We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Family Therapy?

By C. Webb
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Cognitive behavioral family therapy (CBFT) is a form of therapy focused on action. The premise of this therapy is that faulty thinking patterns cause dysfunctional choices and behaviors within the family structure. If family members are able to change their cognitive thought process, better choices and decisions may follow.

Therapists often use cognitive behavioral family therapy to treat families impacted by obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, mood disorders, and other mental illnesses that can benefit from an action oriented therapy program. Such illnesses can create havoc within the family, if family members do not know how to react. For example, if someone in the family has severe OCD, other family members may develop a pattern of giving in to the OCD rituals, which in turn may limit their own freedoms and lives. Resentments can stem from this pattern, causing more negative thinking.

Family members work with a cognitive behavioral family therapist to determine behaviors they would like to change. For example, if one child is ADHD and easily distracted and other family members lose their tempers with him or her, it can be counterproductive. In CBFT, family members may set a goal of allowing the ADHD child more time to accomplish tasks at home.

For cognitive behavioral family therapy to be most effective, all family members should actively participate. Other types of therapy, including traditional talk therapy, require less action on the part of clients. Goal setting, effort, and evaluation are hallmark actions required in CBFT.

Changing the thought process of a family takes work. For example, if the adult male in the family has been an alcoholic for years, when he does stop drinking, family members may have a hard time changing their behaviors and attitudes toward him. Cognitive behavioral family therapy can help change the patterned behavior they developed during the alcoholic's drinking days.

Thought patterns are deeply ingrained in the mind. According to the cognitive-behavioral pioneers Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis, automatic thoughts drive most emotional disturbances. The way dysfunctional family members react to each other and the world around them is motivated by disturbed and negative thought patterns that have become habits. Learning to recognize those automatic thoughts and behaviors through cognitive behavioral family therapy can be the first step to changing them.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.