Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy with Couples and Families: A Comprehensive Guide for Clinicians

By Feisthamel, Kevin P. | American Journal of Psychotherapy, January 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy with Couples and Families: A Comprehensive Guide for Clinicians


Feisthamel, Kevin P., American Journal of Psychotherapy


FRANK M. DATTILIO: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy with Couples and Families: A Comprehensive Guide for Clinicians. New York: The Guilford Press, 2010, 282 pp., $35.00, ISBN 978-1-60623-453-2.

Although a vast majority of books have been published on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with couples and families, very few, if any, have provided a volume so rich and comprehensive with techniques focused on clinical practice as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy with Couples and Families: A Comprehensive Guide for Clinicians by Frank Dattilio. This book offers an updated review of CBT literature focusing on family systems theory, attachment, schemas in relationships, neurobiology, methods of clinical assessment, and counseling techniques. Frank M. Dattilio is regarded as one of the leading experts in the field of CBT and couple and family therapy providing more than 250 professional publications in the area of couple and family problems, anxiety, and behavioral disorders. In addition, Frank Dattilio's work has been translated into more than 27 languages and used in over 80 countries.

The application of CBT to couples and families is immediately made apparent to the readers in the beginning of the book with evidence showing the effectiveness of CBT to various client populations. Additional strengths of the book include Chapter 3 (The Schema Component in CBT), Chapter 5 (Methods of Clinical Assessment), Chapter 6 (Cognitive-Behavioral Techniques), and Chapter 7 (Special Topics). For example, Chapter 3 introduces Jeffery Young's theory of Schema Therapy that is broken down into four levels: 1) early maladaptive schemas 2) schema maintenance 3) schema avoidance and 4) schema compensation. These four levels of schema are useful for clinicians working with clients that have a chronic disturbance or a personality disorder. Hence, this chapter provides a strong emphasis on schema identification and schema restructuring. Chapter 5 outlines all the major components associated with a clinical assessment such as the interview process, building rapport, useful inventories and questionnaires (e.g., the Family Environment Scale) for couples and families, genograms, structured family interactions, behavioral observations of the family dynamics, assessment of cognitions (e.g., Socratic questioning), targeting maladaptive behaviors, and assessing a families motivation to change, to name a few. …

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