Time Outs in Couple and Family Therapy
Negotiated time-out; Taking a break; Taking a pause
Arguments between partners often reach a point of escalation – where neither partner is listening and hurtful statements are said out of anger. These arguments leave both partners feeling hurt, angry, and unheard. During times of escalation, a couple may choose to take a Time Out from the discussion. Time Outs provide couples with an opportunity to pause unproductive and hurtful arguments and resume them when they feel calmer to interact in a more effective way.
Time Outs are utilized as a communication training strategy that originates from Behavioral Couple Therapy (BCT). In BCT, couples are taught ways they can effectively communicate with each other (Jacobson and Margolin 1979). Time Outs aim to help couples increase positive behaviors while decreasing the negative behaviors. Time Outs have also been proven to be an effective de-escalation intervention for couples who experience...
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