Co-therapy with Families

  • David V. Keith
  • Carl A. Whitaker


The practitioner of psychotherapy needs to balance the steady pressure between fulfilling the community’s expectations, providing patients with an opportunity for growth, and keeping himself alive and creative. Co-therapy teaming has been vital in helping us to maintain a dynamic equilibrium between these three vectors. The term co-therapy denotes a number of different arrangements. Chiefly, it is the way that professional psychotherapists avoid, consciously or unconsciously, isolation. We use three methods of co-therapy:
  1. 1.

    The commonest type of arrangement and the focus of this paper is the professional and/or symbolic marriage of two therapists who intend to be present at all or most of the interviews.

  2. 2.

    Use of a consultant is another model. The therapist may invite another colleague in for a single or intermittent visit. The patient also may go off to see the consultant without the therapist (a visit to grandmother).

  3. 3.

    Another co-therapy model pictures a group of colleagues who meet on a regular basis to interview a family or discuss one or more treatment cases. The group may prefer a long-distance consultation with a speaker phone.



Family Therapy Family Therapist Projective Identification Treatment Case Male Therapist 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • David V. Keith
    • 1
  • Carl A. Whitaker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Wisconsin, Clinical Sciences CenterMadisonUSA

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