Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 223–232 | Cite as

Dominance and Dialogue in Couple Therapy for Psychological Intimate Partner Violence

  • Berta VallEmail author
  • Jaakko Seikkula
  • Aarno Laitila
  • Juha Holma
Original Paper


Although there is controversy concerning indications for conjoint therapy in Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), both research and practice have come to recognize that it has some important benefits. This study analyzes issues of dominance and dialogue in a conjoint therapy for psychological IPV within a naturalistic setting, in which the spouses sought couple therapy on a voluntary basis. The method used to analyze the therapy was Dialogical Investigations of Happenings of Change (DIHC). Results on dominance indicated that the male client showed more quantitative dominance, whereas semantic dominance was more present in the female client, and therapists used more interactional dominance. Results on dialogue analysis showed that dialogical dialogue might help to construct a new-shared meaning of the issue of violence. In the Discussion section some research and clinical implications of the results are derived.


Psychological partner violence IPV Couple therapy Dialogical approach Dominance DIHC (Dialogical Investigations of Happenings of Change) 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Berta Vall
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jaakko Seikkula
    • 2
  • Aarno Laitila
    • 3
  • Juha Holma
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyAutonomous University of BarcelonaBellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès)Spain
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland
  3. 3.Department of Psychology, Philosophical Faculty, School of Educational Sciences and PsychologyUniversity of Eastern FinlandJoensuuFinland

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