Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Groups

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Groups

As you might recall from Week 5, there are significant differences in the applications of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for families and individuals. The same is true for CBT in group settings and CBT in family settings. In your role, it is essential to understand these differences to appropriately apply this therapeutic approach across multiple settings. For this Discussion, as you compare the use of CBT in group settings and family settings, consider challenges of using this approach with your own groups.


Learning Objectives

Students will:

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

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To prepare:

  • Reflect on your practicum experiences with CBT in group and family settings.

Post an explanation of how the use of CBT in groups compares to its use in family settings. Provide specific examples from your own practicum experiences (you as the writer can make this up as long as it deals with drug addiction). Then, explain at least two challenges counselors might encounter when using CBT in the group setting.



Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Group Settings versus Family Settings

Cognitive behavioral group therapy is a group approach that utilizes behavioral, relational and group practices to improve the coping skills of participants, and address the problems that they are experiencing (Wolgensinger, 2015). On the other hand, cognitive behavioral family therapy focuses on supporting members of a family to interact in a more adaptive manner; learn how to make better decisions to create a conducive environment for family interactions. Additionally, cognitive behavioral family therapy relies on reciprocal interactions between family members (Lan & Sher, 2018). During drug addiction treatment, CBT shows that emotions and harmful actions are not rational and might have come from past experiences. When a person struggling with addiction understands that their feelings lead to substance use, they are better placed to control their addiction. In practice, I work closely with individuals struggling with alcohol addiction. During family CBT, emotions and behaviors have a mutual influence on one another. For example, clients often change their addiction story when a family member is in the therapy session with them. When I encounter such clients, I recommend group CBT because they may relate better to others that are going through the same situation.


CBT administered in the group setting posses several challenges to counselors. Clients might have limited motivations to change. Counselors should therefore establish motivating factors to help the client cope with therapy. For psychotherapy to work, the individual, the family and the group should ensure that treatment goals are met. During group CBT counselors face the challenge of choosing effective structures to use (McHugh, Hearon & Otto, 2010). Additionally, identifying proper techniques to introduce to obtain maximum results is a challenge. Evaluating techniques and consulting with other therapists assists with meeting all the needs of the parties involved.



Lan, J. & Sher, TM. (2018). Cognitive-Behavioral Family Therapy. Research Gate. Doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_40-1

McHugh, R.K., Hearon, B.A. & Otto, M. (2010). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Substance Use Disorders. The Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 33(3), 511-525. Doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2010.04.012

Wolgensinger, L. (2015). Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy for Anxiety: Recent Developments. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 17(3), 347-351.

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