The Efficacy of Behavioral Couples Therapy and Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couple Distress
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Twenty treatment outcome studies, 13 of which evaluated behavioral couples therapy (BCT) and seven of which evaluated emotionally focused therapy (EFT) were reviewed, leading to the following conclusions. BCT leads to short and long-term gains for moderate to severe couple distress. In the long term BCT probably leads to no better outcomes than its constituent components—behavioral exchange training and communication and problem solving skills training. Addition of a cognitive therapy component to BCT or the use of a variety of treatment formats does not improve the efficacy of BCT. Integrative couples therapy and insight-oriented marital therapy may be more effective than BCT, but studies supporting this conclusion require replication. EFT leads to short and long-term gains for mild to moderate couple distress. Addition of a cognitive therapy component to EFT does not enhance its efficacy. EFT may be more effective than problem solving therapy and less effective than integrated systemic therapy, but the two studies supporting this conclusion require replication.
Keywordsbehavioral couple therapy emotionally focused therapy couple distress integrative couples therapy insight-oriented marital therapy
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