25 Years of systemic therapies research: Progress and promise

Laurie Heatherington*, Myrna L. Friedlander, Gary M. Diamond, Valentín Escudero, William M Pinsof

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Abstract: Objective: In this article we describe and assess the state of the science on systemic psychotherapies. In the quarter century since the first issue of Psychotherapy Research was published, considerable progress has been made. There is an increasingly solid evidence base for systemic treatments, which includes a wide range of approaches to working conjointly with couples and families. Moreover, there are exciting new developments that hold promise for explicating the dynamic processes of therapeutic change in couple and family systems. Method: We begin by explaining how we view “systemic therapies” as different from individual approaches and then summarize what we have learned in the past 25 years about this set of treatments, how we have learned it, and what we have yet to learn. Results and Conclusions: We consider current trends in research on outcomes and change process mechanisms, and end with speculations about what lies ahead in the interrelated domains of systemic research and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-364
Number of pages17
JournalPsychotherapy Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 4 2015


  • couple and family therapy
  • family treatment
  • mechanisms of change
  • systemic therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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