chapter  4
32 Pages

Step 3: Explore the Triangle of Conflict

Each couple represents a system, albeit a small one, and two separate individuals, the conceptual puzzle that renders couple treatment fascinating but also confusing. In every minute of every session, the therapist must ponder at which level to understand the difficulty and, quickly following that assessment, at what level to intervene. In a time-limited format, this decision becomes more crucial, and the therapist can rapidly feel pressured and tempted to become hasty in his or her approach. Many therapists, particularly systemic theorists, argue against an emphasis on individual intrapsychic functioning within a couple therapy. I strongly disagree. I’ll quickly demonstrate both the necessity and the pitfalls of my position.