Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Control in Couples and Families

  • Erin Ferenchick
  • David RosenthalEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_255

Name of Concept

Control in couple and family therapy.


A therapist who is in control comfortably guides the couple or family through the therapeutic process. Interruptions, couples arguing, and other behaviors that might illustrate the nature of their relationship can at times seem disruptive. An emphasis on control is an integral part of many different models of therapy. In strategic family therapy, in particular, the therapist identifies with the family issues that need to be worked on or behaviors that they are interested in changing and designs a strategy for each problem, taking responsibility for what happens during therapy. Other models of couple or family therapy may employ different approaches to gain control during the session. Irrespective of the theoretical position, however, evidence suggests that replicating what goes on in the home or simply allowing a couple to vent during the session is not therapeutic (Bushman 2002).

Theoretical Context for Concept


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • David Kearns
    • 1
  1. 1.Iowa CityUSA