Frequently Asked Questions About Behavioral Activation For Depression

The connection between thoughts and behaviors has always fascinated me; that’s why I have wanted to become a psychologist for a long time. I wanted to study and know more about human behavior and understand their thoughts and actions. I want to go deeper into treating misbehaviors and know what triggers them. I knew early on that the best profession for me to explore that connection, so I worked hard to make sure that I could enter an exemplary psychology program in college.

When it happened, I felt like I had won the lottery. I was eager to prove to everyone that I was cut out to become a psychologist and be the best one in the field. However, I just realized that I would have to go through many practical activities before that. I was not aware of the challenges that I had to face because I was only focusing on the good sides of that dream. I never knew that it was going to be hard and exhausting at some point.

Dipping My Toes In The Psychology Pool

My first practical experience involved offering free counseling at the university hospital in my second year. It was a tradition for the students in our department to visit the hospital on campus and talk to patients and their loved ones. After all, many people with physical illnesses are prone to mental health issues, especially if they get diagnosed with a grave condition.

I honestly thought that this whole ordeal was easy, and soon I could get a hold of it. I thought that since my desire to become the best psychiatrist, I would only focus more of my attention, time, and energy on learning all about mental health. But apparently, I was wrong. There is so much about mental health conditions that I didn’t prepare myself for. I never thought that studying it would open new mental and emotional strains on me as well.


One of the first individuals I counseled was Jaimee, a 16-year-old girl with cystic fibrosis and ADHD. When I saw her, I initially thought she was much younger than that. Her body was so small, and she often needed a blood transfusion, but the way she snapped at her parents and some nurses in the ward made me realize that we were closer in age than I assumed.

The attending physician introduced me to Jaimee and her parents that day. I shook hands with the adults, but Jaimee did not even look at my extended hand. Despite that, I smiled at her. I might not have years of counseling experience, but I have enough knowledge about dealing with stubborn kids. I visited Jaimee in the ward twice a week and observed her behavior.

I quickly understood that Jaimee had to be pulled out of regular school because her illness required her to stay at home or in the hospital most of the time. Her snappy attitude was most likely not because she was evil but because she could not find a way out of her situation. She’s dealing with the emotional turmoil that not even her parents can explain. Of course, they tried to connect with her in all ways possible but unfortunately failed to do that.

I talked to her parents about it in private. I told them that perhaps Jaimee needs an expert to check up on her so they can know what she might be dealing with mentally. They agreed and decided to bring a psychologist to the ward to figure out Jaimee’s mental condition.

When Jaimee found out about it, she reacted violently. It was evident that she thought a psychological evaluation was for the “freaks” – her words, not mine. She was so against the idea of consulting a mental health professional because of the stigma. She has this ideology that mental health professionals will only take so much of her time and will not care to treat her. However, her father put his foot down and snapped back at her, causing Jaimee to shut up. She had no choice but to talk to the psychologist and answer any questions.

It turned out that Jaimee had depression. The diagnosis checked out, considering she had been dealing with cystic fibrosis for a long time. She was so anxious and concerned about her physical health that she could only express it through rage. She admitted that she was having negative thoughts and that she would die anytime soon. That fear took advantage of her and made her think that she was not going to recover from her situation. 

If I had to deal with an incurable disease, I would have been depressed, too. Nevertheless, it was no excuse for having an awful disposition in life. The psychologist eventually prescribed behavioral activation therapy to Jaimee.

What is behavioral activation therapy? 

 Behavioral activation is the end goal for most people getting cognitive-behavioral therapy. This treatment is mostly offered to depressed individuals who need help reducing their avoidant behavior.


What are behavioral activation strategies? 

  • Monitor behavioral changes on your own
  • Figure out what aspect of your life you want to change
  • Make sure that your loved ones will behave well around you.
  • Create a schedule of daily or weekly activities
  • Structure every activity you can think of
  • Learn problem-solving skills
  • Improve social skills
  • Arrange activities from the easiest to the most challenging
  • Embrace healthy actions
  • Think of how you can reward yourself

How does behavioral psychology treat depression? 

 Behavioral psychologists typically treat depression with the belief that it is a learned mental disorder, that it is not innate. Thus, they help sufferers unlearn their depressive symptoms.

