Behavioral Activation for Depression

Second Edition
A Clinician's Guide

Christopher R. Martell, Sona Dimidjian, and Ruth Herman-Dunn

HardcoverPaperbacke-bookprint + e-book
December 13, 2021
ISBN 9781462548392
Price: $85.00
241 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
January 4, 2022
ISBN 9781462548385
Price: $35.00
241 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
November 11, 2021
ePub and PDF ?
Price: $35.00
241 Pages
print + e-book
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Price: $70.00 $38.50
241 Pages
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Noted for its clarity and practical utility, the definitive guide to behavioral activation (BA) is now in a revised and expanded second edition. The authors are leading experts who enumerate BA principles and provide guidelines for assessment and intervention. Clinicians learn effective procedures for structuring each session, identifying and scheduling antidepressant activities, targeting avoidance and rumination, and monitoring progress. Illustrated with an extended case example, sample dialogues, and quick-reference tables, the book features 16 reproducible worksheets and forms. Purchasers get access to a Web page where they can download and print the reproducible materials—plus a supplemental client booklet—in a convenient 8½“ x 11” size.

New to This Edition

“This work is clearly a labor of love, and its strengths shine through. Multiple patient scenarios are explored....Step-by-step instructions are provided as well as detailed examples of possible homework assignments and how a patient might complete them....Well written and easy to read, and it would be a helpful addition to the library of most therapists. It could easily be used as a teaching tool in therapy classes for psychologists and psychiatrists alike. I highly recommend it.”

Psychiatric Services (on the first edition)

“Those practicing behavioral therapies or those collaborating with or supervising BA therapists will also find this volume informative and useful.”

Annals of Clinical Psychiatry (on the first edition)

“BA is an effective, accessible, and scalable psychological therapy that could do much to address the major public health problem of depression. This clear, authoritative, exceptionally practical guide empowers therapists with a roadmap for offering this powerful therapy to their clients. The authors are second to none in their field; they have taken an already excellent book and improved it further with this second edition. BA offers the possibility for hundreds of millions of people not only to recover from depression, but also to build a better life with and beyond depression.”

—Willem Kuyken, PhD, Ritblat Professor of Mindfulness and Psychological Science, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

“In its second edition, this book remains the foundational guide to the principles and practices of BA. The authors masterfully weave compelling clinical narratives into a crisp description of ways to interrupt the low interest, fatigue, and withdrawal that are inherent in the vicious cycle of depression. BA takes us back to fundamental operant principles of behavior change while also acknowledging the bidirectional influence of the patient's internal and external environment. The authors create a space for the clinical integration of the literature on emotional regulation, rumination, and mindful presence. Beginning and experienced clinicians alike will improve their evidence-based practice by applying the knowledge in this book. It will serve as an important source of information for graduate students before, during, and after their practicum and internship placements.”

—Robin B. Jarrett, PhD, ABPP, Professor of Psychiatry and Elizabeth H. Penn Professorship in Clinical Psychology, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

“Like the ancient game of Go, the principles of BA are simple, but their successful application demands study, practice, skill, and strategy. I have used Behavioral Activation for Depression as one of the assigned texts in my graduate course on behavior therapy since 2013. This text consistently receives positive reviews from my students and helps them establish the skills to effectively carry out BA in their practicum placements. The second edition retains the original work's clear exposition and guiding principles, while adding an important discussion of the transdiagnostic movement in psychotherapy, among other updates. This second edition is an invaluable read for beginning clinicians in all the helping disciplines and a useful review for experienced therapists.”

—Alvin E. House, PhD, Department of Psychology, Illinois State University

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: The Development of Behavioral Activation

2. The Core Principles of Behavioral Activation sample

3. The Structure and Style of Therapy

4. Identifying the Ingredients of the Behavioral Antidepressant

5. Activity Scheduling and Structuring

6. Avoidance Modification, Solving Problems, and Value-Directed Behavior

7. How Thinking Can Be Problematic Behavior

8. Troubleshooting Difficulties in Activation

9. Measuring Progress and Preparing for Termination

10. Extensions of BA

Appendix 1. Charts and Worksheets for Depressed Clients

Appendix 2. Notebook and Weekly Therapy Plan

Appendix 3. Notebook and Posttherapy Plan

Appendix 4. ACTIVATE Reference Sheet for Therapists

Appendix 5. Behavioral Activation for Depression Scale (BADS)

Appendix 6a. Quality of Behavioral Activation Scale (QBAS) long form

Appendix 6b. Quality of Behavioral Activation Scale (QBAS) short form

Appendix 7. Post Session Self-Assessment Fidelity Checklist



About the Authors

Christopher R. Martell, PhD, ABPP, is Clinic Director of the Psychological Services Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Lecturer in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. He is board certified in Clinical Psychology and in Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology through the American Board of Professional Psychology. He has led workshops around the world on behavioral activation and other topics. Dr. Martell is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Psychologist Award from the Washington State Psychological Association, and has received honors and recognition as an instructor and clinical supervisor. He was a full-time practicing clinician for over 24 years prior to devoting his time to teaching, supervision, and research consultation.

Sona Dimidjian, PhD, a clinical psychologist, is Director of the Renée Crown Wellness Institute and Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is a widely recognized expert on women’s mental health; the clinical application of contemplative practices, such as mindfulness meditation; and cognitive and behavioral approaches. She has developed successful prevention and treatment programs to promote mental health and wellness in health care, education, and community settings. Dr. Dimidjian is a recipient of multiple awards and the author of widely cited scholarly papers. Her most recent books include the self-help resource Expecting Mindfully as well as Behavioral Activation for Depression, Second Edition, and Evidence-Based Practice in Action (for mental health professionals).

Ruth Herman-Dunn, PhD, is in private practice in Seattle and supervises graduate students in her position as Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington. She has been a research therapist on several large randomized clinical trials for behavioral treatments, including behavioral activation and dialectical behavior therapy, and has led workshops on these treatments throughout the United States and Canada. Dr. Herman-Dunn provides consultation on treatment dissemination studies and collaborates with a core group of behavioral activation experts on training and treatment development.


Clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, counselors, and psychiatric nurses.

Course Use

Serves as a supplemental text in graduate-level courses.
Previous editions published by Guilford:

First Edition, © 2010
ISBN: 9781462510177
New to this edition: