Cognitive Behavioral- Case Study


Joe and Mary came to therapy to address communication problems. At the initial session, Joe appeared distant and withdrawn and Mary was angry and tearful. They had been married for 10 years and had two teenage children. As Mary talked about feeling not heard and unimportant, Joe became defensive and stated that he had no idea why she believes that. Treatment entailed helping Joe and Mary understand differences in communication styles between men and women. When Mary was upset, Joe believed he was being thoughtful by offering a solution. In response, Mary felt not heard. Through education about gender differences in communication, Mary realized that Joe was trying to shield her from feeling pain by providing a solution. Her belief about being unimportant was false; Joe indeed cared. Joe came to the understanding that Mary needed her feelings to be acknowledged. The remainder of treatment focused on teaching communication skills, which helped to decrease arguments and bring Joe and Mary greater intimacy.