Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and the Narrative Therapy model

Posted: October 23rd, 2013

The CBT Model and the Narrative Therapy model


The CBT Model and the Narrative Therapy model

            One application of the Cognitive Behavioral Theory that might be used by a pastor in counseling or a therapy session is the A-B-C model (Yarhouse, 2008). In this approach, the family therapy works with individuals in the family to increase awareness on how irrational beliefs and distortions caused by certain actions or events serve as the foundation for their emotional distress. Through this approach, the family therapist can make the individuals in the family understand how the activating events (A) in a family relationship precede beliefs (B) that lead to consequent emotions (C). This approach can identify with the Christian family because it is in harmony with the principles of Christianity, which emphasize on the need to be aware of the consequences of one’s actions (Yarhouse, 2008). In conclusion, the beliefs in the A-B-C approach do not refer to the beliefs in Christianity; instead, they refer to beliefs that are activated by negative actions or events set in motion by an individual’s actions.

I would use the A-B-C model because it applies the assumptions set in the behavioral family therapy model with an additional emphasis on an individual’s thoughts. This model puts the individual’s mental action into consideration by exploring its influence on an individual’s behavior (Yarhouse, 2008). To apply this model in counseling or a therapy session, a therapist simply adds cognitive components to the behavioral family therapy model. These cognitive components are usually in the form of irrational thoughts. With the cognitive components in place, the process of applying this model will be a systematic process that begins with formal assessment to determine the functional analysis and the baseline in the situation. Afterwards, the therapist will apply this technique in an attempt to arrive to a solution while putting into consideration the family’s beliefs (Yarhouse, 2008).

The narrative therapy model does not put into consideration the ideas and thoughts that are derived by Christian families from the Holy Bible. This therapy model puts more emphasis on individual stories from families as compared to cultural narratives, which have been dominant for years and generations passed. This has been mainly because of postmodernism, which allows this theory to brush away any form of universal truths drawn from religious contexts (Yarhouse, 2008). Although the narratives from dominant cultures may appear far-fetched in their theoretical claims and philosophical commitments, this family therapy model is not correct in its assumption. It is preposterous to attempt to reduce a strong culture like Christianity into a mere perspective in the realm of family therapy. One cannot justify the denial of the existence of metanarratives with postmodernism because they would be contradicting themselves by unknowingly classifying postmodernism as a metanarrative at the same time (Yarhouse, 2008).

In my opinion, there are many reasons as to why the narrative family therapy model can never fit into the Christian framework. For instance, this model will always challenge the fundamental beliefs and principles that Christianity has been built on and preserved for centuries and generations. Furthermore, the post modernistic approach in this model fails to provide room for the interaction between Christianity and other fields of study like science (Yarhouse, 2008). To many Christian families, the meaning of life is derived from a combination of Christianity and other forms of study that attempt to unravel the mystery behind life’s countless phenomena and an attempt to server such a relationship will always be futile. In conclusion, Christianity has always drawn a clear line between good and bad. Therefore, the failure of the narrative family therapy model define in detail what differentiates a dysfunctional family from a functional one adds to the reasons why this model will never fit into a Christian framework.



Yarhouse, M. A., & Sells, J. N. (2008). Family therapies: A comprehensive Christian appraisal. Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic.

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