Therapists use theories in assisting their clients with different approaches and techniques. These theories are designed to help the client to receive the best treatment possible. Theories enable us to see things from new angels and perspectives, as well as to allow us to understand more fully the relationships in life. Hagan (2011) research has proven that “One cannot begin teaching the specifics of theoretical influences and practice methods without providing the underpinning foundation of the values and socio-political framework of practices” (p. 222).
Our theories may be incomplete, poorly developed, based on limited nformation, and biased to fit our needs, but we still use them to guide our behaviors. Coakley, 2011 mentions “When our theories are accurate, our predictions help us relate more effectively with others and control more directly what happens in our lives. The best theories are those in which we understand clearly and that help us to make sense of our experiences within the world (Coakley, 2011).
With that being said, because of the components involved in regards to Cognitive Behavior Theory and Family Systems Theory, I have chosen these theories to explore and provide insightful information on. Applying these heories to real life situations (similar to those presented in the case studies), the theory itself will exemplify reasons as to why the theory is chosen to work. Cognitive Behavior Theory Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) was developed by Dr. Aaron T. Beck. According to Corey, this popular approach is based on the assumption that what people believe influences how they act and feel (p 236).
This theory is known to be popular because of its effectiveness. According to Bayle & Nevel (2015), “The main objective of CBT is to alleviate distress by modifying cognitive content and process, in the process ealigning thinking with reality by directly challenging maladaptive thoughts” (p. 26). The use of CBT by a therapist allows the therapist to help the client reframe his/her negative thoughts into a more positive thought or outlook in a situation. The therapist is allowing the client to understand how to take a different approach in considering any given situation.
Building rapport with a client would be beneficial in the process of applying this theory. A strong rapport between the client and the therapist will provide room for him/her to accept new advice and give reasons for the client to want to change negative utcomes. In applying CBT to the 31 year old alcoholic female named Nikki, the therapist would establish a collaborative working relationship with the client. It will make it easy to recognize and address the client’s problems (Automatic Negative Thoughts/ANTS). Alcohol is a negative part of Nikki’s life.
It may have started as an indication of other problems, but now it is the main problem. After recognition, the therapist and client can collaboratively attain goals on the onset of the therapeutic process. The case study reveals that Nikki fears that if she becomes a patient in a residential treatment facility she ay risk her job but also recognizes that she could lose her job if she doesn’t stop drinking. In this case, the therapist can first assist Nikki in recognizing the thoughts she have that drives her to drinking.
Utilizing the ABC model will be an approach that Nikki could benefit from. This model is a functional approach to understanding a client’s problems while addressing them by changing past experiences and consequences. The therapist could apply Meichenbaum’s (2015) cognitive narrative perspective. This perspective focuses on the stories clients tell about themselves regarding important events in their lives. This approach will help Nikki appreciate how she create her realities and how she tell her own stories as well as how she view herself.
Working in a collaborative fashion with Nikki will aid in developing the coping skills needed to achieve treatment goals. In the process of using CBT, one may encounter various difficulties. As with any theory, nothing is absolutely guaranteed to work. Bayles and Nevel’s (2015) article mentions how Aaron Beck (1996) considered it a possibility that a more adaptive methodology was needed to address the shortcomings in the schematic processing theory. These scholars noted that Beck escribed 11 areas that described the shortcomings of his Theory of Modes (Apsche 2005).
Apsche quoted Beck’s (1996) schematic processing theory stating that this “Theory does not fully explain many clinical phenomena and experimental findings” (pg. 52). Because of the flawed clinical methodology described by Beck, Apsche set out to examine the problems, described by Beck, that were not adequately addressed by the model of schematic processing. While reviewing and digesting the list of shortcomings in the cognitive theory, Apsche pinpointed the two most important features that were not considered in the, then current, mode theory.
Apsche noted that the mode theory only related to the conscious processing of information, but excluded the unconscious processing of information. This acknowledgement of unconscious processing explained why disorders could be triggered with less intense experiences (Bayles & Nevel, 2015). An effective therapist is willing to give a try to certain things, but if he/she feels that something else will work better, then the therapist will definitely apply something new.
Everyday findings reveal that these difficulties could very well include that the theory itself could be extremely complicated, focuses on more large and complicated sychological problems, and simply being that it has more of a psychopathological perspective that focuses on completely giving up changing what we do not want to absolutely change or give up. In many situations, providing better ways of looking at situations does not always produce positive feelings. Not every individual believes that by changing the way we think will also change the way we feel.
