Parterapi: -hvorfor og hvordan?

Studenteropgave: Kandidatspeciale og HD afgangsprojekt

  • Signe Verup
4. semester, Psykologi, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
Relationships, the search for the one true love, and the growing number of divorces are all very apparent in our society today. In the light of this, the author of this thesis was amazed with the complete absence of these topics in the teachings of the psy-chology department at Aalborg University. This thesis therefore sets out to investi-gate whether there is indeed a need to for psychologists to offer couples therapy, and if so, how this couples therapy can be conducted. Both questions are answered theo-retically.
Research shows that divorcees suffer both psychosocial and physical consequences following a divorce. On top of that, marital conflict is also linked to weakened health and poor psychological wellbeing for the children as well as the parents in conflicted homes. Therefore there seems to be clear evidence of a need for couples therapy.
The actual couples therapy is viewed in light of two different schools of practice: the object relations therapy and the cognitive behavioral therapy.
Object relations therapy with couples is firmly grounded on the object relations theo-ry which believes that the object relations that have been internalized in the early childhood are responsible for the personality of the individual and the way in which he or she relates to the world. Couples are believed to have complementary object relations which tie them together in a special way. Since projective identification is believed to happen in all relationships, couples can find themselves stuck in repeating patterns of relating. Therapy thus has as its goal to help each partner reinternalize the projections that effect the relationship in a bad way. Only by working through individual problems can the couple as a whole move forward.
The cognitive behavioral couples therapy is a combined approach consisting of ele-ments of behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy. Hence the theoretical background is harder to pin out. The therapy in general seems to weigh practical matters higher than theoretical, and fragments of other therapeutic approaches are freely integrated when they seem useful. The focus of couples therapy is on the conscious problems that the couples bring forth, and improvement is brought about through changes to the present thoughts and behavoir of the couple.
Since cognitive behavioral couples therapy is claimed to be the best documented couples therapy, the topic of scientific evidence is discussed. It is concluded that since the two different couples therapies build on different views of therapy, they are not easily compared through studies of effect. Since the whole search for medical scientific evidence is in line with the thought of the cognitive behavioral therapy, it is no surprise that they come out superior in this type of studies. It is also noted, how-ever, that the two couples therapies have more commonalities than would be as-sumed, and it is hypothesised that this could be due to therapeutic factors which are proven to be more important to therapeutic effect than are specific techniques. Even if the cognitive behavioral therapists don't aim to treat object relations, they might still be doing so simply through the therapeutic relationship with the couple.
However, regardless of similarities, the two approaches to couples therapy are very different. The biggest difference appear to be the focus on the manifest problems in the cognitive behavioral therapy and the focus on the underlying deeper individual issues in the object relations therapy. Since the cognitive behavioral couples therapy is known to require a smaller number of sessions than the object relations therapy, this therapy is concluded to be a good choice for couples who do not wish to spend a great deal of time and money on therapy. This is also considered to be the case for public institutions wanting to treat as many couples as possible within a set budget. Receiving cognitive behavioral therapy might however be considered a quick fix, if the object relations theory is to be taken seriously. If both the couple and the thera-pist want to put in the effort required to achieve long lasting changes, then object re-lations couples therapy might be the better choice.
Udgivelsesdato31 maj 2013
Antal sider79
ID: 76900205