Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Role Playing in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Kyle IsaacsonEmail author
  • James L. Furrow
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_94



Couple and family therapists use role-play interventions to provide clients with opportunities to practice new skills or patterns of interaction. Role plays appeared early in systems-based approaches to therapy, and possess a long history in the field as a pliable intervention useful for a variety of purposes.

Role plays are most strongly associated with cognitive-behavioral models and some family therapy approaches. Specifically, Cognitive-Behavioral Couples Therapy (Epstein and Baucom 2002) and Structural Family Therapy incorporate role-play interventions as substantive components in the therapy process. Research studies of behavioral couple therapy for substance abuse also highlight role-playing as a common intervention (Baucom et al. 1998).

Although role plays permit a wide range of expressions depending on the nature of the therapy and the purposes of the intervention, they tend to take on one of a few typical forms. These forms include communications skills...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fuller Graduate School of PsychologyPasadenaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Brian Baucom
    • 1
  1. 1.University of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA