Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as a Treatment for Couple Dysfunction

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APA Citation: 

Capps, C., & Storaasli, R. (not published). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as a Treatment for Couple Dysfunction.

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Conceptual
Professional Issues in Contextual Behavioral Science
Publication Type: 
ACT, couples

Behaviorally oriented therapies have been among the most studied and empirically supported forms of treatment for marital/couple dysfunction (see, e.g., Hahlweg & Markman, 1988; Shadish & Baldwin, 2005; Shadish, Montgomery, Wilson, Wilson, Bright & Okwumabua, 1993; Snyder, Castellani, & Whisman, 2006). Yet, research suggests that nearly one-third to one-half of couples who complete treatment realize no significant improvement in their relationship (Jacobson, 1991; Shadish, et al., 1993), and that significant deterioration will occur in 30 to 60 percent of couple relationships within 2-4 years post treatment (see, e.g., Cookerly, 1980; Jacobson, Schmaling, & Holtzworth-Munroe, 1987; Snyder et al., 2006), with separation rates as high as 38%, even for couples who received and initially benefited from evidence-based behavioral treatments (Snyder & Wills, 1989; Snyder, Wills, & Grady-Fletcher, 1991; see Jacobson, 1991, for a response). Interestingly, these statistics square well when juxtaposed with divorce estimates for first marriages, which still hover around 50%, with second marriages faring even worse (Bramlett & Mosher, 2001; Kreider & Fields, 2002). Given the enormous, well-documented emotional, physical, and social costs of divorce, relationship dissolution, and relational turmoil, a case can be clearly made to examine alternative forms of couple treatment.

In this paper, I will make such a case for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ...

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