Behavioral and Cognitive-Behavioral Family Therapy Models


This study introduces, describes, and illustrates the cognitive-behavioral family therapy (CBFT) approach. According to this approach, individuals’ family-related cognitions have a crucial role in influencing what they expect from family life and how they perceive, operate, and react. Cognitive-behavioral family therapy is a relatively new technique, with only a few reports of its therapeutic application. This study will present leading individuals, theory development/historical events, fundamental assumptions, key philosophies, concepts, and approaches. This study also includes a part comparing and contrasting the Behavioral and Cognitive-Behavioral Family Therapy models with other leading theories. The personal integration of faith and family therapy approach will demonstrate how CBFT and Christian faith can assist families in counseling. This presentation will also show how Christianity and CBFT can collaborate to provide clients with the most outstanding possible service. Theoretical background information is offered, putting therapeutic processes and methods into context.


The use of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy with children and adolescents is gaining popularity. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective and commonly used therapeutic modality for children and adolescents. There is training on a bit of information on how to work with parents and family practitioners. Family members assume a role in establishing, maintaining, and worsening children’s problems because children’s issues occur in a home setting. However, a limited number of cognitive-behavioral approaches to family therapy are undesirable for several reasons. To begin with, children and teenagers rarely seek therapy on their own; instead, influential adults such as friends, educators, and organizations generally refer them to treatment. Additionally, while dealing with individual children, cognitive therapists hardly have enough reinforcers or establish sufficient contingencies to make generalizable and long-lasting changes in the home setting.

Weekly or biweekly therapy sessions had less impact than everyday communication with parents and other siblings. Furthermore, family members might support or sabotage homework assignments and therapeutic benefits. Finally, family treatment approaches based on behavioral and cognitive-behavioral therapy show considerable merit. As a result, this study provides a theoretical explanation for cognitive-behavioral family therapy and many practical clinical instructions for conducting the treatment. Counselors in the helping profession support persons who have suffered from cognitive distortions and research, characterized by the development, methodology, core concepts, and main characteristics of Cognitive-Behavioral Family Therapy (Rosmarin et al., 2019). There will also be data to demonstrate things learned due to the completion of this project. Similarities and differences will be employed to distinguish the chosen theory from other prominent ideas.

Leading Figures

John Krumboltz, Aaron T. Beck, Albert Ellis, Ivan Pavlov, John Watson, and B.F. Skinner is critical figure in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). However, John Krumboltz was the first to develop behavioral counseling. He reiterates that counselors should educate themselves that the goal of their work is to help clients modify their behavior; thus, all therapy is ultimately behavioral. In 1967, Aaron Beck established CBT to prove Sigmund Freud’s theory. He claimed that when anger is turned inward, it causes depression but instead discovered that depressed clients had a negative perception of how they cognitively evaluated life experiences (Rosmarin et al., 2019). Furthermore, the basis of CBT is the concept that we all adopt several expectations and beliefs called schemas as children. That affects how people understand everyday events and situations throughout their lives. Aaron T. Beck, Frank Dattilio, Andre I. Schwehel, Albert Bandura, and Mark A. Fine are leaders in CBFT.

Development of the Theory

Cognitive–Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a problem-solving method that helps people discover and change illogical beliefs, ideas and behavior patterns related to their issues. According to Beck (2021), CBT theory was developed by Aaron T. Beck as previously noted. In the 1960s, Albert Ellis created Rational Behavior Therapy. CBFT was developed by Aaron T. Beck, Albert Bandura, Frank Dattilio, Andrew I. Schwehel, and Mark A. Fin. Its core concept is that ideas affect emotions, which influence behaviors. Its core premise is that thoughts influence feelings, which influences behaviors. CBT combines two highly effective methods of psychotherapy: cognitive therapy and behavioral treatment, and the concepts, assumptions, and beliefs are the focus of cognitive therapy. This therapy helps people recognize and change incorrect or maladaptive thinking habits. It is also a technique for controlling unwanted, recurrent ideas that can feed or provoke various symptoms.

