Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 191–200 | Cite as

A Cognitive-behavioral Approach to Reconstructing Intergenerational Family Schemas



This article suggests the use of cognitive-behavioral techniques, namely cognitive restructuring combined with family-of-origin sessions, for reconstructing intergenerational family schemas. A case example portrays the use of the techniques as an effective intervention for addressing ingrained schemas, such as in the case of spousal abuse.


Family-of-origin Intergenerational family therapy Schemas Cognitive-behavior therapy Family therapy 


  1. Barnett, O. W., Miller-Perrin, C. L., & Perrin, R. D. (2005). Family violence across the lifespan: An introduction (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  2. Beck, A. T. (1967). Depression: Clinical, experimental and theoretical aspects. New York: Hoeber.Google Scholar
  3. Beck, A. T., Rush, J. A., Shaw, B. F., & Emery, G. (1979). Cognitive therapy of depression. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bowen, M. (1978). Family therapy in clinical practice. New York: Aronson.Google Scholar
  5. Carter, B., & McGoldrick, M. (1988). The changing family life cycle: A framework for family therapy (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  6. Conger, R. D., Neppl, T., Kim, K. J., & Scaramella, L. (2003). Angry and aggressive behavior across three generations: A prospective, longitudinal study of parents and children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 31(12), 143–161.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dattilio, F. M. (1993). Cognitive techniques with couples and families. The Family Journal, 1, 51–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dattilio, F. M. (2001). Cognitive-behavior family therapy: Contemporary myths and misconceptions. Contemporary Family Therapy, 23, 3–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dattilio, F. M. (2005). The restructuring of family schemas: A cognitive-behavioral perspective. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 31(1), 15–30.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dattilio, F. M., & Epstein, N. B. (2003). Cognitive-behavior couple and family therapy. In T. L. Sexton, G. R. Weeks, & M. S. Robbins (Eds.), Handbook of family therapy (pp.147–173). New York: Brunner-Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Dattilio, F. M., Epstein, N. B., & Baucom, D. H. (1998). Introduction to cognitive-behavior therapy with couples and family. In F. M. Dattilio (Ed.), Case studies in couple and family therapy: Systemic and cognitive perspectives (pp. 1–36). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  12. Epstein, N., Schlesinger, S., & Dryden, W. (1988). Concepts and methods of cognitive-behavior family treatment. In N. Epstein, N. Schlesinger, & W. Dryden (Eds.), Cognitive-behavior therapy with families (pp. 5–48). New York: Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar
  13. Fleury, R. E., Sullivan, C. M., Bybee, D., & Davidson, W. S. (1988). “Why don’t they call the cops?” Reasons for differential contact among women with abusive partners. Violence & Victims, 13, 333–346.Google Scholar
  14. Framo, J. L. (1976). Family of origin as a therapeutic resource for adults in marital and family therapy: You can and should go home again. Family Process, 15, 193–210.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Giat Roberto, L. (1992). Transgenerational family therapy. Guilford Press, New York.Google Scholar
  16. Goodwin, D. (1991). The etiology of alcoholism. In D. J. Pittmjan, H. R. White, & Rutgers (Eds.), Society, culture and drinking patterns reexamined (pp. 598–608). New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies.Google Scholar
  17. Grant, B. F. (1998). The impact of a family history of alcoholism on the relationship between age onset of alcohol use and DSM-IV Alcohol Dependence - Results from the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey. Alcohol Health Research World, 22f(2), 144–147. Google Scholar
  18. Guerin, P. J., & Pendagast, E. G. (1976). Evaluation of family system and genogram. In P. J. Guerin (Ed.), Family therapy: Theory and practice (pp. 450–464). New York: Gardner Press.Google Scholar
  19. Hamberger, L. K., & Holtzworth-Munroe, A. (2006). Partner violence. In F. M. Dattilio, & A. Freeman (Eds.), Cognitive-behavioral strategies in crisis intervention (3rd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  20. Kerr, M. E., & Bowen, M. (1988). Family evaluation. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  21. Klever, P. (2004). The multigenerational transmission of nuclear family processes and symptoms. American Journal of Family Therapy, 32, 337–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Klever, P. (2005). The multigenerational transmission of family unit functioning. American Journal of Family Therapy, 33, 253–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Larson, J. H., & Wilson, S. N. (1998). Family of origin influences on young adult career decision problems: A test of bowenian theory. American Journal of Family Therapy, 26, 39–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Miller, R. B., Anderson, S., & Keala, D. K. (2004) Is Bowen theory valid? A review of basic research. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 30(4), 453–466.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. National Institute of Mental Health. (1998). Genetics and mental disorders: Report of the NUMH genetics workgroup. NIMH Publication No. NIH-98-4268. Bethesda, MD.Google Scholar
  26. Schwebel, A. I., & Fine, M. A. (1994). Understanding and helping families: A cognitive-behavior approach. Hillsdales, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  27. Sullivan, P., Neal, M., & Kendler, K. (2000). General epidemiology of major depression: Review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Psychiatry, 157, 1552–1562.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Thornberry, T. P., Freeman-Gallant, A., Lizotte, A. J., Krohn, M. D., & Smith, C. A. (2003). Linked lives: The intergenerational transmission of antisocial behavior. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 31(12), 171–185.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Windle, M. (1996). On the discriminative validity of a family history of problem drinking index with a national sample of young adults. Journal of the Study of Alcohol, 57, 378–386.Google Scholar
  30. Wright, J. H., & Beck, A. T. (1993). Family cognitive therapy with inpatients. In J. H. Wright, M. E. Thase, A. T. Beck, & J. W. Ludgate (Eds.), Cognitive therapy with inpatients (pp. 176–190). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryHarvard Medical SchoolAllentownUSA

Personalised recommendations