Family Theory versus Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

FamilyTheory versus Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Psychotherapyis one of the key aspects of professional psychology. By definition,psychotherapy refers to the collection of all the activities thattake place between a psychology professional and their client in thecourse of their therapy sessions. The therapy seeks to address thepatient’s psychological traits in all aspects and dimensions, fromless adaptive to more adaptive approaches (Lebow,2013).What makes psychotherapy different from other forms of counselingmethods is that it is geared towards helping an individual solve thatmay be considered “normal” under other circumstances. It relieson using the mental experiences of the patient to achieve the desiredchanges to the patient’s situation.

Typesand Uses of psychotherapy

Fromits definition, psychotherapy makes use of psychological techniquesto treat different mental and emotional disorders in patients. Thesecret to its accomplishment depends on the ability of the counselorto understand the patient’s situations and experiences to remedywhatever disorders they may be suffering from. The treatment is fullybased on communication between the people involved in the treatmentprocess.

AsLebow(2013) asserts, thereare various types of psychotherapy. These different types vary in thedisorders they can treat, their treatment methods and thecircumstances under which they can be used. The role of thepsychotherapists is another major difference between the methods ofpsychotherapy treatment. These types include psychoanalysis,behavioral therapy, dance therapy, counseling, family therapy, andcognitive behavior therapy. This paper seeks to explore thedifference and similarities between family theories to cognitivebehavior theory as theories of psychotherapy treatment.


Thefamily theory is also known as the systematic theory. This approachsolely targets families or people in other close relationships tobring about the desired changes in the patients. The measuring toolfor these changes are the systems of socialization among all thepeople in a given family or relationship (Lebow,2013).What makes this type of psychotherapy unique is the fact that it isonly geared towards addressing people’s problem at a family orrelationship level, not an individual level.

Theguiding principle of the family theory is the assumption that therelationships that exist between members of a family or people in agiven relationship are a vital aspect of their emotional well-being.Consequently, the success of this type of psychotherapy depends onthe ability and willingness of the family members to address thechallenges they are facing with a united front to bring about change.A family therapist may face various challenges in the course of theirwork. Lebow(2013), notes that thesechallenges vary from family to family. A family’s social andeconomic status also affects their perception of the theory.Economically and socially disadvantaged families appear to valuefamily therapy more than well off families.

Familytherapy can be used to address challenges that impact families suchas eating disorders, addictions, and other conditions that may hurtthe state of a family. The therapy can be used to treat stressful andtraumatic life occurrences including the death of a loved one,divorce and challenges of family transition. Family theory, ifsuccessfully applied, has myriads of benefits for the involvedfamilies. These include the development of better communicationskills, strengthening the family unit and identifying the strengthsand loopholes. Other advantages are an improved understanding of thefamily functions and setting goals that facilitate the resolution ofthe prevailing problems.

CognitiveBehavior Therapy

Cognitivebehavioral therapy abbreviated as CBT is a widely used type ofpsychotherapy. The greatest benefit of cognitive behavioral therapyis that it helps the patient become more familiar with theirweaknesses and shortcomings and use the realization to deal with thedifficult situations they may be going through. This mode oftreatment works by changing one’s opinions and perceptions ofthings that affect them. As Lebow(2013) confirms, itmainly works by helping the patient break down their big problem intosmaller bits that are easier to deal with.

Cognitivebehavioral therapy is regarded as a very effective tool in dealingwith a broad range of mental disorders, including depression andanxiety. By changing what the patient thinks of themselves and theirsituation, the therapy empowers them to play an on the go part inaltering their situations by changing their mindsets. CBT works onthe principle that the thoughts and beliefs that people have towardsthemselves and the life situations hold the key to their treatment.


Thecommon trait between family theory and cognitive behavioral therapyis that both of them are types psychotherapy geared towards treatingdifferent mental illnesses and disorders. Though they aim to achievedifferent results in different ways, both types have the great goalof helping their patients deal with their mental disorders andillnesses through the assistance of psychotherapists (Lebow,2013).On the other hand, the two theories have entirely differentapproaches that they use to achieve the set treatment goals. Thefamily theory uses the family or other relationships with people asthe key to treating their psychological problems. The cognitivebehavioral therapy, on the other hand, uses people’s thought andbeliefs as the method of treating the psychological problems.


Lebow,J. L. (2013). Twenty-firstcentury psychotherapies: Contemporary approaches to theory andpractice.Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.