What is the common use of behavioral activation? 

 Behavioral activation is commonly used for depression treatment. Just like cognitive therapy, it also works to help patients understand the connection between their thoughts and emotions. 

What is a behavioral technique? 

 A behavioral technique is used by therapists when they perform cognitive-behavioral therapy. One process involves gradually exposing patients to their fear but put in a safe environment to eventually learn to overcome this particular fear.

Is depression a learned behavior? 

 Yes, depression is a learned behavior, according to behavioral psychologists. However, some experts believe that depression is caused by a combination of stressors in an individual’s environment and a lack of personal coping skills.

Who needs cognitive behavioral therapy? 

 Cognitive-behavioral therapy is essential for people who deal with a broad range of mental disorders.

Who created behavioral activation? 

 Christopher Martell and the company created behavioral activation in 2001.


What kind of music is good for depression? 

 Rock is the primary genre that individuals listen to when they feel depressed. However, for a deep relaxed state and improved mood, and enhanced motivation, clothing and instrumental music are advisable. Also, pop music has strong and powerful lyrics and also helps with depression.

Is depression in the genes? 

 According to studies, 40% of people living with depression have this mental disorder because of genetics.

Is depression learned helplessness? 

 Yes, depression is learned helplessness, considering you experience stressful situations repeatedly.

What does Behavior Therapy treat? 


What happens in exposure therapy? 

 When you do exposure therapy, you can expect the therapist to simulate your fears and make you face them. The more you get exposed to your fears, the less you worry about them.

How successful is CBT in the treatment of social anxiety? 

 CBT is so successful in treating social anxiety that every patient tends to feel less anxious when the sessions are over.


What is activity scheduling?

Activity scheduling is a behavioral activation technique that encourages individuals to do more activities every day.

Final Thoughts

The psychologist happened to be a certified behavioral therapist so she could treat Jaimee. The original plan was for the psychologist to visit her at the hospital every week for the first two months, but Jaimee said that she did not feel like the environment there would help her. In the end, it was agreed that she could go to the psychologist’s office in the university. It would be a short walk from the hospital, so it could not take a toll on her health. 

When I visited Jaimee a few months after that, I was surprised to see her smiling at me. She was so different from the teenager that I met in the beginning. Gone was the dark aura surrounding her. Although Jaimee was still not allowed to go home anytime soon, she worked hard to stop feeling depressed about it. She even picked up two new hobbies – knitting and chess – which made her feel productive.



What are the 3 basic approaches to treating depression?
What behavioral factors facilitate depression?
How does the behavioral activation system work?
Is behavioral activation effective?
What are good activities for people with depression?



An Art Therapy Discussion: What is Art Therapy?

Art Therapy – A Creative Process

Who would have thought that one’s negative emotions, some trauma symptoms, and several mental health conditions can be alleviated through the effectiveness of art therapy? Mental health professionals have long recognized the use of art materials as a form of therapy and human development. This article discusses art therapy. But what is art therapy and how do certified art therapists work on patients’ psychological symptoms, anxiety disorders, and other mental health conditions through applied psychological theory principles and creative expression?

Art Therapy: Art therapy is beneficial. Try art therapy.


Can it be a form of treating mental illness, aid in the improvement of self-esteem and self-expression through active art-making, or complement a particular medical treatment? How can it become effective? How is art therapy helpful for mental disorders? Can art therapy classes or creative arts therapy programs help various conditions? Can art therapy benefit children and teens? What entails art therapy sessions? Let us learn and know more information about it.

Yes, according to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy does work. It is a form of treatment that I learned about in my college years. It helped me get through those rigorous weeks and gave me something to wake up for – that is how art therapists work. Without the treatment process that I went through using creative techniques and other expressive arts therapies, I may have given up on my career. It helped me develop self-awareness and coping skills to tackle mental and emotional stress. Not too surprisingly, art therapy turns out to be ideal for ADHD and even post-traumatic stress disorder patients, too.

A credentialed art therapist or professional art therapist is trained and qualified to provide art therapy services to clients. Art therapy can be offered in a variety of settings, including private practice and wellness centers. Art therapy works in helping individuals improve their mood, reduce stress, and process difficult emotions.

