Integrative Models Paper






Integrative Models Paper

Considering the current dynamic culture and the whole society, there will be need for better family focused integrative therapy to help families stay healthy. In addition, considering changing influences on behavior especially on the adolescent children, there will be need for integrative model that not only centers on the problem, but also the whole family including causes within the family. In addition, to ensure there is progress, there will be need for a scientific model for assessing the effectiveness of models used. Integrative models make use of several approaches to a particular family in order to cover more areas rather than just the problem, while other factors could be contributing (Christensen, Atkins, Berns, Wheeler, Baucom, & Simpson, 2004). This paper looks at one of the models and evaluates its effectiveness in helping families fight issues within their homes using the scientific method.

Therapists to families have been undecided concerning schools of thought that are best fit for family intervention. However, they have recognized that there cannot be one efficient approach to family therapy intervention. It was also recognized that the traditional methods were only half-effective in helping families. However, despite therapists not knowing what makes family and couple therapy work, they have realized that it results from several approaches rather than one. Instead of coming up with another approach to family therapy, Neil Jacobson and Andrew Christensen sought to integrate several elements from the traditional approaches in order to make family and couple therapy more effective (Christensen, et al, 2004).

In their work, they combined elements such as strategic, Bowenian, experiential, as well as object relations approaches with the traditional therapy approaches to come up with an integrated approach. This proved to be quite successful considering it used several approaches. The approach focuses on offering support as well as emotional support and empathy, as opposed to the traditional approaches that only focused on teaching couples what to do theoretically. The integrative couples’ therapy is more practical and ensures guidance and support to the couple as well as the family along the therapy sessions.

The approach follows several steps, which include the first phase concerned with formulating a strategy, the process of polarization, a mutual trap and fostering acceptance. In the formulation stage, couples are encouraged not to pass the blame on each other; rather, they are encouraged to accept issues, as they are in order to allow change to occur. The main issue is then identified, which is considered the focus of the therapy (Jacobson, Christensen, Prince, Cordova, & Eldridge, 2000). The couple’s conflicting or destructive issues are identified and defined. The mutual trap seeks to identify the behavior between the two partners that enhance or maintain the destructive behaviors or keep the conflicting issues. Fostering acceptance or emotional acceptance, where Jacobson and Christensen state that some issues may not be solved with compromise and acceptance, comes in. They further state that a couple’s greatest harm is not the incompatibilities between them; rather, it is the negative response and rigid emotional attitudes towards such issues that could be developed due to lack of solving them (Jacobson, et al, 2000).

The model suggests several ideas that couples can use in order to make their relationship better. They suggest that talking about feelings concerning the problems or focusing on the feelings brought about by the problem makes it worse. Rather, a couple should focus on taking an action to solve the problems, which will eliminate the issues and therefore take away the hard feelings. It also suggests that all partners can be in a position to learn skills of eliminating the bad behaviors that lead to problems in their relationship (Jacobson, et al, 2000). In addition, all couples can learn ways of coming to a compromise in the relationship to solve issues, which would help in making all partners happier. This model is better than the traditional ones that focused on teaching the couples what to do through mere counseling, and focuses on all areas that could help in solving the issue. Through following the steps, a couple can realize their behaviors that contribute to their conflicts. This way, a solution would be easier to find after all causal factors are known and analyzed (Davis, & Piercy, 2007).

Evaluation of the effectiveness of the integrative couples’ therapy has shown a big improvement from the traditional approaches that only instructed rather than giving support that is more crucial. In finding out the effectiveness of the integrative couples’ therapy model, therapists used the scientific model where a comparison of a couple undergoing therapy using the model is compared to one using the traditional approaches (Shadish, & Baldwin, 2005). Through such a comparison, several results that highlight its effectiveness have been found.

It was found that through using the traditional approaches, there was improvement in the couple at the initial stages of the therapy. This was seen to improve only half the number of couples. More research has shown that only a third of the couples using the traditional approach are able to recover from their conflicts completely at the end of the therapy. Others will remain stressed with their problems still hurting them after the therapy is over. Two year after the traditional therapy, almost a third of the couples reported that their relationship was even worse than it was before therapy. Four years after therapy has been done, couples who still find their situation worse after therapy are usually divorced. The reason was identified as lack of communication in the relationship after therapy (Shadish, & Baldwin, 2005).

The integrative couples’ therapy model incorporates the traditional models with enhancing communication skills that couples can learn to use when they have problems. This way, they are able to realize what is causing the problem rather than keeping quiet about it, leaving issues unsolved. Research has shown that using the newly integrative model that enhances communication maintains a lasting effect after therapy is over. The new model helps couples in solving their own issue alone using good communication (Shadish, & Baldwin, 2005). The main idea behind the model that makes it effective is a circular process that assesses the interventions and seeks to maintain the process so that problems will always be solved (Hutchinson, 2007).


Christensen, A. et-al. (2004). Traditional versus Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy for Significantly and Chronically Distressed Married Couples, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72, 176–191.

Davis, S.D., & Piercy, F. P. (2007). What Clients of Couple Therapy Model Developers and Their Former Students Say about Change, Part Ii: Model-Independent Common Factors and an Integrative Framework. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 33 (3): 344-363.

Hutchinson, L. (2007). Integrative Couples Therapy 01. Retrieved from:

Jacobson, N. S., Christensen, A., Prince, S. E., Cordova, J., and Eldridge, K. (2000). Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy an Acceptance-Based, Promising New Treatment for Couple Discord. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68, 351-355.

Shadish, W.R., & Baldwin, S.A. (2005). The effects of behavioral marital therapy: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73(1), 6-14.


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