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Integrative behavioral couples therapy

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Behavioral couples therapy has its origns in behaviorism. The theory is rooted in social learning theory and behavior analysis. As a model, it is constantly being revised as new research presents.

History

Behavioral martial therapy started with simple research conducted on couples in the 1960s. Robert Weiss was the orginal author of such research. One of his student Neil Jacobson pioneered the approached. He published a book with Gail Margolin, which launched a social learning model of couples therapy. [1] In this model of therapy, partners learn to be nicer to each other through behavioral exchange (contingency contracts), communicate better and improve their conflict-resolution skills. Early support came when Gottman found that as long as the ratio of positive to negative interactions remains at least five to one, the relationship is sturdy. When the ratio dips below there is a 94 percent chance that a couple will divorce.

The behavioral martial therapy model remains the most researched model of marital and couples therapy and was found to be effective for treating marital discord and depression in woman [2]. Parts of the model, in particular strategic use of the communication skills to reinforce abstence and open dialogue about treatment were introduced as a method for getting drug abusing partners into treatment.[3]

Early research suggested that the components of behavioral martial therapy worked as predicted. The social exchange component led to increased in martial satisfaction in the short run. The communication training program led couples to communicate better and produced more long term changes in contingencies between couple members [4]

Disillusionment with the model began with a study in which it was found that only 50% of couples responded to the therapy [5] The early model drew on social learning principles. In addition, it did not produce more significant outcomes then insight oriented couple therapy [6]

Development of Integrative Behavioral Couples Therapy and Research Contrasting the two approaches

To strengthen the model, Neil Jacobson sugested returning to contextualism, functional analysis and Skinner's distinction between contingency shaped and rule governed behavior. [7]. This model became known as intergrative behavioral couples therapy model. It is considered a third generation behavior therapy or sometimes called clinical behavior analysis component known as integrative behavioral couples therapy. Integrative behavioral couples therapy seems to work slower in producing change initially but has led to a 71% improvement rate in couples[8] . In addition, Intergrative behavioral couples therapy does not produce as much change as traditional behavioral couples therapy but it does produce more acceptance [9]. At two years 69% of the Intergrative behavioral couples therapy group appears to be doing better, while only 60% of the traditional group does better, while martial satisfaction was also in greater favor for the integrative behavioral couples therapy group [10] However, the traditional behavioral couples therapy group had a larger decline in negativity toward each other then did the integrative behavioral couples therapy group [11]

Both the integrative and traditional behavioral couples therapy models have origings primarily in behaviorism. [12] This model draws heavily on the use of functional analysis and the Skinnerian distinction between contgency based and rule governed behavior to balance acceptance and change in the relationship [13] [14]

Topics Addressed

While traditional behavioral couples therapy focused heavily on change[15], integrative couples therapy attempted to balance change and acceptance.[16]

Integrative behavioral couples therapy addresses topics such as intimacy in couples relationships[17] [18] [19] and forgiveness in couples[20].

Certification

World Center for Behavior Analysis now offers a certification in behavior therapy. This certification covers knowledge of both traditional and integratve behavioral couples therapy  http://baojournal.com/WCBA/WCBA.html

See also

References

  1. Jacobson and Margolin (1979 ).Marital therapy: Strategies based on social learning and behavior exchange principles. New York: Brunner/Mazel.
  2. William O'Donohue and Kyle E. Ferguson (2006): Evidence-Based Practice in Psychology and Behavior Analysis. The Behavior Analyst Today, 7.(3) 335- 347 [1]
  3. Smith, J.E., Milford, J.L and Meyers, R.J. (2004). CRA and CRAFT: Behavioral Approaches to Treating Substance-Abusing Individuals. The Behavior Analyst Today, 5.(4), 391-402 BAO
  4. Jacobson, N. S., & Follette, W. C. (1985). Clinical significance of improvement resulting from two behavioral marital therapy components. Behavior Therapy, 16, 249-262.
  5. Christensen A, Atkins DC, Berns S, Wheeler J, Baucom DH, & Simpson LE (2004) Traditional versus integrative behavioral couple therapy for significantly and chronically distressed married couples. J Consult Clin Psychol.72(2):176-91
  6. Snyder DK & Wills RM. (1989). Behavioral versus insight-oriented marital therapy: effects on individual and interspousal functioning.J Consult Clin Psychol. 57(1):39-46
  7. Christensen, A., Jacobson, N.S. & Babcock, J.C. (1995). Integrative behavioral couples therapy. In N.S. Jacobson & A.S. Gurman (Eds.) Clinical Handbook for Couples Therapy (pp. 31-64). New York: Guildford.
  8. Christensen A, Atkins DC, Berns S, Wheeler J, Baucom DH, & Simpson LE (2004) Traditional versus integrative behavioral couple therapy for significantly and chronically distressed married couples. J Consult Clin Psychol.72(2):176-91
  9. Doss BD, Thum YM, Sevier M, Atkins DC, & Christensen, A. (2005). Improving relationships: mechanisms of change in couple therapy. J Consult Clin Psychol. 73(4):624-33
  10. Christensen A, Atkins DC, Yi J, Baucom DH, & George WH. (2006). Couple and individual adjustment for 2 years following a randomized clinical trial comparing traditional versus integrative behavioral couple therapy.J Consult Clin Psychol. 74(6):1180-91
  11. Sevier M, Eldridge K, Jones J, Doss BD, & Christensen A (2008). Observed communication and associations with satisfaction during traditional and integrative behavioral couple therapy.Behav Ther. 39(2):137-50
  12. Cordova: (2003) Behavior Analysis and the Scientific Study of Couples. The Behavior Analyst Today, 3 (4), 412 -425 BAO
  13. Cordova, J., and Eldridge, K. (2000). Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy An Acceptance-Based, Promising New Treatment for Couple Discord, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68, 351-355.
  14. Chapman and Compton: (2003) From Traditional Behavioral Couple Therapy to Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy: New Research Directions The Behavior Analyst Today, 4 (1), 17 -25 BAO].
  15. Jacobson, N. S., & Follette, W. C. (1985). Clinical significance of improvement resulting from two behavioral marital therapy components. Behavior Therapy, 16, 249-262.
  16. Chapman and Compton: (2003) From Traditional Behavioral Couple Therapy to Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy: New Research Directions The Behavior Analyst Today, 4 (1), 17 -25 BAO].
  17. Cordova, J. (2003). Behavior Analysis and the Scientific Study of Couples. The Behavior Analyst Today, 3 (4), 412-419 [2]
  18. Stuart, R.B. (1998). Updating Behavior Therapy with Couples. The Family Journal, 6(1), 6-12
  19. Cordova, J.V. (2001). Acceptance in behavior therapy: Understanding the process of change. The Behavior Analyst, 24, 213-226.
  20. Cordova, J., Cautilli,J.D., Simon, C. & Axelrod-Sabtig, R. (2006). Behavior Analysis of Forgiveness in Couples Therapy. IJBCT, 2.(2), 192-208 [3]

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