Family Conflict in Couple and Family Therapy
Family conflict is often the main reason for entry into couple or family therapy and is typically a key target for intervention. Conflict in couples and families can center on different issues, such as child behavior, substance use or mental health, partner work/life stress, finances, division of household responsibilities, intimacy and sexual relationships, or infidelity. However, the specific topic of conflict is commonly understood to be less significant than the nature of the families’ conflictual pattern around different topic areas.
Family conflict at high levels has deleterious effects on all family members. For example, family conflict has been consistently linked with individual mental health difficulties including depression, substance abuse, anxiety, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and antisocial behavior (Whisman and Uebelacker 2009). Long-term marital and family conflict is also negatively related to individuals’ physical health such that persistent conflict...
- Baucom, D. H., Epstein, N. B., Kirby, J. S., & LaTaillade, J. J. (2015). Cognitive-behavioral couple therapy. In A. S. Gurman, J. L. Lebow, D. K. Snyder (Eds.), Clinical handbook of couple therapy (5th ed., pp. 23–60). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Davies, P. T., Hentges, R. F., Coe, J. L., Martin, M. J., Sturge-Apple, M. L., & Cummings, E. M. (2016). The multiple faces of interparental conflict: Implications for cascades of children’s insecurity and externalizing problems. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 125, 664–678.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Gottman, J. M., & Gottman, J. S. (2015). Gottman couple therapy. In A. S. Gurman, J. L. Lebow, D. K. Snyder (Eds.), Clinical handbook of couple therapy (5th ed., pp. 129–157). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Gottman, J., Gottman, J., & Shapiro, A. (2010). A new couples approach to interventions for the transition to parenthood. In M. S. Schulz, M. K. Pruett, P. K. Kerig, R. D. Parke (Eds.), Strengthening couple relationships for optimal child development: Lessons from research and intervention (pp. 165–179). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Jacobson, N. S., & Christensen, A. (1996). Acceptance and change in couple therapy: A Therapist’s guide to transforming relationships. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
- Johnson, S. M. (2004). The practice of emotionally focused couple therapy: Creating connection. New York: Brunner-Routledge.Google Scholar