Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

pp 1-7

Date: Latest Version

Acceptance in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Kathryn M. NowlanAffiliated withUniversity of Miami Email author 
  • , McKenzie K. RoddyAffiliated withUniversity of Miami
  • , Brian D. DossAffiliated withUniversity of Miami


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 reduce ...

This is an excerpt from the content