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Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a widely used and effective form of therapy used within the mental health field to treat problems in individuals such as anxiety, depression, and anger management. It is also used for those having difficulty reaching personal goals like maintaining a healthy diet and proper exercise. For couples and families, CBT has been used to treat problems such as poor communication, problem-solving, and parenting conflict.

The basic premise of CBT is that behaviors, cognitions (thought processes), and affect (emotions) all influence one another to produce desirable or problematic outcomes in a person’s life. Under ideal circumstances, each of us is able to use healthy and positive thoughts in order to experience positive emotions and engage in healthy behaviors throughout life. However, sometimes unhealthy and negative thoughts that we have have a negative impact on the emotions which we experience and the behaviors in which we engage. When this happens, problems such as high anxiety and depression may develop and negatively impact a person’s life as well as the lives of those around them (e.g., family, friends, and coworkers).

CBT produces change by targeting behaviors (e.g., healthy coping skills), thoughts (e.g., automatic negative thoughts, negative interpretations), and emotions (e.g., sadness, anxiety, anger) to achieve desired outcomes. Compared to other forms of therapy, CBT has a particular emphasis on skills training in order to help you overcome problems and reach your goals. Consistent with the CBT approach, this program includes education (referred to as “psychoeducation”) about the couple conflict and parenting, skills training, and structured assignments to help you create healthy parenting practices during times of couple conflict.

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