The restructuring of family schemas: A cognitive-behavior perspective

Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, USA.
Journal of Marital and Family Therapy (Impact Factor: 1.01). 02/2005; 31(1):15-30.
Source: PubMed


Cognitive-behavior therapists define schemas as cognitive structures that organize thought and perception. Schemas are also viewed as having an integral influence on emotion and behavior In this article, I examine the role of schema in family conflict and the specific interventions used in restructuring them during the course of family therapy. Further discussion highlights the concepts of attributions, assumptions, and family standards, and the role they play in schemas, as well as the overall family dynamics. Finally, a series of steps are suggested for facilitating the process of schema analysis and thought restructuring during the process of family therapy.

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    • "Repair of hurts and misunderstandings is crucial. Cognitive-behavioral couple and family therapy (CBCFT; Dattilio, 2005, 2010) addresses the subjective meanings and emotional experiences of family members that contribute to the persistence of rigid family rules and dysfunctional behavioral patterns. Therapists focus on five types of cognitions influencing relational problems: (1) selective perception of others and the relationship ; (2) causal attributions for events in the family; (3) expectancies, or future predictions; (4) assumptions about others and relationships; and (5) standards— beliefs about what characteristics couples and families should have. "
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    ABSTRACT: C onstructions of family normality, health, and dysfunction, which are embedded in our cultural and professional belief systems, underlie all clinical theory and practice. These assumptions exert a powerful and largely unexamined influence in every family assessment and intervention. The field of mental health has long neglected the study and promotion of health. In the concentration on mental illness, family normality became equated with the absence of symptoms, a situation rarely, if ever, seen in the clinical setting. Assumptions about healthy families were largely speculative and utopian, extrapolated from experience with disturbed clinical cases. Scant attention was given to the stressful challenges and strengths of ordinary families in the community or their larger social context. Clinical practice and research in the mid-20th century, grounded in medi-cal and psychoanalytic paradigms, focused on the understanding and treat-ment of psychopathology. The family was viewed darkly in terms of damag-ing influences in the etiology of individual disturbances. Indeed, throughout much of the clinical literature, families were portrayed as noxious and destructive influences. Focused narrowly on a dyadic view of early childhood attachments, "parenting" was equated with "mothering," with the terms used
    Normal Family Processes: Growing Diversity and Complexity, 4th edited by Froma Walsh, 01/2012: chapter Clinical views of family normality, health, and dysfunction: From a deficit to a strengths perspective: pages 27-54; Guilford Press.
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    • "problems might continue to be considered as deficits located within a dysfunctional family, there is likewise a focus on family strengths, resilience, and resources. There are numerous new models: Cognitive Behavioral Family Therapy (Dattilio, 2005), Functional Family Therapy (Alexander & Sexton, 2002; Sexton & Alexander, 1999), Internal Family Systems (Schwartz, 1995, 1999), Emotionally Focused Therapy (Greenberg & Johnson, 1988; Johnson, 2004), and attention to larger systems (Imber- Black, 1988). Integrative approaches include, but are not limited to, Scheinkman's (2008) multilevel road map with couples, Fraenkel's (2009) therapeutic palette, Madsen's (2007, 2009) collaborative therapy, and Weingarten's (2000, 2003, 2004, 2010) work in witnessing and hope. "
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    ABSTRACT: Integrative approaches seem to be paramount in the current climate of family therapy and other psychotherapies. However, integration between and among theories and practices can only occur within a specific epistemology. This article makes a distinction between three different epistemologies: individualizing, systems, and poststructural. It then makes the argument that one can integrate theories within epistemologies and one can adopt practices and some theoretical concepts across theories and across epistemologies, but that it is impossible to integrate theories across epistemologies. It further states that although social constructionism has influenced much of contemporary psychological thinking, because of the divergence between a structural and a poststructural approach, constructionism looks different depending upon one's epistemological stance. Examples of integration within epistemologies and of what looks like integration across epistemologies (but is not) further illustrate these important distinctions. The conclusions reached here are crucial to our philosophical considerations, our pedagogical assumptions, and implications for both research and a reflexive clinical practice. Los enfoques integradores parecen ser primordiales en el ambiente actual de terapia familiar y otras psicoterapias. Sin embargo, la integración entre teorías y prácticas solo puede ocurrir dentro de una epistemología específica. En este artículo se hace una distinción entre tres epistemologías diferentes: individualizadora, sistémica y postestructural. Luego se argumenta que uno puede integrar teorías dentro de epistemologías y adoptar prácticas y algunos conceptos teóricos a través de teorías y a través de epistemologías, pero que es imposible integrar teorías a través de epistemologías. Además se establece que aunque el construccionismo social ha influenciado gran parte del pensamiento psicológico contemporáneo, a raíz de la divergencia entre un enfoque estructural y uno postestructural, el construccionismo cambia según la postura epistemológica de cada uno. Se proporcionan ejemplos de integración dentro de epistemologías y de lo que parece integración a través de epistemologías (pero no lo es) para poner de manifiesto estas distinciones importantes. Las conclusiones a las que se llega son decisivas para nuestras consideraciones filosóficas, nuestros supuestos pedagógicos y las implicancias para la investigación y la práctica clínica reflexiva. Palabras clave: epistemología, integrador, postestructural, construccionismo social, sistemas
    Family Process 09/2010; 49(3):349-68. DOI:10.1111/j.1545-5300.2010.01327.x · 1.73 Impact Factor
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    • "The CBT therapist may be more likely to focus on the automatic thoughts, schemas (i.e., in this case, deep-seated cognitions about relationships) and behaviors that perpetuate the cycle (Dattilio, 2005). He or she may help the clients explore alternative explanations to their partner's behavior, and help each partner explore different ways of responding to each other, which would thus alter the cycle. "
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    ABSTRACT: Proponents of the common factors movement in marriage and family therapy (MFT) suggest that, rather than specific models of therapy, elements common across models of therapy and common to the process of therapy itself are responsible for therapeutic change. This article-the second of two companion articles-reports on a study designed to further investigate common factors in couple therapy. We used grounded theory techniques to analyze data from interviews with MFT model developers Dr. Susan M. Johnson, Dr. Frank M. Dattilio, Dr. Richard C. Schwartz, former students of Dr. Johnson and Dr. Schwartz, and each of their clients who had been successful in couple therapy. This article reports model-independent variables, that is, general aspects of therapy that are not directly related to the therapist's model. Model-independent categories include client variables, therapist variables, the therapeutic alliance, therapeutic process, and expectancy and motivational factors, each with several subcategories. We also present a conceptual framework that outlines how model-dependent and model-independent common factors may interact to produce change. We discuss our findings and proposed framework in relation to the current common factors literature in psychology and MFT. We also discuss clinical, training, and research implications.
    Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 08/2007; 33(3):344-63. DOI:10.1111/j.1752-0606.2007.00031.x · 1.01 Impact Factor
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