Guidelines for classifying evidence-based treatments in couple and family therapy

Thomas Sexton*, Kristina Coop Gordon, Alan Gurman, Jay Lebow, Amy Holtzworth-Munroe, Susan Johnson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Guidelines for Evidence-Based Treatments in Family Therapy are intended to help guide clinicians, researchers, and policy makers in identifying specific clinical interventions and treatment programs for couples and families that have scientifically based evidence to support their efficacy. In contrast to criteria, which simply identify treatments that "work" and have been employed in the evaluation of other psychotherapies, these guidelines propose a three-tiered levels-of-evidence-based model that moves from "evidence-informed," to "evidence-based," to "evidence-based and ready for dissemination and transportation within diverse community settings." Each level reflects an interaction between the specificity of the intervention, the strength and readth of the outcomes, and the quality of the studies that form the evidence. These guidelines uniquely promote a clinically based "matrix" approach in which the empirical support is evaluated according to various dimensions including strength of the outcomes, the applicability across cultural contexts, and demonstration of specific change mechanisms. The guidelines are offered not only as a basis for understanding the evidence for diverse clinical approaches in couple and family therapy within the systemic tradition of the field, but also as an alternative aspirational model for evaluating all psychotherapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-392
Number of pages16
JournalFamily process
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011


  • Couple therapy
  • Evidence-based treatments
  • Family therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Guidelines for classifying evidence-based treatments in couple and family therapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this