Ethical thinking in couple counselling and therapy
The characteristics of, and practitioner training for, couple therapy Couple therapy' is an enterprise that is subject to pressures analogous to those affecting couple relationships themselves. The needs of the partners as individuals, of children and kinfolk, and of the larger community, all press for attention. The couple relationship being the client, the therapist's task is to manage the tension between competing voices, focusing on others only to the extent that is necessary to assist the partners to evaluate, and perhaps seek to change, influences that affect their capacity to make choices about the nature of their relationship. In England and Wales, therapeutic work with couples was the earliest manifestation of initiatives that have resulted in a wide variety of forms of counselling and psychotherapy being available to the general public today. It remains largely the province of the voluntary agencies which were responsible for introducing and developing it over the past 60 or more years (Lewis et al. 1992). Today, services are offered to those in common law relationships and in lesbian or gay relationships, as well as to married couples and those forming or ending relationships. Work with second and subsequent relationships, and the problems arising in 'blended' families, are a growing part of couple therapists' work. Some couple therapists also offer psychosexual therapy and others staff schemes specifically designed to address domestic violence. Educational programmes preparing people for adult relationships and for parenting have been provided by the 'marital' agencies since their earliest days, often using
ETHICAL THINKING I N COUPLE COUNSELLING AND THERAPY
the skills and insights of couple therapists in their design and delivery. Couple therapy is available in a variety of forms. Brief, solutionfocused couple therapy may involve no more than a single session. Much of the work undertaken by the voluntary agencies is accomplished in about six sessions. More extended work lasting a year or more and based on weekly sessions is provided by some practitioners and is able to address some more intractable relationship problems, the needs of couples coping with mental health issues or a partner's serious illness, or the needs of couples engaged in major life transitions (Carter and McGoldrick 1989). Many couple therapists are willing to work with only one partner, although most casework is conducted with both partners present. The theoretical approaches employed are diverse, as is illustrated by contemporary texts on couple therapy (Jacobson and Margolin 1979; Freeman 1982; Willi 1982,1984; Gurman 1985; Bornstein and Bornstein 1986; James and Wilson 1986; Chasin et al. 1990; Scharff and Scharff 1991; Bockus, 1993; Bubenzer and West 1993; Johnson and Greenberg 1994; Weeks and Hof 1994; Crane 1996; Gilbert and Schmukler 1996;Jacobson and Christensen 1996; Rabin 1996; Butler and Joyce 1998; Brown 1999). While the earliest forms of training in couple work were designed for laypersons with no previous experience of the role of counsellor (Lewis et al. 1992), today's training programmes are increasingly designed for those with some experience of casework. Though no longer limited to the offerings of the major 'marital' agencies (Relate, Marriage Care, Couple Counselling Scotland, Tavistock Marital Studies Institute), such training programmes are many fewer in number than those devoted to the preparation of the various kinds of individual therapist. However, courses currently range from 20-week part-time introductions to marital and couple therapy (London Marriage Guidance) to three-year part-time postgraduate studies leading to masters degrees (Relate). The preponderant theoretical model in the UK is psychodynamic although some agencies have evolved programmes leading to the development of couples practice with an integrative...
References: BACP (2002) Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy. Rugby: British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Bannister, K. and Pincus, L. (1965) Shared Phantasy i n Marital Problems: Therapy in a Four-Person Relationship. London: lnstitute of Marital Studies, The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations. Bennun, 1. (1984) Evaluating marital therapy: a hospital and community study, British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 12: 84-91. Bockus, F. (1993) Couple Therapy. North Vale: Aronson. Bollas, C. and Sundelson, D. (1995) The New Informants. London: Karnac. Bornstein, P and Bornstein, M. (1986) Marital Therapy: A Behavioural. Communications Approach. New York: Pergamon. Brown, R. (1999) Imago Relationship Therapy: An Introduction to Theory and Practice. New York: Wiley. Bubenzer, D. and West, J. (1993) Counselling Couples. London: Sage. Burnham, J. (1986) Family Therapy. London: Tavistock. Butler, C. and Joyce, V. (1998) Counselling Couples in Relationships: An Introduction to the Relate Approach. Chichester: Wiley. Carter, B. and McGoldrick, M. (eds) (1989) The Changing Family Life Cycle: A Framework for Family Therapy, 2nd edn. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Casement, P. (1985) On Learning from the Patient. London: Tavistock.
