Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Acceptance in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Kathryn M. NowlanEmail author
  • McKenzie K. Roddy
  • Brian D. Doss
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_506

Introduction

Acceptance in couple and family therapy refers to the process of individuals becoming more patient and sympathetic when problems arise because the individual recognizes that there are natural and understandable reasons for the way the individual, the partner, and the relationship are. Within an intervention context, acceptance helps individuals soften the impact of relationship aspects and dynamics that are likely unamendable to change, even if the partner makes attempts to change. Through acceptance, individuals relinquish the struggle to change others’ behavior, learn to see differences and problems as opportunities to increase relational closeness and emotional connection, and develop empathy around the seemingly intractable issues that drove the individuals apart (Christensen and Jacobson 2000). In contrast to more traditional behavioral change techniques, acceptance work encourages the complainant to change. The process of acceptance in couple and family therapy...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Christensen, A., & Jacobson, N. S. (2000). Reconcilable differences. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  2. Christensen, A., Atkins, D. C., Berns, S., Wheeler, J., Baucom, D. H., & Simpson, L. E. (2004). Traditional versus integrative behavioral couple therapy for significantly and chronically distressed married couples. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72(2), 176–191.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.72.2.176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Christensen, A., Atkins, D. C., Yi, J., Baucom, D. H., & George, W. H. (2006). Couple and individual adjustment for two years following a randomized clinical trial comparing traditional versus integrative behavioral couple therapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74(6), 1180–1191.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.74.6.1180.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Córdova, J. V., Fleming, C. J. E., Morrill, M. I., Hawrilenko, M., Sollenberger, J. W., Harp, A. G., … Wachs, K. (2014). The marriage checkup: A randomized controlled trial of annual relationship health checkups. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 82(4), 592–604.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0037097
  5. Coyne, L. W., McHugh, L., & Martinez, E. R. (2011). ACT: Advances and applications with children, adolescents, and families. Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 20(2), 397–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Doss, B. D., Thum, Y. M., Sevier, M., Atkins, D. C., & Christensen, A. (2005). Improving relationships: Mechanisms of change in couple therapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73, 624–633.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.73.4.624.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. Doss, B. D., Cicila, L. N., Georgia, E. J., Roddy, M. R., Nowlan, K. M., Benson, L. A., & Christensen, A. (2016). A randomized controlled trial of the web-based OurRelationship program: Effects on relationship and individual functioning. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 84, 285–296.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Greco, L. A., & Eifert, G. H. (2004). Treating parent-adolescent conflict: Is acceptance the missing link for an integrative family therapy? Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 11, 305–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hawrilenko, M., Gray, T. D., & Córdova, J. V. (2016). The heart of change: Acceptance and intimacy mediate treatment response in a brief couples intervention. Journal of Family Psychology, 30(1), 93–103.  https://doi.org/10.1037/fam0000160.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Jacobson, N. S., & Margolin, G. (1979). Marital therapy: Strategies based on social learning and behavior exchange principles. New York: Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar
  11. Jacobson, N. S., Christensen, A., Prince, S. E., Córdova, J., & Eldridge, K. (2000). Integrative behavioral couple therapy: An acceptance-based, promising new treatment for couple discord. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68(2), 351–355.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  12. Rogge, R. D., Cobb, R. J., Lawrence, E., Johnson, M. D., & Bradbury, T. N. (2013). Is skills training necessary for the primary prevention of marital distress and dissolution? A 3-year experimental study of three interventions. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 81(6), 949–961.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn M. Nowlan
    • 1
    Email author
  • McKenzie K. Roddy
    • 1
  • Brian D. Doss
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Rachel Diamond
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Saint JosephWest HarfordUSA