Keeping Therapy Balanced
The concept of balance is central to systemic thought and the process of couple therapy. A therapist who thinks systemically believes that both members of a couple dyad contribute to, and thus share responsibility for, the intimacies and diffi culties they might be experiencing. The couple therapist who is balanced in approach asks both partners to be accountable, confronts both with relatively equal intensity, and fi nds ways to be supportive and nurturing to each person. In such an approach, the therapist does not align with one partner or form a coalition against the other, but consistently addresses the infl uence and contribution of both partners. Failure to maintain balance can have a negative impact on treatment outcome. For example, clients’ perception that the therapeutic alliance is not balanced or fair is one of the reasons for premature termination (Westmacott, Hunsley, Best, Rumstein-Mckean, & Schindler, 2010). Furthermore, if the therapist loses balance, the therapy may be destructive to one or both partners. Judgment and accusations can take the place of personal responsibility and a climate of fairness and trust.