Case Studies in Couples Therapy: Theory-Based Approaches

By Perkins, Susan N. | Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, January 2013 | Go to article overview

Case Studies in Couples Therapy: Theory-Based Approaches


Perkins, Susan N., Journal of Marital and Family Therapy


Carson, D. K., & Casado-Kehoe, M. (Eds.). (2012). Case studies in couples therapy: Theory-based approaches. New York, NY: Routledge, 387 pp., $39.95.

Couples therapy can take unprepared therapists for a ride along the often neck-bracing, gut-wrenching dynamics of a couple's relationship. As the editors of Case Studies in Couples Therapy: Theory-Based Approaches point out, studying theories of couples therapy may not prepare therapists with practical, theoretically sound application strategies for the here-and-now intensity of couples cases. The editors, Carson and Casado-Kehoe, designed this case study text to help close "the gap between theory and practice" (p. xxvii). A similar recent text on case studies edited by Gurman (2010) highlights the field's sense of need for case study resources.

Carson and Casado-Kehoe begin the book by providing a list of best practices for working with couples in therapy. The remainder of the book presents a series of 28 theory-based case study chapters with a common format: (a) a concise theoretical summary, (b) a complete case study, (c) the therapist's reflection on the case, and (d) implications for training and supervision. Most of the book's authors narrate complex, imperfect cases and honestly reflect on their experiences providing couples therapy. These cases do not provide a detailed manual for implementing various approaches to couples therapy, but rather offer a valuable glimpse into the work of each model. The chapters include a comprehensive range of well-known current models, usually with the primary theorist authoring the chapter (e.g., Olson, Dattilio, Johnson, Hendrix, Nelson, Gottman, and Snyder), as well as models not covered in most couples therapy textbooks (e.g., the SYMBIS model, the Hope-Focused Approach). Although an editorial explanation of how the models fit into the larger framework of the field would have been helpful, the range of models included is a unique asset of this collection.

Carson and Casado-Kehoe's text provides multi-layered richness to the understanding of couples therapy. …

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