This chapter offers a brief and focused review of human development, with specific emphasis on cognition and emotion. It is essential that the reader distinguishes between cognitive development, cognitive psychology, and cognitive therapy. Both short-term and long-term memory improve, partly as a result of other cognitive developments such as learning strategies. Adolescents have the cognitive ability to develop hypotheses, or guesses, about how to solve problems. The pattern of cognitive decline varies widely and the differences can be related to environmental factors, lifestyle factors, and heredity. Wisdom is a hypothesized cognitive characteristic of older adults that includes accumulated knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge to practical problems of living. Cognitive style and format make the mysterious understandable for the individual. Equally, an understanding of an individual’s cognitive style and content help the clinician better understand the client and structure therapeutic experiences that have the greatest likelihood of success.
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Over the past 25 years there has been a growing recognition of the importance of working with families of persons with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and treatment-refractory depression. Family intervention can be provided by a wide range of professionals, including social workers, psychologists, nurses, psychiatrists, and counselors. This chapter provides an overview of two empirically supported family intervention models for major mental illness: behavioral family therapy (BFT) and multifamily groups (MFGs), both of which employ a combination of education and cognitive behavior techniques such as problem solving training. Some families have excellent communication skills and need only a brief review, as provided in the psychoeductional stage in the handout “Keys to Good Communication”. One of the main goals of BFT is to teach families a systematic method of solving their own problems.