Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective treatment approaches used in addressing various emotional and mental health issues that include depression, anxiety or mood disorders. The aim of the approach is to assist couples and families in identifying and challenging thoughts that are unhelpful and in turn help them learn self-help strategies (Dobson & Dobson, 2016). The strategies developed by the cognitive behavior therapy are used to bring about immediate and positive changes in the families and couples quality of life. Cognitive behavior therapy is often effective in helping people in marriage, couples, families who are looking for support in challenging any unhelpful thoughts they may hold, and which are preventing them from living the life they desire or achieving their goals. The focus of cognitive behavior therapy is to show the couples or family that their thoughts affect their mood (Dobson & Dobson, 2016). It also aims at teaching them how to develop less negative thoughts about life and themselves. The basis of the approach is that negative thinking is a form of habit and therefore just like any other habit, it can be changed.
The View of Human Nature through Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling
The approach is based on how people think and their behavior and how these aspects affect their overall well-being. Therefore, cognitive behavior therapy views couples and families as beings with thought processes and behavior that may be the cause of their difficulties. In many instances, the thought processes will result in behavior that appears like the problem or the issue (Dobson & Dobson, 2016). However, the behavior that comes about is not the problem but the symptom of the negative thinking that could be present in the family or the couples. According to the approach, negative thinking will begin during childhood and occurs through children hearing and adopting indoctrinated thoughts they hear and observe from their parents. They will repeatedly engage in these thoughts, and as they do so their dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes remain alive, and they will eventually affect how they behaves. The cognitive behavior approach involves the use of various theories, which include the Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) theory, which is characterized by the A-B-C theory of personality (Dobson & Dobson, 2016). The A-B-C theory involves the occurrence of an activating event (A) which in turn triggers a belief (B). The belief is then experienced by the couples and families as a behavioral or emotional consequence (C). Therefore therapy will focus on the disruption of the pattern developed by the couples and families through the introduction of a disputing intervention (D) which results in an effect (E) and eventually the new feelings or behavior (F) (Dobson & Dobson, 2016). In marriage, couple and family counseling the A-B-C theory will be effective in identifying the development of an issue like communication breakdown. For example, breakdown in communication could result in verbal outbursts among family members or couples and thus acts as the activating factor. It will result in the belief that one of the members is to blame for the problem. Therefore, the rest of the family members or the spouse may decide to be angry with the other, which is the behavioral consequence. The therapy will therefore focus on disputing the belief, which results in an effect that brings about a new and more positive feeling or behavior.
Key Factors that Account for Changes in Behavior for Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling
Cognitive behavior leans most towards the effect of negative cognition and behavior on the difficulties experienced by couples and families. Cognitive therapists believe that negative thoughts by the couples and families will lead him or her into engaging in behavior that is also negative thus affecting his or her day-to-day functioning. CBT believes that people will start developing these maladaptive thoughts in their childhood through observing those close to them (Granvold, 2007). They will engage in such thought frequently, and in turn, the thought processes become part of them. Therefore, the thought patterns developed will affect how families and couples behave and how they respond to various issues they encounter in their daily lives. It means that for CBT the negative cognitive process will affect how behavior is developed and how it changes.
