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Brief Behavior Therapy: Discover the Power of It

February 27, 2024

6 min read

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Author : United We Care
Clinically approved by : Dr.Vasudha
Brief Behavior Therapy: Discover the Power of It


Brief behavior therapy, or BBT, is a revised form of psychotherapy. It originated from a popular branch of therapy called “Cognitive Behavior Therapy” or CBT. Both CBT and BBT are based on the principle that changes in behavior and thought lead to improvement in symptoms.

Conventional psychotherapy and CBT are time-consuming and not easy to apply in hospital settings. BBT was developed to address this. BBT can be easily administered by professionals in a very short period. In recent years, brief behavior therapy has developed wide-reaching implications. Below, we discuss how BBT is helpful and more advantageous than other forms of psychotherapy. 

What Is Brief Behavior Therapy?

Essentially, BBT works on the principles of stimulus control, exposure, and modification, similar to CBT. Even though CBT garnered a reputation as the go-through form of psychotherapy, there were a few challenges and issues in its applicability. These issues led to the development of brief behavior therapy. 

In particular, brief behavior therapy is much shorter and more specific than other forms of psychotherapy. In BBT, the candidate need not go through the entire 12 or more sessions found within psychotherapy. Rather, in just 2 – 4 sessions, the patient can understand and work on individual aspects of a disorder or illness. 

Even though BBT is a recent addition to several different types of talk therapy, it has been found to have effectiveness. Due to its far-reaching applicability in clinical setups, it is slowly becoming prevalent. However, we need more awareness to understand where and when it is needed. 

Why Does Anyone Need Brief Behavior Therapy?

With the advancement of therapeutic interventions in psychiatry and psychotherapy, you will wonder why BBT was introduced. Also, another concern that you will have is, who exactly does BBT benefit and how? Let’s approach these concerns one by one.

Brief Behavior Therapy?

Shorter Duration 

One of the biggest drawbacks of undergoing psychotherapy is the painstakingly long process that can follow. Since CBT is based on changing and modifying behavior, it can take up to 3-4 months to observe even the slightest change. If you cannot allow this kind of time, getting guidance becomes tough. To combat this, BBT was designed to be conducted within a month or as few sessions as possible. 

Clinical Significance

When we think about therapy, we imagine someone sitting on a couch across from someone in a quiet room with no disturbances. When you contrast this with any general clinical setup, such as a hospital, you find stark differences. Not only are clinical setups noisy, but due to the crowding of patients, healthcare professionals can’t always invest time in individual patients. Through BBT, any clinician can approach the concerns patients present with as it can be conducted in any setup. 

Reduced Load On MHPs

As mentioned above, it is not always feasible to find a Mental Health Professional (MHP) around you. Also, you might not be able to afford the time or cost of recurring therapy sessions. Sometimes, finding a MHP trained in CBT and available is difficult. To prevent these barriers from affecting treatment, BBT was developed. BBT can be conducted by anyone with clinical experience by using the guidelines. Moreover, it can be easily available from any healthcare provider near you. 

Precursor To Further Treatment 

Consequently, BBT is designed to identify and deal with specific issues that need immediate attention. If you are someone who contemplates the need for psychotherapy. If you have difficulty managing intense symptoms, BBT can help alleviate the immediacy of the issues and help you start your healing journey. BBT is an excellent way to understand if you need further psychotherapy. 

What Is The Efficacy Of Brief Behavior Therapy?

As discussed, there are several reasons that can make BBT the preferred form of intervention. In addition to the convenience for both patients and healthcare providers, the advantage of using it in clinical setups is that it helps reach more people. It is important to note that BBT isn’t universal in nature. Its main benefit is in applying the principles to treat the precise issues that the patients need to work on. Here are some of the disorders in which BBT can be the first step of intervention. 

Substance Use Disorders and BBT 

Firstly, when it comes to mental health issues associated with addictions, the principles of BBT have been found to be particularly helpful. In BBT, stimulus control and exposure therapy are applied. This means that there is an emphasis on reducing thought and behavior-related cues that lead to cravings and reinforce habits of substance consumption. 


Secondly, researchers have implied the benefits of BBT in managing insomnia. Usually, sleep-related disorders disturb the body clock and the routine of the patient. Through BBT, you can learn how to develop habits that induce sleep and reduce the disturbance in your routine. 

BBT For Specific Population 

Finally, populations with specific needs and interests have found significant relief from BBT. Children with mental health conditions have difficulty indulging in long-term psychotherapy. BBT can help doctors and nurses guide parents of the children and the children as well. Similarly, you can undergo BBT for cancer-associated issues and other concerns.  


Overall, BBT is a recent development in the field of psychotherapy. Major benefits of BBT include its applicability in clinical setups, ease of use for any clinician, and ability to address specific concerns. BBT is based on the conditioning and learning-related principles of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. 

BBT is used for patients struggling with addictions and insomnia. Furthermore, there is scope to develop guidelines for BBT for special needs populations such as children. Undergoing mental health issues can be confusing. To find the right healthcare professional to guide you in your recovery journey, reach out to United We Care


[1] Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, “Chapter 4—Brief Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy,” Nih.gov, 2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64948/

[2] O. Palesh et al., “Feasibility and acceptability of brief behavioral therapy for cancer-related insomnia: effects on insomnia and circadian rhythm during chemotherapy: a phase II randomised multicentre controlled trial,” British Journal of Cancer, vol. 119, no. 3, pp. 274–281, Jul. 2018, doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41416-018-0154-2.

[3] F. L. Lynch et al., “Cost-effectiveness of Brief Behavioral Therapy for Pediatric Anxiety and Depression in Primary Care,” JAMA Network Open, vol. 4, no. 3, p. e211778, Mar. 2021, doi: https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.1778.

[4] “Brief Behavioral Treatment for Insomnia (BBTI).” Accessed: Sep. 04, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://aasm.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/ProviderFS-BBTI.pdf

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Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

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