Chasin, R., Grunebaum, H. and Herzig, M. (eds) (1990) One Couple: Four Realities. New York: Guilford Press. Clark, D. and Haldane, D. (1990) Wedlocked. Cambridge: Polity Press. Clarkson, P. (1995) The Therapeutic Relationship. London: Whurr. Clulow, C. (1985) Marital Therapy: A n Inside View. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press. Clulow, C. (ed.) (2001) Adult Attachment and Couple ,Psychotherapy. London: Brunner-Routledge. Crane, D. (1996) Fundamentals of Marital Therapy. New York: Bmnnerl Mazel. Crowe, M. (1978) Conjoint marital therapy: a controlled outcome study, Psychological Medicine, 8: 623-36. Dicks, H. (1967) Marital Tensions. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Egan, G. (1975) The Skilled Helper: Model, Skills, and Methods for Effective Helping, 2nd edn. Monterey, CA: BrooksICole. Fisher, J. (1999) The Uninvited Guest: Emerging from Narcissism towards Marriage. London: Karnac. Flaskas, C. (2002) Family Therapy beyond Postmodemism: Practice Challenges Theory. Hove: Brumer-Routledge. Flaskas, C. and Perlesz, A. (eds) (1996) The Therapeutic Relationship in Systemic Therapy. London: Karnac. Fonagy, P. (2001) Attachment Theory and Psychoanalysis. New York: Other Press. Freeman, D. (1982) Marital Crisis and Short-term Counselling: A Casebook. London: Free Press. Gilbert, M. and Shmukler, D. (1996) Brief Therapy with Couples: A n Integrative Approach. Chichester: Wiley. Guiver, P. (1973) The Trouble Sharers: Counselling in Personal Relationships. Rugby: National Marriage Guidance Council. Gurman, A. (ed.) (1985) Casebook o f Marital Therapy. New York: Guilford Press. Guthrie, L. and Mattinson, J. (1971) Brief Casework with a Marital Problem. London: Institute of Marital Studies, The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations. Hooper, D. (1985) Marital therapy: an overview of research, in W. Dryden (ed.) Marital Therapy in Britain. Vol. 2: Special Areas. London: Harper & Row. Hooper, D. and Roberts, J. (1967) Disordered Lives: A n Interpersonal Account. Rugby: National Marriage Guidance Council. Jacobson, N. and Christensen, A. (1996) Acceptance and Change in Couple
ETHICALTHINKING I N COUPLE COUNSELLING AND THERAPY
Therapy: A Therapist 's Guide to Transforming Relationships. New York: Norton. Jacobson, N. and Margolin, G. (1979) Marital Therapy: Strategies based on Social Learning and Behaviour Exchange Principles. New York: Brunnerl Mazel. James, A. and Wilson, K. (1986) Couples, Conflict and Change. London: Tavistock. Johnson, S. and Greenberg, L. (eds) (1994) The Heart of the M a w Perspectives on Emotion in Marital Therapy. New York: BrunnerIMazel. Lewis, J., Clark, D. and Morgan, D. (1992) Whom God hath Joined Together: The Work of Marriage Guidance. London: Routledge. Mace, D. (1972) Sexual Difficulties in Marriage. Rugby: National Marriage Guidance Council. Mattinson, J. (1975) The Reflection Process in Casework Supervision. London: Institute of Marital Studies, The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations. McCarthy, P., Walker, J. and Kain, J. (1998) Telling It As It Is: The Client Experience of Relate Counselling. Report by the Newcastle Centre for Family Studies, University of Newcastle upon m e . McNamee, S. and Gergen, K. (eds) (1992) Therapy as Social Construction. London: Sage. Mearns, D. and Thorne, B. (1988) Person-centred Counselling in Action. London: Sage. Pincus, L. (ed.) (1960) Marriage: Studies in Emotional Conflict and Growth. London: Institute of Marital Studies, The Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology. Pincus, L. and Dare, C. (1978) Secrets in the Family. London: Faber & Faber. Rabin, C. (1996) Equal Partners: Good Friends. London: Routledge. Relate (1996) Confidentiality: Principles and Practice in Marital and Couple Counselling and in Psychosexual Therapy, 2nd edn. Rugby: Relate. Rogers, C. (1942) Counselling and Psychotherapy: Newer Concepts in Practice. New York: Houghton-Mifflin. Rogers, C. (1957) The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change, Journal of Consulting Psychology, 21(2): 99. Rogers, C. (1973) Becoming Partners: Marriage and its Alternatives. London: Constable. Ruszczynski, S. (ed.) (1993)Psychotherapy with Couples. London: Karnac. Scharff, D. and Scharff, J. (1991) Object Relations Couple Therapy. Northvale, NJ: Aronson.
Tolley, K. and Rowland, N. (1995) Evaluating the Cost-effectiveness of Counselling in Health Care. London: Routledge. Truax, C. and Carkhuff, R. (1967) Towards Effective Counselling and Psychotherapy: Training and Practice. Chicago: Aldine. Venables, E. (1971) Counselling. Rugby: National Marriage Guidance Council. Weeks, G. and Hof, L. (eds) (1994) The Marital-relationship Therapy Casebook: Theory and Application of the Intersystem Model. New York: BrunnerIMazel. Willi, J. (1982) Couples in Collusion: The Unconscious Dimension in Partner Relationships. Claremont: Hunter House. Willi, J. (1984) Dynamics of Couples Therapy: The Uses of the Concept of Collusion and its Application to the Therapeutic Triangle. Northvale, NJ: Aronson.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document