BRIEF COUPLES THERAPY: LESSONS FROM THE HISTORY OF BRIEF INDIVIDUAL TREATMENT

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Abstract

In the author's attempt to grasp the controversies facing brief couples therapy it was useful to apply the principles of brief individual psychotherapy, learned earlier by such pioneers as Malan, Davanloo, and Gustafson, to major, contemporary, couples treatment models: emotionally focused treatment, integrative behavioral couple treatment, nontraditional ego-analytic couples therapy, and the narrative, solution-focused, and strategic schools. This exercise illustrates that present-day couples therapy faces important theoretical and technical dilemmas that impede its development toward a mature system of brief treatment. When some resolution to these dilemmas can be gained, brief couples therapy can progress into a consolidation phase.

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