What is a Behaviour Therapist?

mother holding baby surrounded by bubbles

A behaviour therapist is a professional who uses the concept of behaviour science to help people deal with behaviour problems or mental health conditions which involve unwanted behaviours. Examples include: ADHD, autism and other related conditions. Behaviour science is also called; The science of behaviour and learning.

A behaviour therapist works under the supervision of a behaviour analyst. They can also work under the supervision of a psychologist or qualified behaviour therapist to help with anxiety or early adverse experiences (ACEs), for example. 

Behaviour therapy is the techniques used inside applied behaviour analysis, which is part of associative learning in the field of psychology. You can learn about it in our first blog

How do I choose a behaviour therapist who will be right for my child?

Choosing a behaviour therapist to support your child and your family can be a very daunting task. It is hard to tell how the relationship will develop and how your child will respond to their interventions in an early stage interview. But there are some things you should definitely look out for at this stage

1. Personality type

A good behaviour therapist will:

  • Be energetic and fun
  • Play and like to play a lot
  • Show an interest in your child and interact with them easily 
  • Be truly passionate about helping children
  • Be positive and patient
  • Be trustworthy, observe how your child reacts to them and how you feel about them to try and gauge this one at an early stage.

2. Skill and ability 

In terms of skills and ability, an experienced Behaviour therapist will be skilled in these areas:

  • Measuring behaviour –  how often and when it happens, how long it lasts and why. 
  • Able to carry out different assessments – these are necessary before the therapy even begins,  as well as during day to day therapy sessions. 
  • Able to teach a variety of new skills. Really lots – academic, life skills, play skills. 
  • Use behaviour principles, strategies, and interventions – make the skill really easy so the child is successful and then slowly making it harder. 
  • Knowing when and how much reinforcement to provide. 
  • Following the code of ethics.  
  • Working in close partnership with a behaviour analyst and, most of all, with the family. 

3. Qualifications

In terms of qualifications and extra training, things to look for are: 

  • 40 hours registered behaviour technician training
  • Masters in Behaviour analysis from
  • Or Positive Behaviour Support Training.
  • Students of: Early childhood, teaching, speech and language, psychology.

Parents and carers as the best behaviour therapists

It is a good idea for parents or guardians to go through some training themselves. You do not need years of training for this, but an element of training will  give you a better understanding of the processes and interventions that work best for your child. You want to continue playing and teaching your child even when the therapist leaves your home or once you return from the therapy centre. As long as you can guide, support, and communicate honestly and openly with the behaviour therapist you will just fine. Even siblings can become the best therapists you get.

At Catesbi, we believe that every child is able to flourish and learn new skills. Behaviour therapy can help you get the root of any behaviour, understand why they are happening, and what you can do to support your child. 

Get in touch 

If you have any further questions about behavioural therapy, or you want to know more about getting support for your organisation or child, please do not hesitate to get in touch!


With thanks to Betty for edits, questions and suggestions 🙂


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