ESSAY: Applying Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Define the problem for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Formulate a theory-based treatment plan including short- and long-term goals for the couples and/or families.
Describe two theory-based interventions you would use and justify your selection.
Explain one anticipated outcome of each.


Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapeutic treatment that assists patients in understanding the feelings and thoughts that influence and encourage certain behaviors in them or their loved ones (Dobson & Dobson, 2018). This treatment takes on a practical and hands-on approach to solving the problems the patients may be facing. CBT is applicable in treating a wide range of problems such as addiction, depression, anxiety and relationship problems. The goal of this approach is to change the individual’s pattern of thinking, attitudes, and behavior, to change the way they feel and think about the situation. 

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The couple featured in the video is dealing with an addiction to alcohol and marijuana. Both of them are struggling with the issue, meaning that while they have to face it together they also need to be in a position to tackle their attitudes and behaviors individually. Additionally, the therapy should help the couple to stop using and eventually lead a life free of drug and alcohol abuse.

Treatment Plan

The treatment plan appropriate for the couple, in this case, is the CBT approach, in which they should have a session with their therapist once a week. Each session is expected to last for approximately 50 minutes and lasting at least 10 months (David et al., 2018). The couple should meet with the therapist together on most of these sessions, therefore helping them form a strong support structure for each other. There are various short term goals required of this psychotherapeutic approach. The first is to restore positive relationships that may have been damaged by drug and alcohol abuse. The second short term goal is to change the behavior of drug use as well as any other urges linked to their addiction. There are some long term goals expected of the treatment plan as well. One of them is to help the couple find the self-confidence to overcome and resist any form of addiction even after the therapy sessions (Pietrangelo, 2019). Besides that, the couple’s attitudes, emotions, and behaviors are expected to change therefore, allowing them to focus on other positive activities that can assist in strengthening their relationship while bettering their lives.


One theory-based intervention is the use of the journaling technique. The therapist could ask the couple to individually list any negative thoughts and feelings they may experience during the session, after which they get to identify the positive thoughts they could replace them with. It is also applicable in helping keep track of any new thoughts and habits practiced (Martin, 2019). The second intervention is the use of the role-playing technique. In the couple’s case, it helps them understand each other better at a personal level. Also, it helps in improving their problem solving, social and communication skills.


The anticipated outcome from the journaling technique is to give the patients a visual of how far they have come since the beginning of their therapy sessions.  Being able to identify one’s progress after going through a difficult situation like addiction, gives the individual the confidence to not only change their attitudes but gain the confidence to fight any temptations they face in the future (David et al., 2018). The outcome expected from the role-playing intervention is the creation of a deeper understanding and relationship between the two. As they….


David, D., Cristea, I., & Hofmann, S. G. (2018). Why cognitive behavioral therapy is the current gold standard of psychotherapy. Frontiers in Psychiatry9, 4.

Dobson, D., & Dobson, K. S. (2018). Evidence-based practice of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Guilford Publications.

Martin, B. (2019, June 19). In-Depth: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Psych Central.

Pietrangelo, A. (2019, December 12). CBT Techniques: Tools for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Healthline.

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