BA

Behavioral activation (BA) can be used alone or in conjunction with other evidence-based psychotherapies. The aim of BA is to change a person’s mood by enhancing their activities and behaviors. Depressed people often become trapped in a vicious cycle in which they withdraw or avoid previously pleasurable activities or no longer participate in activities that give them a sense of accomplishment. The more they withdraw the less they feel their life is rewarding, and they may sink lower into a depression. BA “activates” people to help them break out of this vicious cycle. The goal to is to enhance a person’s daily activities, structure, sense of accomplishment, and ultimately mood. For example, a person with depression may avoid going out to lunch with friends, leaving them more isolated and less able to experience social contact, warmth and support. BA helps patients recognize what activities have fallen away, and helps them re-establish a pattern of more rewarding activities. As they experience more rewarding activities their depression begins to lift.