In this type of therapy it is believed that we are a product of our environment and that behaviours are learned. Reinforcement and imitation teaches normal behaviour and abnormal avoidant behaviour is a direct result of defective learning. To eliminate unwanted behaviours you need to learn new behaviours by focusing on recognition of situations being avoided and negative, deprecatory self-statements. This may include assertion, behavioural rehearsal, coaching, cognitive restructuring, desensitisation, modelling, reinforcement, relaxation methods, self-management, or new social skills.
Anxiety management training, socialization experiences, development of communication skills, and basic assertiveness training can be quite helpful (Donat, Retzlaff, 1995, p. 49).
There has been significant improvement for individuals with APD with behavioural treatment interventions such as graduated exposure, social skills training, and systematic desensitisation (Sutherland & Frances, Gabbard & Atkinson, eds., 1996, p. 991).