Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Blamer Stance in Couples and Families

  • Forogh RahimEmail author
  • Dara Winley
  • Elizabeth Adedokun
  • Jessica Chou
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_512


Blaming is not uncommon among clients and therapists in the therapeutic setting (Paivinen et al. 2016).

Theoretical Context for Concept

The blamer stance has captured the attention of theoreticians and practitioners over the years and refers to the shifting of responsibility for conflict that occurs in couple and family relationships. From a communication perspective, blame can be conveyed implicitly or explicitly; but regardless, blame ascribes moral judgment from one person to another (Paivinen et al. 2016).


The blamer stance is seen as someone who behaves in a way that implies superiority while deflecting any faults or guilt onto another person (Carlson et al. 2017). Someone taking the blamer stance may indicate disapproval in attempts to influence or at least to protect themselves from others (Bowen et al. 2005). Those who are blamed might become defensive and or lose motivation in therapy, while those who are not blamed may believe they are not...

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


  1. Bermudez, D. (2008). Adapting Virginia Satir techniques to Hispanic families. The Family Journal, 16(1), 51–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bowen, C., Stratton, P., & Madill, A. (2005). Psychological functioning in families that blame: from blaming events to theory integration. Journal of Family Therapy, 27(4), 309–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carlson, M. W., Oed, M. M., & Bermudez, J. M. (2017). Satir’s communication stances and pursue–withdraw cycles: An enhanced emotionally focused therapy framework of couple interaction. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 16(3), 253–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Goldenberg, H., & Goldenberg, I. (2012). Family therapy: An overview. New York: Cengage Learning.Google Scholar
  5. Paivinen, H., Holma, J., Karvonen, A., Kykyri, V. P., Tsatsishvili, V., Kaartinen, J., Penttonen, M., & Seikkula, J. (2016). Affective arousal during blaming in couple therapy combining analyses of verbal discourse and physiological responses in two case studies. Contemporary Family Therapy, 38, 373–384.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10591-016-9393-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Sprenkle, D. H., Davis, S. D., & Lebow, J. L. (2009). Common factors in couple and family therapy: The overlooked foundation for effective practice. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Forogh Rahim
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dara Winley
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Adedokun
    • 1
  • Jessica Chou
    • 1
  1. 1.Drexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Rachel M. Diamond
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Saint JosephWest HartfordUSA