Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP)
Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP) is a behavioral, relational approach to psychotherapy in which problematic client behaviors are collaboratively identified and gradually shaped towards greater effectiveness as they show up “live” within the client-therapist relationship. At the outset of therapy, clients are asked to identify their treatment goals. That is, what are their dreams and deepest desires? How do they define their best self? What do they feel compelled to move towards over the course of their life? From this discussion, behavioral targets are collaboratively determined: which old problematic behaviors are maintaining their current “stuckness” in life, and what new adaptive behaviors would move them towards the life they desire and the person they desire to be?
Although it may seem surprising, these very same problematic behaviors have a tendency to show up naturally in the therapy relationship over time. To accelerate this process, FAP therapists create authentic, emotional, and mutually vulnerable relationships and interactions which evoke these very behaviors. This offers FAP therapists a significant advantage: rather than trying to shape behaviors occurring elsewhere at some future time, FAP is supercharged by the provision of honest feedback and reinforcement of client behaviors occurring right in the moment. Consider this metaphor: would you rather hire a personal trainer to meet with you between your workouts to advise you about your training regimen, or would you prefer your trainer to coach you while you workout, so they could offer feedback as they observe your behaviors, cheerlead your effort, notice the little habits that are holding you back, and celebrate with you each small and large victory in its vital moment?
Great care is taken by FAP therapists to be compassionate, loving, and genuine when responding to problematic behaviors arising within the client-therapist relationship. Emphasis is placed on helping to strengthen the adaptive behaviors that are necessary for clients to create and maintain close relationships and to live meaningful lives.