Behavioral therapy focuses on specific acts and settings that modify or maintain behavior. When one is trying to quit smoking, one should adjust their daily behaviors. Thus, instead of waking up with a cup of coffee that might trigger the desire to smoke, the individual is encouraged to go for a morning walk. Switching destructive behaviors with positive ones is a well-known method for helping people change their habits, significantly if they reinforce the new activity. The integration of cognitive and behavioral treatment has proven to be highly effective. However, it may seem impossible to recover control of ideas and implement cognitive therapy procedures in the course of a panic disorder. In this scenario, a behavioral strategy such as deep breathing might be easier to execute, and it could allow one to be calm and focus their thoughts.

Basic Assumptions and Key Philosophies

According to the cognitive-behavioral therapy philosophy, individuals are creative when thinking and feeling are connected. One of the essential components of this concept is confronting one’s illogical assumptions about themselves. Philosophers believe that people influence how they feel and think and that an individual’s interior thoughts and beliefs affect their outside. One of the basic ideas is that a behaviorist can retrace the client’s disordered thinking back to a faulty internal factor or bias. Goldberg (2019) argues that there are several fundamental axioms of behavioral therapy, and all behavior, normal or disordered, is learned and maintained in the same way.

The above theory educates persons on behavior disorders and maladaptive habits that do not require an underlying cause or an unknown intent. Rather than being a symptom of a more fundamental underlying problem or disease process, maladaptive conduct, such as signs, is the disorder itself. It is not necessary to determine the particular event or series of happenings in which individuals acquired the condition; in most cases, these circumstances are irreversible. Instead, the focus should evaluate the current factors that support and guide undesirable deeds. After learning maladaptive conduct, one can replace it with newly acquired behavior patterns.

Treatment entails applying scientific psychology’s experimental findings, focusing on constructing a process explicitly stated, objectively reviewed, and easily reproducible. Assessment is a continuous aspect of therapy because there is a constant examination of treatment efficacy and unique customization of specialized intervention strategies to specific problems. Behavioral therapy focuses on ‘here-and-now’ issues instead of discovering or attempting to rebuild the past. To change the client’s manners, the therapist wants to help the client recognize and adjust to present environmental factors that encourage undesirable behavior. Practitioners assess the effectiveness of treatment in terms of observable changes, while behavioral therapists are constantly researching specific treatment strategies.

Key Concepts

The basis of CBFT’s fundamental ideas is behaviorism and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Firstly, the theorists used operant conditioning as the primary process of change in the behaviorist paradigm. One can integrate sociology by viewing symptoms as learned reactions, and highlighting the role of social emphasis on molding behaviors. According to social exchange theory, people seek to maximize rewards and reduce costs in relationships, which is a crucial component of CBFT. Thus, a person can modify habits directly by enhancing good exchanges and decreasing hostile interactions. Secondly, CBFT holds that a relatively stable core schema can be learned early in life from sources. This schema then influences an individual’s intuitive thinking, emotional responses, and insignificant interactions, which shape the person’s perceptions. Characters often create collectively detained beliefs that make up a family plan due to the number of shared interests within the household (Fruzzetti & Payne, 2020). If there are cognitive alterations in the family schema, it may result in harmful interactions.


Although CBFT includes a variety of strategies, operant conditioning is a method or technique commonly utilized in parent-child relationships. Dependency contracting, graphing, and the based analysis principle are just a few of the tools available in operant conditions. The mask principle, for example, requires family members to perform less pleasurable tasks before engaging in delightful activities. The more enjoyable lessons act as positive reinforcement for the less pleasant ones. Operant conditioning teaches families to keep proper data of their children’s bad behavior through charting. This method teaches parents how to characterize their child’s conduct based on how often they record the behavior, such as daily or whenever it occurs. A documented timetable or contract specifying the parameters for transferring reinforcing behaviors amongst family members is known as contingency contracting. Mindfulness meditation, journaling, thought journals, and physical activity is all included in CBT. All of the above methods can be used to fight or eliminate negative thinking.

Similarities and Dissimilarities

When CBFT uses CBT to address negative thoughts in a family, a theorist can employ household members’ contact to identify the family’s dysfunction. When applied to such a group, the cognitive-behavioral method looks at how the members interact and how it affects family dynamics and dysfunction. The chosen theory is CBFT, and CBT is a popular concept that shares some characteristics with CBFT, such as prompting automatic thinking. CBFT, for example, is based on the idea that a relatively stable inherent schema molds an individual’s opinions and impacts. This then influences an individual’s thought patterns and emotional responses in essential relationships. CBFT also has a foundation in behavioral and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Behaviorists employ operant conditioning as the central change process in the behaviorist paradigm.

The distinction between CBT and CBFT is the family members’ simultaneous interaction and CBFT’s synthesis of behaviorism, CBT, and system theory. Thoughts and behaviors are crucial to the family’s dysfunction, according to CBFT. Furthermore, as previously said, the essential idea is that the action of one family member causes specific manners, perceptions, and emotions in other family members. CBT is primarily concerned with the person rather than the causes of the person’s failures.

New Knowledge Acquired

The notion that Cognitive-Behavioral Family Therapy exists is a fresh piece of information. The concept is new yet and everyone needs to appreciate CBT and believes that it will be helpful as one progresses as a counselor. It is also beneficial to understand that with the CBFT theory, an individual may immediately involve all family members. One does not have to focus on the anxiety that can arise when family members refuse to include others. The actions of a particular family member may provoke the emotions and opinions of others in the group. Consequently, the counselor may present his or her work in terms of core problems early in the therapy session. It is comforting to know that having multiple family members present allows one to get additional information. The counselor should listen to the person for several sessions before determining what is going on in their settings. As a result, this is both enlightening and a valuable tool for counselors who work with families.

Personal Integration

I have discovered that spiritual and religious perspectives influence how people perceive and create meaning for individuals, happenings in their lives, and the larger world. Color, family structures, social context, and cultural background influence people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors positively and negatively. As a result, humans believe that spiritual and religious predisposition is an essential aspect of the therapy process for them. I am delighted about the facts I have learned about CBFT, and I am now able to discuss and demonstrate my Christian beliefs in conjunction with CBFT. CBFT, for example, includes the complete family in CBT, and the Christian religion is pro-marriage and pro-family. I believe in God’s plan for marriage; therefore, having a theory created from CBT to deal with incorrect thoughts in relationships works for me. Incorporating a person’s beliefs into dispute resolution might be beneficial.

I have learned that it is critical to meet a family that is in their faith journey. Since some convictions ignore or belittle mental health issues, the CBFT gives a choice in couples and family counseling when it comes to religion and meeting the client’s requirements. Because some Christian denominations have explicit doctrines that deny or diminish mental health diagnoses, some families must consider what psychological health means to them. As a Christian, I place a high value on positive ideas related to Christ’s thinking. For example, Philippians 4:6 urges us to concentrate on positive aspects. Since CBFT relies on helping families to discover mental distortions, reshape their thinking, and confront negative thought patterns, this would be an essential scripture to help them. Finally, friends should think about whatever things are true, honest, just, pure, beautiful, and of good repute if there is any virtue and praise, according to Philippians 4:8.

To determine the family’s dysfunction, CBFT stresses the relationship of household members. Additionally, unity is central to the Christian religion and scripture. Two are preferable to one, according to Ecclesiastes 4:9, because they get a fair return on their labor: if one of them plunges, the other can lift the other. However, pity the person who stumbles and has no one to assist them in getting up. Furthermore, if two people lie down close, they will stay warm. However, how does one keep warm on their own? Scripture emphasizes the importance of family. For example, the Bible references marriage, domestic order, and teaching for sons with their dads and daughters with their mothers. Thus, CBFT theory, when combined with scripture, can assist a Christian spouse in achieving unity and order. The CBFT idea can be associated with scripture to challenge cognitive distortions and hurtful thinking patterns. Furthermore, the Bible has religious texts that try to solve issues among married couples. The CBFT concept can be directly linked with Christian doctrine to help confront irrational thoughts and insensitive thinking patterns.

