Couple Therapy and the Intersystem Approach
Although marital and couple relationships received a modest degree of clinical focus during the fi rst half of the 20th century, they emerged as a unique focus of treatment in the later part of the 20th century with the advancement of system theory and its application to psychotherapy. The development of systemic theories and therapies represented a major paradigmatic shift in psychotherapy. These therapeutic approaches represented a shift away from the individualistic and intrapsychic theories developed and employed by Freud and the psychoanalytic/dynamic therapists, as well as many cognitive-behavioral and humanistic models of psychotherapy. The systemic theories all share the concept of the individual-as-part-of-a-system, and they focus on interpersonal variables and relationship dynamics.