Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Four Session Assessment in Couple Therapy, The

  • Anthony L. ChambersEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_679

Name and Type of Assessment Procedure

The Four Session Evaluation is a semi-structured interview procedure that is used both as an intervention and as an assessment in the first four sessions of couple therapy.


Couple problems involve multiple factors that the therapist needs to understand including the individual, the relationship, the environmental contexts in which the individuals and the relationship operate within, as well as the bidirectional influences of each (Stanton and Welsh 2011). In an attempt to embrace and disentangle that complexity, many therapists use a format commonly referred to as the four session evaluation (Chambers 2012; Karpel 1994). This interview model is transtheoretical and systemic; thus, it can be used with any theoretical orientation.


Mark Karpel (1994), to the best knowledge available, was the first person to write on this procedure in his book, Evaluating Couples. Since then, although other practitioners have used a similar...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Family Institute at Northwestern University, Center for Applied Psychological and Family Studies, Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Heather Pederson
    • 1
  • Diana Semmelhack
    • 2
  1. 1.Council for RelationshipsPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Midwestern UniversityDowners GroveUSA