A couple working together is never dull as it is rife with powerful emotions, attachments, heartache, sexual dysfunctions, and misdeeds; people may even find themselves amid a psychological conflict. Spiritually focused CBT has both advantages and disadvantages, where horizontal and vertical communal sustenance, the growth of celestial coping resources, and a rise in spiritual inspiration are all advantages. Religious comfort resources stem from one’s spiritual orientation or relationship with God. When it comes to improving spiritual drive, clients receive a new source of inspiration as they do understand themselves better and are motivated to change areas of their identity.

SYMBIS Assessment

I agree with the way the marriage mindset portrays my evaluation. For example, my parents raised my spouse and me to believe in our longevity. Them, they have been married for over 60 years, and my partner’s parents have been married for over 50 years. According to the assessment, we are similar in our thinking, and we are more than twice as likely to state that divorcing is not an option. We have always maintained that separation is not an alternative because we think that God has designed marriage to last. The evaluation also found that we have a steadfast perspective. For instance, one of the findings on the report was that we were married for life and love would be the most profound insight. A good demonstration of this is that we are so preoccupied with schoolwork and seeing clients in our fieldwork and apprenticeship that we fall asleep almost immediately. We have determined that love is important for our marriage, so we will make time for it.

This SYMBIS is a fascinating reaction to the report, as it is educative. For example, my spouse and I achieved the same on the religious portion for every question without conversing. Spending lots of time together in worship, being consistent in our Bible studies, and being on a relatively similar page in ministry are the three things that come to mind. Despite working together, past struggles were caused by my spouse being a preacher, and I am an itinerant. Let me be clear: I tend to be acknowledged or called upon to do more, which has been a problem in the past, but we have improved, and I always appreciate prayer. For couples, the SYMBIS evaluation is a valuable comparison tool. Thus, I imagine this assessment assisting me in couples counseling and performing most of the work for me. When one is able to see what their partner is experiencing or thinking, it can aid in the resolution of some of the more complex matters that may occur during counseling.

In conjunction with faith, spirituality, and scripture, this examination can help a couple focus on themselves in their marriage. The evaluation takes the guesswork out of figuring things out. I frequently find that couples are unsure where to begin, and the report serves as an excellent conversation starter. Therefore, assessment is the process of considering all possible impacts on a client’s condition to develop a broad overview of the client’s present level of functioning. In addition, the therapist will collect information on many elements of a customer’s life during the admission and evaluation phase.


Households benefit from cognitive-behavioral family therapy in a variety of ways. It also aids in the strengthening of married couples’ relationships. Therapists working with married couples employ ways to strengthen their association. These experts train teams to express themselves effectively and impart new behaviors to increase communication and build a strong bond as partners in cognitive-behavioral family therapy. These individuals are also given skills for resolving marital conflicts and maintaining positive control. Toggle functional family therapy offers the family a variety of treatment options to help them grow their emotional wellbeing.


Beck, J., & Fleming, S. (2021). A brief history of Aaron T. Beck, MD, and Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Clinical Psychology in Europe, 3(2).

Fruzzetti, A., & Payne, L. (2020). Assessment of parents, couples, and families in dialectical behavior therapy. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 27(1), 39-49.

Goldberg, S., Tucker, R., Greene, P., Davidson, R., Kearney, D., & Simpson, T. (2019). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for the treatment of current depressive symptoms: a meta-analysis. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 48(6), 445-462.

Rosmarin, D., Bocanegra, E., Hoffnung, G., & Appel, M. (2019). Effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety and depression among Orthodox Jews. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 26(4), 676-687.

Cite this paper

Select style


PsychologyWriting. (2023, September 22). Behavioral and Cognitive-Behavioral Family Therapy Models. Retrieved from


PsychologyWriting. (2023, September 22). Behavioral and Cognitive-Behavioral Family Therapy Models.

Work Cited

"Behavioral and Cognitive-Behavioral Family Therapy Models." PsychologyWriting, 22 Sept. 2023,


PsychologyWriting. (2023) 'Behavioral and Cognitive-Behavioral Family Therapy Models'. 22 September.


PsychologyWriting. 2023. "Behavioral and Cognitive-Behavioral Family Therapy Models." September 22, 2023.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Behavioral and Cognitive-Behavioral Family Therapy Models." September 22, 2023.


PsychologyWriting. "Behavioral and Cognitive-Behavioral Family Therapy Models." September 22, 2023.