Academic journal article Journal of Psychological and Educational Research

Short Psychotherapeutic Intervention on Pathology Borders and Fight for Power: A Case Study

Academic journal article Journal of Psychological and Educational Research

Short Psychotherapeutic Intervention on Pathology Borders and Fight for Power: A Case Study

Article excerpt


The purpose of this case study is to describe the therapeutic interventions included in eight therapy sessions that stimulated change in a young couple. Its difficulties were caused by the beginning of a new life stage due to the baby's arrival and parents' involvement. The case draws attention to specific strategies that can be used when clinicians confront with a mixture of fight for power and fused borders in a family system. The presented case is successful due to the motivation of the partners to participate in therapy and the therapeutic relationship.

Main complaints

Razvan and Ioana Visan (26 and 24 years old) came together in therapy after Razvan had already come alone in therapy on 28th of February. They are lawyers in training and have been married for one year and a half. Razvan and Ioana have a little boy for one year-old. The clients live in a different city away from the therapist (200 km ride). Both are very angry on each other. They stated that their relationship had become worse: "We are arguing for no reason". In the last period, when the young couple was fighting, the parents were involved. They arrived promptly at the children's home and a huge conflict appeared where everybody was involved. The departure of Ioana with her child in her parent's house had made things worse.

The therapist was contacted by Razvan's father, an ex-soldier and a father-in-law admired by Ioana:"My father-in-law picked you, so I trust him". He was the one who made the appointment, but at the therapist's proposal to call one member of the couple, the husband contacted the therapist one day later.

The couple gave examples that resemble with a continue fight for power: "Who is right?" or "Who is more stronger?" Also, complaints concerning sexual life arose, along with husband's drinking. The baby was brought in discussion, in the sense that only Ioana's parents spent time with him, but not Razvan's.

Personal and social history of the couple

Razvan is the only child in his family and has a tense relationship with his father (51 years old) and a better communication with his mother (51 years old). Ioana is the older sister of a 20 years old brother. The couple has a good financial status. The husband works in his father's company, and the wife has a personal business (see Figure 1). Both are from the same city. It was love at the first sight, although it was a moment when Razvan wasn't sure if he had wanted to continue this relationship. From the moment he found out that Ioana was pregnant, till the moment she gave birth to their child, many unpleasant events took place in their life, along with diverse conflicts. These included doubts if the wedding should even take place. Razvan believed that "a woman should follow her husband", and consequently, he wanted that his future wife to move in his parent's house. From the beginning, parents from both sides mengled in couple's life. "They are very caring", states Ioana about her parents and her parents-in-law.

Elements of clinical evaluation

Observations and interview

From a psychological point of view, Ioana presents an ambivalence concerning the relationship with her husband. On one hand she states that: "If the child wasn't born, we wouldn't have stayed together" which gives the initial impression that nothing unites them. On the other hand, in some other context, she states: "I wished Razvan as my husband", "When he is at work I miss him very much". This shows a certain amount of uncertainty about their relationship. She describes herself as an anxious and depressed person: "I am depressed, sad", "I feel stressed, nervous". Through the escalating stress technique, Ioana was asked if she had taken into account the possibility of a divorce. Her negative answer proves that she doesn't really desire a definitive separation from Razvan. Furthermore, there is a refusal to realize the first task proposed by the therapist, in which she had to describe how the perfect husband should behave. …

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