Even simple tasks like putting on an outfit or listening to class can be a little bit frustrating for people experiencing ADHD. To cope, art education and creative therapies became a part of the treatment plan. Personal development through the help of a certified art therapist was shown to alleviate ADHD symptoms, which led to more positive life experiences.

Therapy 101: Art Therapy Discussion

What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy uses the approach of sculpting, finger painting, drawing, and other forms of art-making as a way to improve the well-being of those with ADHD and those with other mental health problems. It is usually used in children who are often guided by a board-certified art therapist. The concept behind it is self-expression and self-awareness of artistic talent which can be a tool to provide help in solving a variety of complicated emotional problems, reduce stress, improve social skills and body image, and manage behavior properly. It is healing through a therapeutic process because it forces you to form a connection between your mind and your body.

An individual does not need to be a professional artist or have a degree in art therapy to use it. It is a branch of integrative mental health, although art therapy may be mediated better with a registered art therapist.

“In art therapy, the focus is on the process of creating and, to a lesser extent, on the final product,” says Kathryn Rudlin, LCSW.  “Creating is the primary initial focus, increased self-understanding usually comes later.”


Art Therapy: Art therapy for kids. Art therapy is fun.


Why Should You Choose Art Therapy?

British artist Adrian Hill created the term art therapy in 1942 while recovering from tuberculosis in a sanatorium.  He wrote that the value of art therapy or creative therapies lay in “completely engrossing the mind (as well as the fingers)…releasing the creative energy of the frequently inhibited patient”. That began his art therapy work, which was documented in 1945 in his book, Art Versus Illness. Hill worked tirelessly to promote and share this healing process. He eventually became president of the British Association of Art Therapists, founded in 1964, and in 1968 Hill was elected president of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters.

But to become an art therapist, individuals must typically complete a graduate-level art therapy program and obtain professional credentials. Once they have gained professional credentials, art therapists may work in a variety of settings, including independent practices. Art therapy practice involves the use of art materials and techniques to help clients express and process emotions, reduce stress, and promote overall well-being

Therapy: Does Art Therapy Work?

There is science in art therapy, and neuroscience allowed experts to have a deeper understanding of the process. Each time an individual places a brush on a paper, he or she is already engaging in decision-making and problem-solving. This action stimulates neuropathways which activate various parts of the brain. He is utilizing the art therapy treatment.


Art Therapy: art therapy and crayons. Art is therapeutic.


Other things which trigger the neuropathways are kinesthetics and sensory experiences. Actions like touch, movement, sound, and visuals fall under this category. For example, working with wet clay is considered art-making and enables an individual to use intensive motor skills. It awakens all the senses and releases tension.

Typical art therapy usually involves several combinations of structured projects. This treatment program helps the child develop different skills, work through intense emotions, resolve inner conflicts, and improve self-esteem.

“Eighty percent of sensory stimuli enter through our eyes and goes into our brains where it is retained visually, nonverbally. Most of us think, feel, and recall memories not in words but in imagery. These images become a verbal language when we attempt to communicate what is going on in our mind to someone else,” shares Marianne Gontarz, MSW, LCSW.

Art Therapy: Create Art For Mental Health

An art therapy session is simple. However, those who will spearhead these projects – often art therapy professionals – should make sure that the emotions will be touched when implementing these activities.


Art Therapy: Art therapy activity


  • The Scribbles Arts Therapy

Scribbles is a popular technique in art therapy that enables a child to release stress and pour down emotions in a balanced manner throughout the creative process. It starts by folding a piece of paper in half. Art therapists then instruct the patient to scribble on one side of the paper using his dominant hand. Afterward, he or she must then scribble on the other side while using the non-dominant hand. This has been shown to yield therapeutic benefits.

“Similar to dream interpretation, there is no secret formula to reading another person’s art. You have to ask the person questions about their drawing in order to be able to figure out what a picture means,” explains Drena Fagen, LCSW, LCAT, ATR-BC.

  • Worries

Parents might sometimes wonder what a child’s problems are. Art therapy helps address that. At the start of this therapeutic process, the patient will be asked to write down a current problem he or she is facing. This can be done in words (through poems) or drawing (through abstract art) – either way, there is art created. After making it, he or she will then be asked to tear the paper using both hands. Parents, afterward, are required to talk about the artwork by sharing pieces of advice on how to solve their worries. This technique definitely helps improve one’s mental well-being.


