Academic journal article Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

Evaluating Couples: A Handbook for Practitioners

Academic journal article Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

Evaluating Couples: A Handbook for Practitioners

Article excerpt

What an endeavor. Mark Karpel covers every practical aspect of couples evaluation from the initial phone call to the conclusion of therapy. His book provides a format "for assessing the problems and resources they present" (p. xvi). In that, it is the most comprehensive practical guide to couple evaluation I have seen.

The book's intent is to help clinicians evaluate couples but not to pathologize them. Its core discusses the basic tenets of the initial and the ongoing evaluation and therapy process working with couples. Karpel provides hands-on information about the evaluation format, how to arrange and conduct the initial couples session, how to develop and formulate working hypotheses, and how to decide on treatment recommendations. The pros and cons of adding individual sessions to the initial couple evaluation put the relational assessment in the context of the individuals involved. Beyond describing his basic clinical evaluation format, Karpel covers alternative evaluation formats, including the use of instruments and inventories.

In Part I Karpel provides a theoretical and contextual framework for his evaluation format. Applying attachment theory to adult relationships has become very popular lately. It helps the reader to put the discussion of the evaluation format into a theoretical context and to understand the author's theoretical position. …

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