Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Learning Theory in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Shannon E. ChienEmail author
  • Ryan M. Earl
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_45

Name of Concept

Learning Theory in Couple and Family Therapy.


Learning theory is a conceptual map that attempts to explain the process of behavior modification through practice. There are four major paradigms most relevant to family systems, behaviorism, cognition, constructivism, and humanism, each contributing to the development of certain therapy models and offering guidelines for human development.

Theoretical Context for Concept

What sets learning apart from other behavioral changes in the psychological domain is its possible impact on long-term behavior potential. The human body naturally incurs changes as it ages, much like the brain does through developmental growth, but learning theories incorporate environmental factors to concretize the acquisition of new skills. Socrates is one of the earliest pioneers to identify methods of learning, followed by Hermann Ebbinghaus who set the stage with his discovery of learning and forgetting curves (Marton and Booth 2013)....

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kelley Quirk
    • 1
  • Adam R. Fisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Human Development and Family StudiesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA