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Emotionally-Focused Couple Therapy

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1. The results of the pilot study comparing pharmacotherapy and EFCT for depressed women with concurrent relationship distress (Dessaulles, Johnson, & Denton, 2003) raised interesting questions about the possible effectiveness of couple therapy for what are typically seen as individual problems. As a counsellor, how might you assess an individual client to determine whether couple (or family) therapy might in fact be equally effective, or more effective?

2. If you thought it might make sense to change the case to a couple/family case, how might you speak to the client about this? How might you make the transition from an individual case to a couple/family case?

3. Finally, speculate about how might you speak to the other member of the couple (or to the other members of the family) in the first conjoint session, to minimize the effect of your having already had one individual session with the initial client?


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1. As a counsellor, you might speak to an individual in explaining that his or her problem is dependent on the functioning of a relationship. Couple therapy is focused on solving problems in a relationship. The therapeutic process is based on resolving conflicts that couples cannot handle effectively. Research suggests that the problems in the marital relationship may depend on how couples grow in their relationship. The idea is that there a core attachment is needed to improve relationships. For instance, Emanuels-Zuurveen and Emmelcamp, 1997 as cited in Dessaulles, Johnson & Denton, 2003) point to marital discord and depression among couples that have prompted several efforts to treat depression utilizing couple therapy.

For instance, they utilized a "partner assisted approach: to treat depression of distressed couples with individual approaches to therapy. They found that while individual therapy session led to an improvement in depression ratings, the marital functioning of the couple did not improve. These findings led to their conclusion by that only a couple intervention approach led to an improved marital functioning.

Thus, while behavior marital therapy (BMT) and individual approaches such as cognitive therapy were found to be equally effective. e in treating depression. BMT was the only treatment that had a significant positive impact on relationship ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses Emotion-Focused Couple Therapy relative to attachment and distinct differences.