Cognitive Therapy with Couples

  • Norman Epstein

Abstract

Although behavior therapists who treat distressed marriages traditionally have acknowledged that spouses’ cognitive appraisals of each other’s behavior play a role in relationship dysfunction, interventions focusing on cognitive components of relationship problems clearly have played a secondary or even a minor role in formal behavioral approaches. However, due to the influence of a general growth of interest in cognitive variables in behavioral models and to the recognition that spouses’ negative beliefs and attitudes easily can undermine even the best conceived behavior-change programs (Jacobson & Margolin, 1979), significant attention now is being paid to the development of assessment and treatment procedures for cognitive factors. In the general cognitive model, an individual’s emotional and behavioral responses to a stimulus (internal or external) are mediated by his or her perception and interpretation of the stimulus rather than elicited directly by objective characteristics of the stimulus (Beck, 1976; Meichenbaum, 1977). In an interpersonal system such as a marriage, the members of the relationship continuously provide stimuli for each other and actively construe the behaviors they exchange. Because marital satisfaction is a subjective state that is related to proportions of idiosyncratically defined pleasing and displeasing behaviors exchanged by spouses (Jacobson & Margolin, 1979; Weiss, 1978), understanding and changing a distressed relationship necessitates attention to cognitive events in the marriage.

Keywords

Cognitive Therapy Marital Satisfaction Irrational Belief Marital Conflict Unrealistic Expectation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norman Epstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Cognitive TherapyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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