Prof Don Baucom and
Dr Melanie Fischer

Cognitive Behavioural Couples Therapy for relationship distress
22nd September 2021

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Don Baucom, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of North Carolina, USA


Melanie Fischer, Ph.D., Margarete-von-Wrangell Fellow, Institute of Medical Psychology, Heidelberg University Hospital, Germany

Cognitive behavioural couple therapy (CBCT) is the most well researched approach to assisting couples who are experiencing relationship distress. A large number of treatment trials concur in demonstrating its efficacy in improving relationship satisfaction, along with a number of central relationship factors such as communication.


Professor Don Baucom is one of the developers of CBCT and has been actively in the field for over four decades. He and Dr. Melanie Fischer have been working together for more than a decade, continuing to develop the research base, clinical application, and dissemination of CBCT. They have given workshops to practicing clinicians in multiple countries on how to implement CBCT in a variety of settings. As practicing clinicians themselves, they are aware of the nuances of clinical practice, along with what we know works and does not work in assisting couples from a research perspective.

 

Abstract

Cognitive Behavioural Couples Therapy for relationship distress

CBCT has its roots in cognitive behaviour therapy, applying and adapting principles and interventions from individual CBT to couples’ committed relationships. Thus, the workshop will address cognitions, emotions, and behaviours that are particularly important in understanding and improving relationship functioning. CBCT also incorporates an ecological perspective, holding that healthy relationships must attend to the well-being of both partners as individuals, the couple as a unit, and how the couple interacts with their environment.


In this workshop, the CBT and contextual models are integrated and provide a flexible, principle-based set of interventions that are adapted to the needs of each couple. Inherent in the model, the workshop also includes a discussion of the importance of addressing diversity to address the needs of couples coming from different cultures, ethnic backgrounds, sexual and gender minorities, and the breadth of ways that couples might vary in seeking to relate effectively with each other.


The workshop has the following key learning objectives:


  1. To present the overall CBCT model, demonstrating how cognitions, emotions, and behaviours can be viewed from a relational perspective.

  2. To demonstrate how clinicians can help couples maintain an adaptive balance among their needs as individuals, the couple as a unit, and how they relate to their environment.

  3. To provide the clinician with a range of specific therapeutic interventions to employ from a CBCT perspective.

  4. To address adaptations of the treatment approach to be sensitive to varying issues related to diversity.

  5. To help clinicians create a healthy therapeutic relationship with the couple, adapting common factors in therapy to the demands and opportunities provided by CBCT.

 

Books by Professor Baucom

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