Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Family versus Individual Settings

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Family versus Individual Settings

Whether used with individuals or families, the goal of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is to modify client behavior. Although CBT for families is similar to CBT for individuals, there are significant differences in their applications. As you develop treatment plans, it is important that you recognize these differences and how they may impact your therapeutic approach with families. For this Discussion, as you compare the use of CBT for families and individuals, consider challenges of applying this therapeutic approach to your own client families.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Compare the use of cognitive behavioral therapy for families to cognitive behavioral therapy for individuals
  • Analyze challenges of using cognitive behavioral therapy for families
  • Recommend effective cognitive behavioral therapy strategies for families

Nursing Paper Help

To prepare:

  • Review the media, Johnson Family Session 3, in this week’s Learning Resources and consider the insights provided on CBT in family therapy.
  • Reflect on your practicum experiences with CBT in family and individual settings.

Post an explanation of how the use of CBT in families compares to CBT in individual settings. Provide specific examples from your own practicum experiences. Then, explain challenges counselors might encounter when using CBT in the family setting. Support your position with specific examples from this week’s media (see upload)



Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Family Settings versus Individual Settings

During family therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is used to identify behavioral goals, achieve goals using theoretical techniques, and learn social reinforces to accomplish the goals. CBT for family therapy helps to identify strengths and weaknesses of family. Individuals and groups of the family are in behavioral, emotional, and cognitive aspects of interaction to help plan for care or as an intervention plan (Nichols, 2014).  During family therapy, family members influence each other including the group behaviors. Therefore, during group therapy, paying attention to individual’s cognitions, emotions, and practices is critical.  For example what can be observed is the actions of the group towards an individual and the essential aspects of family relationships as seen in Johnson’s family.


Individual CBT looks into the personal experiences especially how the client behaves, feels, and responds to therapy questions. Besides, the therapy leads to behavioral change and both primary and secondary thinking (Wheeler, 2014). Therefore, the main aim of a therapist is to ensure the care plan intervention is individualized to help respond and react to specific stimuli or challenges — the primary techniques to change the patient’s way of thinking using reattribution as observed in the film.  For example, the lady in the movie shared her story and accounts of how she was raped in a party, and she has since blamed herself and accepted all the blame Laureate Education, 2013). Therefore, individual therapy will aim at changing her feelings, cognitions, and emotions and to help her understand that it was not her fault but the rapist fault.

The major challenge that therapist face during both group and individual therapy are that clients are sometimes not willing to share their stories. For example, the lady mentioned that she often feels hurt whenever she shares the story with anybody and in some instances interrupted the therapist (Laureate Education, 2013). Thus, therapies need to understand that individuals in a family deal with emotions differently and it is essential to use individualized focused treatment during family therapy.



Laureate Education (Producer). (2013c). Johnson family session 3 [Video file]. Author: Baltimore, MD.

Nichols, M. P. (2014). The essentials of family therapy. Boston: Pearson.

Wheeler, K. (2014). Psychotherapy for the advanced practice psychiatric nurse a how-to guide for evidence-based practice. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company, LLC.



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