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Marital Dysfunction

  • Gary R. Birchler
  • Madeline Gershwin

Abstract

“They fell in love, got married, and lived happily ever after” is the idealized romantic image ascribed to the institution of marriage in our culture. This notion continues despite the highly publicized prevalence of marital dysfunction and a soaring divorce rate. Although social trends may alter the structure and function of marriage, it would seem that the institution, as a vehicle for legitimizing and formalizing dyadic relationships, will be with us for some time to come. “Marriage counseling” has now become a more accepted form of psychological service. The last decade has seen an explosion of contributions to the marital therapy literature, particularly from the behavioral and family systems perspectives (Gurman, 1981; Jacobson & Gurman, 1986). Social learning theorists have developed improved technologies for treating marital dysfunction that are based on the scrutiny of empirical data. The behavioral therapists’ commitment to examine therapy outcome has set the stage for a lively interaction among theorists of opposing points of view (e.g., Gurman & Kniskern, 1978). This chapter examines the historical trends in marriage and marital therapy and focuses on a model of treatment that integrates the behavioral and systems approaches (Birchler & Spinks, 1980). It is the authors’ contention that the strictly orthodox approach of either the behavioral or the systems model (or any single therapeutic model) is less effective than a more comprehensive, integrated treatment program.

Keywords

Family Therapy Marital Satisfaction Marital Conflict Homework Assignment Communication Training 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary R. Birchler
    • 1
  • Madeline Gershwin
    • 2
  1. 1.VA Medical CenterUniversity of California School of Medicine, and Psychology ServiceSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.University of California School of MedicineSan DiegoUSA

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