Counselling Theory


This assessment is going to provide detailed information about counselling theories that are provided by the psychiatrist to their clients in order to resolve problems related to family or themselves. This research is going to discuss about the case study of Tom who is a 25 years old boy lost his father five months ago due to heart attack. As per the case study Tom was not with his father since last 5 years but the death of his father surely affected him in such a way that his emotions turned into aggression which he shows to his colleagues. Hence Tom needs to treat with proper counselling theory in order to fix all the problems.

History and Evaluation of theories

In the history and evaluation of theories section proper information will be provided regarding both the selected theory which is cognitive behaviour theory and family system therapy. A proper evaluation of both the theories will be made in order to understand both the theories in a more specific and precise way.

Cognitive Behaviour Theory

According to Curwen, Palmer & Ruddell, (2018) The psychologist uses the cognitive behaviour theory in order o different types of mental health and issues that affects any individual. According to the theory every human has his own idea of thinking, in regards the thinking he acts and feel which is known as emotions and as per the situation he reacts which defines the behaviour. It can be said that the Cognitive Behaviour Theory analyze three things which are thoughts, emotion a behaviour or actions.

The Cognitive Behavioural Theory is used by the psychologist in the counselling session in order to make the client or patient aware that negative thinking initiates negative behaviour and reactions with other and sometimes it can be harmful for the client as well others. By using the cognitive behavioural thinking the psychologist helps the client to help them to understands about alternative thinking of a particular thing as it helps in reducing stress that are related to psychological.

Family System Therapy

The root of the family therapy can be observed in the 20th century when the child guidance and marriage counselling theory was introduced. According to the family system theory the client’s behaviour and actions towards something is derived from his family. In a simple language it can be said the actions and types of behaviour that the client or patient shows happens due to some family problems and from relationship of intimacy with the family (Van Gasse & Mortelmans, 2020). It is a kind of psychotherapy that is used by the psychologist in order to solve any kind of conflict that is going with the client’s family or the client’s is creating problem because of his family. The family system theory was introduced by Bowen in somewhere between 1960s in order to resolve the problems of such client who suffers psychological problem due to their family.

Details about the theories

Cognitive Behaviour Theory

The cognitive behaviour theory states that the perception of any individual on some matter influence their emotions, behaviour and reactions. For instance it can be said that if a person is behaving has recently lost faith in god due to the loss of his mother then that person will definitely avoid anything that is related to godlike. The person will simply deny to believe that god exist in this world. In case of the cognitive behaviour theory the psychologists believe that when the patient faces any situation that creates a negative or positive impact on the patient then the person will react, behave and show his emotions according to the situation (Cooper et. al 2017). If the patient experienced any negative situation or incident then he will react rudely or sadly, his behaviour towards others will be weird and sometimes strange and in terms of emotions that person can either show sadness all the time or sometime can be very much violent against others. In case of Tom same thing has been observed by the counsellor as the violent behaviour of his towards his colleagues as he thinks that this behaviour is connected to the death of his father.

Family System Therapy

According to Hanlie, (2017) In the family system therapy the work of the therapist is to make the families and individual understand that the important functions of family. The therapists in the family system therapy make their client understand that how family is important in the cognitive and emotional development. The members of the family are emotionally attracted towards each other and share bonds and connection with each other. The therapist by using the family system theory system theory tries to understand the problems of the family and provides appropriate solutions in order to remove the conflicts in the family. In terms of any individual patient the therapist uses the family system theory in order to understand how the behaviour of the patient is evolving and how the family is responsible towards the behaviour and actions of the client. By using the family system therapy the psychologist get an in-depth knowledge and information about problem or situation that is going in the family. Through this therapy the therapist will be able to understand the core of the problem of Tom and once it is identified then they analyze the problem and in the end provide appropriate suggestion to the patient or his family.

Comparison and Contrast between the theories

Similarity- It can be said that both the theories which are cognitive behaviour therapy and family system therapy have the same goal and that is treating patients who are suffering from psychological problem. It can be said that the therapist in the current case study that is related to Tom who discovered his father’s death after five years during which he was estranged from his father can use both the theories in order to understand the problem in a more detail manner (Rathod, Phiri & Naeem, 2019). The main similarity between both the theories is that both of them are used by the therapist in the treatment procedure of the client. Both the theories are used in order to get best solution for the patients. By using both the theories the therapist provide relevant suggestions which help the patients to stay psychologically fit and strong. Using both the theories the therapist will be able to provide better solution and guidance to Tom who is already suffering from emotional issues of anger.

Dissimilarity- Now in terms of comparison both the theories have different ways to deal with the problems. In understanding the dissimilarity of both the theories the first theory which is cognitive behaviour theory believes that the behaviour, emotion and actions of a person is based on the situation and incident that took place in the person’s life. In case of Tom his behaviour towards his colleagues changes after the death of his father (Turel & Qahri-Saremi, 2016). In the meanwhile Tom was in moderate contact with his mother and didn’t like his brother very much. On the other hand the family system theory states that the family is responsible for emotional, and behaviour of a person. The family creates a major impact on the socially and mentally on the person.

Recommending best theory

It can be said that both cognitive behaviour theory and family system theory is useful for providing the better solution for any patient but as the case study of Tom it can be said that the most effective theory is the family system theory. In case of tom it has been seen that he was away from his father for five years then suddenly he discovered that his father is dead. After the death of his father there was a huge change in Tom’s behaviour which made Tom a very aggressive and impulsive person. The ethical risk in the story is that if Tom is not treated properly then this violent behaviour of his will end in a worst way. After analyzing the case study it can be said that Tom’s strength is his mother with whom he kept moderate contact. Tom’s father always tendered Tom’s elder brother Steve which shows that the main reason for the conflict. It can be said that the best method to resolve this problem is using the family system theory where the therapist should resolve all the conflict and misunderstanding that took place between Tom and his elder brother Steve. By resolving this problem the therapist should make Tom and his family understand how they are important for each other and this will be the best way to change Tom for betterment.


It has been from the above that both the cognitive behaviour theory and family system theory is used by the psychologist for the treatment process of a person. It has been concluded from the above that Tom was suffering from severe trauma after the death of his father as he was away from his father since last five years and hearing the news of his father’s death Tom was completely shattered and chose the negative and violent behaviour which he was showing to his colleagues. It has been also concluded from the above that family system theory is best that is recommended in case of Tom as according to the psychologist both Tom and his family can understand each other and by this Tom will also feel wanted which will change his behaviour and perspective.




Curwen, B., Palmer, S., & Ruddell, P. (2018). Brief cognitive behaviour therapy. Sage.

Cooper, Kate, James D. Gregory, Ian Walker, Sinead Lambe, and Paul M. Salkovskis. "Cognitive behaviour therapy for health anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis." Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy 45, no. 2 (2017): 110-123.

Van Gasse, D., & Mortelmans, D. (2020). Reorganizing the Single?Parent Family System: Exploring the Process Perspective on Divorce. Family Relations.

Hanlie, A. (2017). Family interaction patterns in maternal alcohol abuse: an application of Murray Bowen’s family system theory (Doctoral dissertation, Nelson Mandela University).

Rathod, S., Phiri, P., & Naeem, F. (2019). An evidence-based framework to culturally adapt cognitive behaviour therapy. The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist12.

Turel, O., & Qahri-Saremi, H. (2016). Problematic use of social networking sites: antecedents and consequence from a dual-system theory perspective. Journal of Management Information Systems33(4), 1087-1116.


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