Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

High Conflict Couples

  • Kristen HerdegenEmail author
  • Maru Torres-Gregory
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_465

Family Form

High conflict couples

Synonyms

Discordant couples; Marital discord

Introduction

Romantic partners regularly encounter conflict in their relationships. Many partners are able to resolve conflicts before emotions escalate to avoid more volatile arguments. According to Gottman and Gottman (2015), most relationship conflict is perpetual and unsolvable due to personality differences. However, if partners are able to engage in constructive dialogue about their personality differences and engage in self-soothing techniques, the argument will be less likely to escalate in intensity. However, some partners are more vulnerable to emotional escalation, which has the potential to intensify arguments and lead to what Gottman and Gottman (2015) refer to as gridlockedconflict. This form of persistent and intense conflict is destructive to an intimate relationship and can define a couple as “high conflict.” Negative relationship processes and interactions of high conflict couples...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Farrah Hughes
    • 1
  • Allen Sabey
    • 2
  1. 1.Employee Assistance ProgramMcLeod HealthFlorenceUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA