Brief Therapy and Family/Couple Therapy: An Essential Redundancy
Article first published online: 11 MAY 2006
Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice
Volume 8, Issue 1, pages 51–65, March 2001
How to Cite
Gurman, A. S. (2001), Brief Therapy and Family/Couple Therapy: An Essential Redundancy. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 8: 51–65. doi: 10.1093/clipsy.8.1.51
- Issue published online: 11 MAY 2006
- Article first published online: 11 MAY 2006
- Received August 11, 2000; accepted August 11, 2000.
- brief therapy;
- couple therapy;
- family therapy;
- marital therapy
“Brief” therapy and “family/couple” therapy are largely overlapping and redundant. Although there are almost no family/couple therapies that explicitly set time limits on treatment as a matter of course, the four central technical factors of brief therapy almost inevitably lead to therapeutic brevity in systems-oriented treatment. In this paper I emphasize that family/couple therapists tend to adhere to the dominant treatment values of brief individual therapists and set out the therapeutic values among family/couple therapists that increase the likelihood of most family/couple therapy being brief. Finally, I propose that families' and therapists' expectations about the length of treatment serve an important role in establishing the therapeutic alliance. The empirical study of the components of such expectations, and discrepancies in such expectations between therapists and families, may provide a fruitful approach for optimizing the therapeutic alliance and thus positively influencing treatment outcomes.