Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Paper

Comparing the use of CBT in a Family Setting and Individually

Comparing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and its effectiveness when utilized in family settings with individual applications yields interesting results. CBT is used to treat a wide variety of disorders ranging from anxiety and depression, to eating disorders when combined with emotional attributes. However, the first issue that becomes evident when comparing the two therapeutic domains is that family-based CBT has higher degrees of successful outcomes and full recovery over the individualized approach (Perry, 2014). Due to the fact that most of the conditions that benefit from CBT are emotional or psychological, the family bond sort of catalyzes treatment in a positive manner. Individualized approaches to these conditions tend to be drawn out and even problematic Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Paper.


Another issue that comes up during the comparison is the fact that communication becomes easier in the family-based CBT regime as opposed to the individualized one. Patients under treatment of undergoing intervention feel more comfortable speaking about their issues with family members or to members of their family (Bond, Woods, Humphrey, Symes, & Green, 2013). Therapists also find it easier to identify the need for adjunctive therapy. Therefore, therapists witness better treatment outcomes when the entire family is involved as opposed to individuals only. Most cases that involve individuals during training tend to be problematic especially since one cannot be treated by a family member Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Paper.

The length of therapy is considerably shorter leading to full recovery when CBT is applied in a family setting as opposed to the individualized approach. Families that are mutually keen to recover sort of assist each other through their tough times making the therapist’s job easier. However, individuals with some emotional or psychological issues usually need to be convinced to open up first before treatment can even begin.

Challenges of Using CBT in the Family Setting

The family setting seems to benefit patients who are under CBT more than when the same form of intervention is applied to individuals. However, this setting also faces its own unique set of challenges. First, the use of CBT in the family setting faces the danger of facilitators (Patterson, 2014). These are close family members whose presence or behavior reinforces the same dangerous or negative behavioral or psychological problems that are intended to be eliminated.

Another major problem with CBT use in family settings is the risk of conflicting cognitive models. Such models are drawn up by the therapist during the process of treatment and they apply in a generalized manner since the entire group is under therapy (Washington et al., 2014). However, some scenarios do exist where there are secondary and even individualized problems that also require intervention. As the therapist formulates an adjunctive therapy strategy, they might realize that there are cognitive conflicts. One explanation for this is the diverse mental and emotional states of all family members.

Effective CBT Strategies for Families

When formulating effective CBT strategies for use in family settings, the therapists must consider several factors. First, they must ask whether there is a strong therapeutic alliance with the family. If the family is not on board, then the entire process is bound to fail. Therefore, the therapist must establish a strong therapeutic alliance from the very onset of intervention Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Paper.

Therapists must also leave room for open lines of communication during the entire process. Such strategies enable the members of that family under treatment to speak freely (Wheeler, 2015). This strategy is part of the process of identifying facilitators and even secondary problems that may require adjunctive therapy.

Finally, the family members must have a good understanding of the cognitive model in play as well as the objectives of their therapy. This strategy is important not only in the process of creating a strong therapeutic alliance, but also in identifying the resources necessary and any potential pitfalls along the way.


Bond, C., Woods, K., Humphrey, N., Symes, W., & Green, L. (2013). Practitioner Review: The effectiveness of solution focused brief therapy with children and families: a systematic and critical evaluation of the literature from 1990-2010. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 54(7), 707-723. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12058

Patterson, T. (2014). A Cognitive Behavioral Systems Approach to Family Therapy. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 25(2), 132-144. doi:10.1080/08975353.2014.910023

Perry, A. (2014). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Couples and Families. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 29(3), 366-367. doi:10.1080/14681994.2014.909024

Washington, K. T., Wittenberg-Lyles, E., Parker Oliver, D., Baldwin, P. K., Tappana, J., Wright, J. H., & Demiris, G. (2014). Rethinking Family Caregiving: Tailoring Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies to the Hospice Experience. Health & Social Work, 39(4), 244-250. doi:10.1093/hsw/hlu031

Wheeler, K. (2015). Chapter 12: Family Therapy. In Psychotherapy for the advanced practice psychiatric nurse: A how-to guide for evidence-based practice (pp. 429-468). New York City, NY: Springer Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Paper.

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