Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Brief Relational Couple Therapy

  • Douglas FlemonsEmail author
  • Shelley K. Green
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_885

In keeping with other brief therapy models – including MRI (developed by the clinicians at the Mental Research Institute, e.g., Watzlawick et al. 1974), Strategic Therapy (Haley 1987), Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) (e.g., de Shazer 1985), and the Milan Associates (e.g., Boscolo et al. 1987) – Brief Relational Couple Therapy (BRCT) is a systemic approach significantly influenced by Gregory Bateson’s revolutionary systemic ideas (Bateson 2000) and Milton Erickson’s innovative hypnotherapy and psychotherapy methods (Erickson 1980; Flemons 2002; Flemons and Green 2007, 2018; Haley 1986).


As brief therapists, BRCT clinicians are committed to working as efficiently as possible (Fisch et al. 1982). Aware that both therapist- and client-expectancy contribute significantly to therapeutic outcome (Kirsch 1999), they are careful not to assume that long-standing and/or particularly distressing problems necessarily require longer durations of treatment (O’Hanlon and Wilk 1987)....

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Anderson, H., & Goolishian, H. A. (1986). Problem determined systems: Towards transformation in family therapy. Journal of Strategic & Systemic Therapies, 5(4), 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bateson, G. (1991). In R. Donaldson (Ed.), Sacred unity: Further steps to an ecology of mind. New York: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  3. Bateson, G. (2000). Steps to an ecology of mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  4. Boscolo, L., Cecchin, G., Hoffman, L., & Penn, P. (1987). Milan systemic family therapy: Conversations in theory and practice. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  5. de Shazer, S. (1985). Keys to solution in brief therapy. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  6. Erickson, M. H. (1980). Further clinical techniques of hypnosis: Utilization techniques. In E. L. Rossi (Ed.), The collected papers of Milton H. Erickson: Vol. 1 (pp. 177–205). New York: Irvington.Google Scholar
  7. Fisch, R., Weakland, J. H., & Segal, L. (1982). Tactics of change: Doing therapy briefly. New York: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  8. Flemons, D. (1991). Completing distinctions. Boston: Shambhala.Google Scholar
  9. Flemons, D. (2002). Of one mind: The logic of hypnosis, the practice of therapy. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  10. Flemons, D., & Green, S. (2007). Just between us: A relational approach to sex therapy. In S. Green & D. Flemons (Eds.), Quickies: The handbook of brief sex therapy (Rev. ed., pp. 126–170). New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  11. Flemons, D., & Green, S. (2018). Therapeutic quickies: Brief relational therapy for sexual issues. In S. Green & D. Flemons (Eds.), Quickies: The handbook of brief sex therapy (3rd ed., pp. 126–170). New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  12. Haley, J. (1986). Uncommon therapy: The psychiatric techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  13. Haley, J. (1987). Problem-solving therapy. New York: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  14. Kirsch, I. (Ed.). (1999). How expectancies shape experience. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  15. O’Hanlon, B., & Wilk, J. (1987). Shifting contexts: The generation of effective psychotherapy. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  16. Rossi, E. L., & Ryan, M. O. (Eds.). (1986). Mind-body communication in hypnosis. New York: Irvington.Google Scholar
  17. Watzlawick, P., Weakland, J., & Fisch, R. (1974). Change: Principles of problem formation and problem resolution. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nova Southeastern UniversityFort LauderdaleUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Margarita Tarragona
    • 1
  1. 1.PositivaMente & Grupo Campos ElíseosMexico CityMexico