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 22

The Future of Couple and Family Therapy

THOMAS L.SEXTON, PhD
Indiana University

GERALD R.WEEKS, PhD
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

MICHAEL S.ROBBINS, PhD
University of Miami


INTRODUCTION

More than 20 years have passed since Gurman and Kniskern (1981) edited the first comprehensive volume dedicated specifically to marriage and family therapy. In that volume they chronicled the development of a field that emerged from the early systemic notions of relationships to a range of comprehensive theories of marital and family functioning and therapeutic approaches. It described a world of couple and family therapy (CFT) that was therapeutically rich and conceptually unique, presenting a first generation of theoretical approaches to guide our understanding of couple and family functioning and therapeutic interventions. Since that time much has changed. Our founding conceptual constructs, theoretical models, and principles of therapy have evolved and grown. The context in which family and couple therapists practice has dramatically changed. As illustrated in the chapters of this volume, CFT has retained its systemic center over time; however, the practice of CFT now looks much different than it did 20 years ago. Thus, we view the development of family and couple therapy in dynamic systems terms (von Bertalanffy, 1968)-a field has emerged and become different, while at the same time retaining a central core that remains the same. As in any evolution there are great triumphs, anxiety-producing ambiguities, and great challenges with each new development.

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