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Evaluation in Marital Therapy

When couples come in for therapy, they are often reporting all sorts of conflicts they are currently experiencing. As tempting as it is to jump straight into problem solving, sometimes an evaluation of the marital dyad is a better starting point. Taking a closer look at a relationship and the working parts is sometimes needed to fix the problems that are presented during the initial intake. 

In the book The Evaluation and Treatment of Marital Conflict by Philip J. Guerin, Jr. Leo F. Fay, Susan L. Burden, and Judith Gilbert Kautto, different perspectives and areas that therapists can look at when first meeting clients are dissected. The authors break it down into four different spheres in which the couple act and interacts. Those four spheres are family systems, marital dyad, triangles, individuals.

Below are the four different factors and some of their subgroups. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will look at how each of these are important to discuss and explore when evaluating marital conflict.

Family system factors

  1. Premorbid state of the family/marriage

  2. Genogram

  3. Family stress

  4. Transition times

Marital dyad factors

  1. Emotional Climate

  2. Relationship Maintenance – communication and activity time.

  3. Degree of fusion

Triangle Factors

  1. Familial

  2. Extramarital

  3. Social

Individual Factors

  1. Degree of self focus and projection

  2. Position on the expectation-to-alienation progression

  3. Adaptive level of functioning

Much of these factors probably seem unclear and like a different language at the moment. However, that won’t be the case for long. Check in with yourself and your partner. What have you been doing right? What can you do better? Reflect on each of these areas alone and together. Keep an eye out for my upcoming blogs if you need help strengthening one of these areas.

Give Amy Wine Counseling Center a call at 832-421-8714 if you have any questions about our therapeutic services or would like to schedule an appointment.


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