Behavior therapists work in clinics and assist with the treatment of various mental disorders using behavioral techniques. They may work with different types of clients, but individuals this position often deal with children who have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Behavior therapists may also be found in schools and substance abuse clinics, where they use behavioral therapies to help people find alternatives and strategies for dealing with substance abuse. Individuals in this position may work with a client one on one; however, they often also work with the patient’s family members to help the family members learn how to best interact with the client and support their growth.
Many behavior therapists have their own practices, which allows some flexibility in scheduling; many behavior therapists set their own hours. However, to accommodate patient needs, many behavior therapists work nights, weekends, and after hours. Hours required may vary depending on the therapist and their individual clients. Sometimes behavior therapists work in teams as well. Behavior therapists generally work most closely with their patients; however, some work in clinics or medical facilities and interface with doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel.
This position generally requires at minimum a master's degree in a related field, but a Ph.D is typically preferred . The behavior therapist spends much of their time communicating with patients, so good interpersonal skills are a must. Excellent written and oral communication skills are required as well. A behavior therapist must be supportive and nonjudgmental. Some travel may be required.
Behavior Therapist Tasks
Devise appropriate and individual treatment plans to individuals or groups of patients.
Evaluate and document patients' progress.
Provide treatment to patients with techniques to modify and replace behaviors in a home, community, or clinic environment.