Family Systems Theory Dr. Murray Bowen introduced the Family Systems Theory. Within this theory, he suggests that individuals cannot be understood in separation from one another, but instead as a part of their family. The Family Systems Theory views the family as an emotional factor and uses systems thinking to describe the multifaceted interactions in this factor. It is the nature of a family that its members are intensely emotionally connected. There are many times in which people feel distant or detached from their families, but there appears to be more emotion than truth.
Families greatly affect their member’s thoughts, feelings, and actions that it often seems as if people are living under the same “sensitive skin”. Families and people need and want each other’s attention, approval, and support. Families react to the needs of their loved ones. When one member of the family is hurting, the pain is felt amongst each family member. The pain feels better when the situations in the family are controlled or taken care of. A modification in an individual’s functioning is in all likelihood followed by the same changes in the effectiveness of others.
Families differ to some extent in the degree of interdependence, but it is always present to some degree. The emotional interdependence probably evolved to encouraged the lovingness and cooperation families require to protect, shelter, and feet their members. Intensified tension, on the other hand, can increase the process that stimulates unity nd teamwork. This can lead to many complications. When family members get apprehensive, the anxiety can heighten by spreading between the members. As anxiety increases, the emotional connectedness of family members becomes more stressful than comforting.
Eventually, one or more members feel overwhelmed, isolated, or out of control. In applying the Family Systems Theory to the case study of John and Chevron, who have been married for seventeen years, and now are making the decision to divorce. Divorce is a prime example of how their situation affects each person in the family. Their situation causes great grief for each of the children ecause these children have developed a sense of security and protection for both parents. The children are accustomed to a particular way of life in which both parents are a part of their lives.
In most divorce situations each spouse was responsible for the failure of the marriage. The reason is that partners each contribute to the conflicts of marital destruction, often with little or no mindfulness of this fact. The tragedy is that the children suffer the most. The therapist’s role is to observe while staying apart from the clients to help them take responsibility for their actions and begin to learn to resolve issues within the family. It is essential that the therapist stay neutral and avoid becoming involved within the family’s emotions by keeping a unbiased position.
In this case, the therapist could apply a multilayered approach to family therapy. The therapist should establish a collaborative therapist-client relationship. This includes having mutual respect, caring, empathy, and a sincere interest. Enabling the family structure and stories to be clearly presented would be the next step. This would take place is conducting the assessment. Since family members involved are from opposite sides, it would be beneficial to create a genogram. Hypothesizing and sharing meaning would be next.
This would be done by forming a set of ideas about John and Chevon’s family and situations that focus meaning in a useful way. Lastly, facilitating changes that the family can make that would be the best outcome is the last step in the multilayered approach. By developing process questions, the family will be able to discover new ways of identifying the problem and ways to address it. Some critics have argued that issues of gender differences are not fully addressed within family systems theory. For example, in cultures where power lies predominantly with men, equality f influence between men and women cannot be expected.
Critics of family systems theory argue that such inequality is often ignored or understated. Another criticisms of family systems theory is that it is model and not a theory. It is believed that the concepts are more methodological than theoretical. However, others argue that whether or not systems theory is actually a theory depends on how one views science. Contrasting/Comparing Both Theories In comparing both theories, it is understood that both theories are designed to address the roots of dysfunction, and to affect change in both the individual as well as the family unit.
According to Hunger and colleagues (2016), the basic concepts of these theories, associated interventions, and even basic assumptions about dysfunction and the nature of change are quite different, as are their own approaches in the therapeutic session. Family systems therapy, for example, is designed for the long term, with treatment sometimes taking years to effectively complete. On the other hand, cognitive-behavioral family therapy sessions are usually more short-termed and takes a more hands-on approach to problem-solving. Bowen’s theories emphasize emotion; Cognitive-behavioral therapies focus on thoughts.
Yet, even with their differences, the two remain popular and even compatible approaches. Many therapists today often combine various interventions from each theory. An integration of psychotherapy techniques is ultimately the best approach, as no single theory is expansive enough to encompass every single individual – or family – that seeks counseling (Corey, 2017). Having completed research on both the CBT theory and the Family Systems Theory and being able to apply each theory to a case study, I would say that I feel more confident in using CBT.
Cognitive behavior therapy allows interventions to be tailored to the needs and strengths of the client. Being able to integrate the client’s beliefs and emotions was interesting in researching this approach. CBT is suited to treat a very diverse population. While applying the theories with a case study, I found it very interesting to know that as long as you can understand the meaning of the theory along with vital research on any particular theory that it helps to apply the theory better.