Handbook of Family Therapy: The Science and Practice of Working with Families and Couples

By Thomas L. Sexton; Gerald R. Weeks et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11

Efficacy, Effectiveness, and Change Mechanisms in Couple and Family Therapy

THOMAS L.SEXTON, PhD
Indiana University

MICHAEL S.ROBBINS, PhD
University of Miami School of Medicine

AMY S.HOLLIMON, MS, NCC

ALYSON L.MEASE, MA
Indiana University

CARLA C.MAYORGA, BA
University of Miami School of Medicine


INTRODUCTION

Couple and family therapy (CFT) research has grown dramatically during the last 2 decades. What began as a need to demonstrate efficacy and justify the existence of CFT has evolved into a rich knowledge base involving complex and innovative research strategies for investigating change processes and clinical outcomes that mirror the unique clinical challenges of CFT. In this evolution, the research lens has been broadened from simple questions of outcome (does it work?) to examine specific applications of CFT with specific clinical problems in specific settings (effectiveness). The growth in complexity of outcome research has been accompanied by efforts to identify the change mechanisms that underlie positive clinical outcomes (process research). The result of the last 2 decades of research is a strong scientific evidence base for the practice of CFT (Sexton, Alexander, & Mease, in press). These

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