques are based on the idea that it is possible to modify a person’s behavioral and cognitive patterns by applying different techniques based on learning. If the past is taken into account when analyzing how the current situation was reached, the work to be done focuses on current problems and symptoms and how to change them.

    Modifying these patterns or acquiring others will allow the subject can behave more adaptively, struggle and cope with symptoms of their problem in a more or less direct way and allowing the relief of the suffering of the subject and the optimization of his capacities and functions as a human being.

      What are third generation therapies?

      Third Generation Therapies or the Third Wave of Behavioral Therapies is that set of therapies and treatments created for the purpose of performing a modification of the patient’s behavior but of a global approach and close to the person rather than to the problem, taking into account the patient’s experience of their problem and how the social and cultural context made their behavior inappropriate.

      Unlike other behavior modification techniques, third generation therapies rely on the power of context and dialogue to achieve this modification through acceptance of the problem by both patient and patient.

      their goals

      The main objective of this type of therapy it is about changing the way the treated individual perceives the problem, Without attempting extreme control or suppressing their behaviors as if they were something they were ashamed of – but helping them to observe and rethink the relationship between those behaviors and the functionality given to them, as well as their own connection. to its usual functioning, modifying from acceptance.

      In other words, the need arises to see the treatment not as a fight against the symptoms, but as a vital reorientation that makes it possible to bring about significant, real and permanent changes.

      Third generation therapies they make up for some of the shortcomings of their predecessors, Such as lack of focus on specific aspects of treatment that produce improvement, inducing rigid behaviors which in turn may be inappropriate, and little attention given to the patient’s usual communication context, as well as to perception of one’s own suffering.

        Some relevant aspects of these therapies

        Third generation therapies have a number of own characteristics of great interest in the treatment of psychological problems.

        First, they consider that an individual’s behavior is not fully explicable if its context is not taken into account. If treatment is reduced to treating symptoms directly without taking into account the variables that make the behavior useful or necessary for the patient, generalization of treatment in real life will be difficult for the individual being treated.

        Another aspect to consider is that third generation therapies they take into account the modulating influence of languageThe fact that what others tell us and the feedback they give us about our behavior will make us see the behaviors performed in one way or another.

        The therapeutic relationship

        The fact that third generation therapies they give a fundamental role to the therapeutic relationship.

        Although this is common to all or almost all types of existing psychological therapies, in the case of third generation therapies this relationship is seen as an element or instrument of change in itself, as a communicative and social interaction occurs. which can modify behavior directly or indirectly. Other types of therapy, although they consider the therapeutic relationship to be fundamental, see it more as the means by which the patient applies the techniques and not as something which produces a modification in itself.

        Beyond the symptoms

        Finally, and as we have already seen above, treatment from third generation therapies involves working with deep aspects of the person, go beyond the presence of symptoms to act on subjectivity and personal perception so that one can act on aspects such as vital goals, self-perception or feelings and emotions caused by both problematic situations and other vital circumstances that may have led to the disorder .

        Three third-generation therapies

        While they are not the only ones (there are also others like mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, behavioral activation therapy or couples integrated behavior therapy), here are three brief examples of third generation.

        Functional analytical therapy

        this therapy focuses on the functional analysis of behavior patterns, Explore not only the problematic behavior but the goal has the behavior and that other behaviors are performed for the same purpose and with special emphasis on the therapeutic relationship and verbal communication, while taking into account that the behavior is determined by a large number of variables.

        This is help the client identify clinically relevant behaviors, Help analyze what is behind it, induce these adaptive and alternative behaviors, genuinely reinforce those that involve improvement and help give an explanation and interpretation to the behavior so that it can be applied to other vital contexts.

        Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

        This technique is one of the best known of the third generation therapies, its main objective being to help the patient to discover for himself the fundamental values ​​of the patient and to help him to accept the evil of the search for a happy life. It mainly focuses on work on values ​​without evading or pathologizing suffering.

        Through self-acceptance, observing what we think and the beliefs these thoughts cause in us and focusing on the present seeks to guide the patient to become involved and commit to following their own values ​​independently of what society dictates, to live like a cross to live.

        Dialectical behavior therapy

        Another of the best-known third-generation therapies, Dialectical Behavior Therapy was designed to helping patients with severe emotional problems who the incite self-destructive behaviors, such as self-harm or suicide attempts.

        Currently, one of the therapies of choice to treat borderline personality disorder, is based on the acceptance and validation of the patient’s suffering to work dialectically and through various modules the control and management of extreme emotions. and unstable. it helps the patient to trust their emotions and thoughts and to find the factors that make you want to move on and improve their skills in emotional self-regulation, discomfort tolerance, self-observation and interpersonal management.

        Bibliographical references:

        • Ametller, MT (2012). Psychotherapies. CEDE PIR preparation manual, 06. CEDE: Madrid.
        • Hayes, SC (2004). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Relational Framework Theory and Third Wave of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. Behavioral therapy, 35, 639 – 665.
        • Mañas, I. (sf). New Psychological Therapies: The Third Wave of Behavioral Therapies or Third Generation Therapies. Psychology Gazette, 40; 26-34. University of Almeria.

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