Art Therapy: Mandala Art Therapy


  • Mandalas – Colorful Art Therapy

A mandala is an artwork comprised of a circle with a pattern sitting in the middle. Some sessions start with art therapists asking their patients to create and design their mandalas. This creative process helps promote focus and release calm energy. This is also considered both art and fashion.

  • Coloring Sheet

Another art therapy technique to release stress is creating art coloring sheets. Using a black marker, a patient is asked to draw a scribble while they close their eyes. Afterward, he/she must color every section of the scribble with different colors.

Art Therapy: Few Therapy Reminders And Takeaways To Consider

Individuals with ADHD may really have difficulty expressing themselves. Using art therapy only proves that for someone with this disability, a picture may indeed be worth more than a thousand words.


What is considered art therapy?

Is art therapy the same as psychotherapy?

What are the 3 uses of art therapy?

Does art therapy actually work?

Who is suitable for art therapy?

How does art therapy affect the brain?

Can an art therapist diagnose?

What qualifications do you need for art therapy?

How can I do art therapy at home?

How is art therapy done?

What does art therapy do for people?

Is art as therapy effective?

How is art therapy healing?

Who would benefit from art therapy?

Does art make life better?


Ways To Teach Meditation To ADHD Children


Early in life, children are exposed to numerous things and scenarios that usually result in increased level of stress, restlessness, and anxiety at a young age. It is a known fact that meditation is a great tool to find solace and balance despite the hectic schedule of everyday life. The question is how you encourage your children to practice meditation regularly.  

Continue reading “Ways To Teach Meditation To ADHD Children”

ADHD Interventions

There has been a lot of research conducted on the treatment of childhood and Adult ADHD.  Numerous studies have been conducted on a variety of treatment options.  For one there are different types of counseling that can can be offered in person or online, depending on the experience level of the pool of therapists you plan on making your selection from. There are three that have been proven to be effective in individuals that struggle with ADHD.  These are behavioral therapy, taking medications, and doing both together.  There is no treatment that has been shown to change the outcome of whether an individual will have ADHD.  In other words, there is no cure.  Individuals with ADHD are wired in a different way.  For this reason, it is important to remember that this means they learn in a different way.  Here are some of the different treatment options for both children and adults struggling with ADHD and a little about each one.

Continue reading “ADHD Interventions”

Alternative Treatments To ADHD



Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral and mental condition that generally affects young children and adults alike. It is characterized by hyperactive behavior, lack of focus and concentration, and problems with retaining memories. The most common and widely accepted treatment modalities for ADHD include cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, and pharmacological management.

Continue reading “Alternative Treatments To ADHD”

Co-Existing Mood Disorders In Children With ADHD




Two-thirds of people with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) will be diagnosed with a co-existing condition. Most children diagnosed with such a condition will have a behavioral disorder, but around 18% of them will have mood disorders. Anxiety and depression are the most frequently diagnosed mood disorders in children with ADHD. These conditions can be caused by the frustrations of having to live with the symptoms of ADHD or they could be a coexisting mood disorder. Other common mood disorders include bipolar disorder, learning disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette Syndrome and substance abuse.

Continue reading “Co-Existing Mood Disorders In Children With ADHD”

Alternative Therapies For ADHD Children



ADHD And Medications

Parents and guardians of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder have been used to the usual therapies that are widely accepted and recommended by doctors and occupational therapists. These are behavioral therapy and medications. As the number of children diagnosed with ADHD has increased through the years, so has the number of drugs that have been prescribed for them. Medications such as Adderall (a stimulant) and atomoxetine (a non-stimulant) are effective in helping ADHD children focus and ignore distractions, but they also pose some dangerous side effects like loss of appetite, mood changes, heart problems, suicide ideations, and sleep problems.

Consequently, researchers have come up with a few essential alternative therapies that are capable of controlling some ADHD symptoms like difficulty focusing, habitual interrupting, and problems organizing. Here are some of the therapies and measures that parents and guardians can utilize.

Continue reading “Alternative Therapies For ADHD Children”