Chapter

The Integration of Solution-Focused and Behavioral Marital Therapies

CARRIE BECKER, JACQUELINE CORCORAN and KRISTIN A. GARELL

in Building Strengths and Skills

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780195154306
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199864287 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195154306.003.0010
 The Integration of Solution-Focused and Behavioral Marital Therapies

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This chapter applies the strengths- and skills-building model in a couples modality. In solution-focused therapy, clients are asked questions that will focus on the positive aspects of their partner's behavior and the small improvements that will signal a positive change. An emphasis on exceptions is believed to result in both changed perceptions of the partner's behavior and an expansion of desired behaviors. Motivational interviewing can be used in a couples format when partners are ambivalent about staying in the relationship, attending counseling, or following through with skills taught in couples therapy. Both behavioral and solution-focused approaches center on specific behaviors rather than interpretations partners make of each other, which are often negative attributions of the partner's intent. Such negative attributions can be reframed to reflect a more positive intent. Conversations about the past, which is seen as impossible to change, are transformed into descriptions of desired actions by the partner. These principles are translated into a case example involving a couple in which the husband suffers from a long-standing anxiety disorder.

Keywords: couples therapy; marital therapy; behavioral marital therapy; anxiety; relationship; counseling

Chapter.  7141 words. 

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