How Interventions Strategies are Designed within the Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Cognitive behavior therapy is based on the premise that when couples and families change negative thinking then there occurs a change in their behavior and affect. More recent cognitive therapists, however, believe that the changes need to occur mainly in the couples or families relationship to the maladaptive thinking rather than the thinking itself. Therefore, the goal of cognitive behavior therapy is the diagnosis of the couples or family members with a particular disorder but to analyze them holistically and identify areas that need to be fixed (Granvold, 2007). When developing intervention strategies, cognitive behavior therapists will work on identifying the critical behaviors the couples and families need to adjust. The therapist then works on identifying whether the critical behaviors are excesses or deficits. That is, could the behavior be present in more quantities than required or could they be less than is necessary for normal functioning. The therapist goes further to identify various aspects of the critical behavior including the intensity, duration, or frequency (Granvold, 2007). The analysis helps in the development of a baseline, which the therapists use in the development of a treatment plan. The intervention strategies are often aimed at an attempt to decrease the intensity, frequency, or duration of the critical behaviors. In instances of deficits, the intervention strategies work on increasing the behavior. The therapist will initially focus on carrying out the psychological assessment on the couples and families. It helps in knowing more about them and the issue they face (Granvold, 2007). The therapist the reconceptualizes the information acquired from the assessment and from what they hears from the couples and families to help develop the best intervention strategies for them. The therapists, therefore, works towards helping the couples and families acquire the necessary skills to help address the current maladaptive cognitive and behavior identified in their functioning. The approach then goes further to consolidate the identified skills and train the couples and families where necessary. In most instances, cognitive behavior therapy will involve the couples and families engaging in a given task assigned to them as homework. These tasks are often congruent with the skills the couples and families learn from the therapist through training. The therapist works on helping them maintain the skill after training has occurred. They need to monitor the couples and families to identify how the effective the skills are and if any adjustments need to be made. What follows is follow-up by the therapist to identify how the couples and families are coping after acquiring the new skill.
How Cognitive Behavior Therapy Conceptualizes Mental Health
Cognitive behavior therapy is based on the idea that people will learn beliefs that are bad or crooked from those people present in their environment and their life during their childhood and they will continue to re-establish these beliefs throughout the rest of their lives. CTB believes that couples and families are constantly reinforcing the self-defeating behavior and thoughts in which they are constantly making similar choices and decisions repeatedly. It, therefore, means that there is consistency with how they develop and maintain their beliefs. Cognitive behavior therapy believes that despite couples and families having the want and desire to be loved it is not often necessary that they truly need it. Therefore, cognitive behavior therapy proposes three basic beliefs that are irrational and will lead to self-defeat. One is that the couples and families members believe that they frequently need the approval of other people and without which they feel that they are not good for anything. The other thought is that others must treat the couples and families members in the way the couples and families feel that they should be treated and if they do not then they are not good and they need to be punished. The couples and families also thinks that they should have everything they need and when they want it otherwise they view life not to be good therefore unmanageable. These thoughts, according to cognitive behavioral therapy are the reasons why couples and family members may develop mental health issues.
Key Factors that Contribute to Healthy Family/Couple Relationships
According to CBT, self-schemas play a critical role in determining healthy relationships in the family and among couples (Dattilio, 2007). These schemas include childhood experiences specifically self-esteems and self-worth, security and comfort and attachment. Positive experiences in these aspects of the couples and families will result in healthy relations with the rest of the family and between couples (Griffiths & Averbeck, 2016). Cognitive behavior therapy also addresses the issue of boundaries within the relationship for both families and the couple. A healthy relationship should have a given level of independence and interdependence among its members. The members also need to spend a given amount of time together and that their degree of sharing thoughts and feelings amongst each other should be healthy. Healthy family and couple relations do not share too much or too little of their thoughts and feelings amongst each other. Such relationships usually do not have issues of power and control. Couples and families will arrange their relationships, which show a form of delegation of power and control among the family members and the couple (Dattilio, 2007). Cognitive behavior therapy advocates for acceptable standards within the process of making decisions and be ready for compromise when necessary. It also bases aspects of healthy family and couple relationships on the degree of investment every couples and families makes towards the relationship. The approach recommends for behaviors that show affection, caring, commitment and those that communicate w willingness to communicate. They will often view themselves as worthy and others as trustworthy. Those with a secure attachment will be comfortable with autonomy and intimacy. Therefore they are often more satisfied in relationships with the family and the couple levels.
The Counseling Process within Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Cognitive behavior therapy involves some phases for treatment including psychological assessment, case conceptualization, acquisition of skills, skills application training, maintenance, and follow-up. The counselor will at first concentrate on completing the mental evaluation on the couples and families. It helps in finding out about the issue that influences the couples and families (Shelby, 2015). The procedure includes identification of the clients therapeutic and mental history and any issues that touch on the family. The counselor then engages in case conceptualization using the data procured from the appraisal and from what they gets from talking with the couples and families to help build up the best treatment procedures for the them. The counselor in this manner works towards helping the couples and families get the fundamental aptitudes to help addres...
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