Integrative approaches to couple and family therapy

Jay L. Lebow*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Writing a chapter on integrative methods in couple and family therapy presents a significant challenge. At the beginning of the 21st century, the practice of family therapy has substantially come to be synonymous with the practice of integrative methods. Just as Alan Gurman has pointed out that family therapy is almost intrinsically short-term therapy (Gurman, 1992), the development of family therapy has naturally led to the dominance of integrative practice. Although there continue to be notable developments in the firstgeneration schools of family therapy (see, for example, the chapters in this volume by Scharff and Scharff, Datillio, and Mitrani) and the generation of some new models over the last decade (see the chapter on narrative approaches by Anderson), even the approaches that retain a core of school-based underpinnings now often include a great deal of what is termed assimilative integration (Goldfried & Norcross, 1995; Lebow, 1987a, 1987b) that is, the inclusion of methods drawn from other approaches around the foundation of a host approach. Indeed, most of the methods catalogued in this volume are integrative approaches; remarkably, almost all the methods in Part III of this volume, dealing with evidence-based approaches, and Part IV, dealing with special applications, speak to what essentially are integrative or eclectic approaches. Sometimes integrative approaches are labeled empirically supported treatments, sometimes treatments for specific disorders, sometimes ways of intervening with specific populations, and sometimes integrative and eclectic treatments, but these methods are now everywhere Both the methods presented by the leaders in the field and the practice of most couple and family therapists are now primarily integrative or eclectic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Family Therapy
Subtitle of host publicationThe Science and Practice of Working with Families and Couples
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)020349041X, 9781135451318
ISBN (Print)1583913254, 9781583913260
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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