Assignment: Applying Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

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Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, focuses on patterns of thinking, with decreased attention on patterns of behavior and emotional components of relationships. Researchers have given an enormous amount of attention to CBT and its application to a variety of individual mental health concerns, but they also have appropriated it for working with couples and families. Many systems purists argue that CBT is an individual-oriented theory that lacks systemic concepts necessary to conceptualize family or couple issues. In the end, you will have to make the decision as a couples and family helping professional as to whether CBT can address the relational demands of practitioner work with couples and families.


Choose one media resource from this week’s resources to review. As you begin to formulate a theory-based treatment plan, consider how you would maintain focus on the cognitive-behavioral realm of the couples and/or families, yet attend to the emotional dynamics present in the video.


The Assignment (2–3 pages)

Based on the theory demonstrated in the video you chose (CBT with either a couple or family):

  • Define the problem.
  • Formulate a theory-based treatment plan including short- and long-term goals for the couples and/or families.
  • Describe two theory-based interventions you would use and justify your selection.
  • Explain one anticipated outcome of each.




Required Readings

Gurman, A. S., Lebow, J. L., Snyder, D. K. (2015). Clinical handbook of couple therapy. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Chapter 2, "Cognitive Behavioral Couple Therapy"
Chapter 3, "Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy"
Chapter 5, "Gottman Couple Therapy"
Gottman, J. M., & Driver, J. L. (2005). Dysfunctional marital conflict and everyday marital interaction. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 43(3/4), 63–77.
Gottman, J. (2017). Couples. Psychotherapy Networker Magazine, 41(1), 35-37.
Platt, L. F., & Scheitle, C. P. (2017). Is marriage counseling perceived as scientific? Examining the views of US adults. The Family Journal, 25(3), 239-246.
Document: Treatment Plan Template (Word document)

Required Media

Gottman, J. M., & Gottman, J. S. (Producers). (2009a). Gottman couples therapy: A new research-based approach: Our research methods [Video file].

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 10 minutes.

Accessible playerCredit: Provided by Gottman Institute
Gottman, J. M., & Gottman, J. S. (Producers). (2009a). Gottman couples therapy: A new research-based approach: The sound relationship house [Video file].

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 30 minutes.

Accessible playerCredit: Provided by Gottman Institute
Psychotherapy.net. (Producer). (2002a). Cognitive-behavioral child therapy [Video file]. United States: Author.
Psychotherapy.net. (Producer). (2000). Couples therapy for addictions: A cognitive-behavioral approach [Video file]. United States: Author.
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        Applying Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, focuses on patterns of thinking, with decreased attention on patterns of behavior and emotional components of …