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Posted: August 3rd, 2020

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Group Settings Versus Family Settings Essay

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Group Settings Versus Family Settings

Group therapy normally consists of two or more people who participate in therapy sessions in the setting a professional setting, place of worship, public setting and home setting (Yalom, 2005). This kind of therapy can be applied to a range of mental health disorders. Group therapy assists to improve one’s self-awareness, self-motivation, self-esteem while decreasing feelings of isolation (Yalom, 2005). Benefiting from this type of treatment group requires that the individual try as much as possible to participate, open up and talk about their issues and challenges (Yalom, 2005). Group interactions involve the opportunity to learn and exchange of information (Yalom, 2005).

Group CBT is considered to be a process of which interpersonal interactions take place among group members and group leaders (Nichols, 2014). The unity of the group in CBT is a factor that brings about a sense of trust and support from other members of the group (Yalom, 2005). According to Yalom (2005) CBT in groups should foster an environment which childhood experiences can be shared and the meanings behind one’s views, feelings, and thoughts are uncovered. Experiments and action plans within the areas that a group member may need to work on is discussed and throughout the course of therapy, progress is made toward improving individual functioning (Yalom, 2005). Individuals needing additional insight from the therapist may not receive it because therapy is centered around group therapy (Nichols, 2014).

Family therapy consists of family members who partake in psychotherapy sessions to assist with issues of family stress, anger, conflict and grief. Individual patterns of behaviors are examined so that the root of a problem within the family unit are examined (Patterson, 2014). Family CBT is focused on assisting family members to think, behave and adapt as a unit while learning to make better choices so that the family environment is more stable and peaceful (Patterson 2014). When providing CBT, therapists often see family members individually and as a whole so that a full picture of the family dynamics obtained as well as to be able to work more in depth with each person regarding their role or contributions to the family functioning and dysfunction (Patterson, 2014). Throughout the course of therapy, progress is made toward improving family functioning (Patterson, 2014). These sessions can be helpful to many families because the family members are often the ones who can and help to aid the family back to recovery (Patterson, 2014).

Examples in My Practicum Setting

Group CBT sessions that are provided in my practicum setting are classes for individuals dealing with anger management issues that may be related to their troubled relationships, their inability to control their emotions, and domestic violence offenses. Group parenting CBT classes that are offered at my clinical site involve those parents who have been accused of child abuse or neglect, have issues or are trying to enhance their parenting skills, or may have a history of substance abuse. Family CBT is provided to at-risk families, adopted families, families who have unresolved conflict, families dealing with individuals with addiction and behavioral issues as well as families who need assistance improving their communication skills or coping skills.

Two Challenges Counselors May Encounter When Using CBT in Group Settings

One obstacle therapists may encounter when using CBT in groups is that clients are more likely to recognize cognitive errors made by others than the errors that are made by themselves which can lead

to the ineffectiveness of therapy (Yalom, 2005). Another obstacle that therapists may face is that CBT group approaches may either support or undermine the overall goals of learning and the use of cognitive and behavioral strategies (Yalom, 2005). The diversity in patients can also impair the ability of members to make connections which causes individuals to be singled out which can obstruct the organization of the group (Yalom, 2005). Therapists must be able to find a balance between their attention to the group’s relationship versus the need to teach certain principles and techniques (Yalom, 2005). Other obstacles counselors may face are low rates of homework completion and the lack of progress in the treatment plan (Yalom, 2005).


Nichols, M. (2014). The essentials of family therapy (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Patterson, T. (2014). A cognitive behavioral systems approach to family therapy. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 25(2),132-144.

Yalom. I. D., & Leszcz, M. (2005). The theory and practice of group psychotherapy (5th ed.). New York, NY: Basic Books.


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