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Reply to the Commentaries: Of Course, We Do Not Yet Know What it is All About, But Functional Contextualism is a Good Place to Start


  • Editor's Note: In the previous (October) issue of JMFT, Lisa Benson, Mia Sevier, and Andrew Christenson (2013) wrote an empirically-based article in which they raised the question of whether “changes in (marital) satisfaction may lead to changes in attachment rather than the reverse and that change in attachment may not be the mechanism of change in all efficacious couple therapy” (p. 407). Following this article, Susan Johnson and Paul Greenman (2013), and Alan Gurman (2013) wrote commentaries to this article. In the article below, Benson, Sevier, and Christenson (2014) respond to these commentaries.


In this reply to the commentaries, we note several points of disagreement with Johnson and Greenman on theoretical and empirical grounds. We are particularly surprised by their assumption that attachment has already been established as the key mechanism of change in couple therapy, as our present findings do not support this idea. We also elaborate on Gurman's functional contextualist views and describe why IBCT may be a particularly helpful model for training new couple therapists in a contextualist way.