First Session Postintake: Introducing the RE Model and Teaching Effective Conflict Management
Once the clinical intake is complete, the therapist’s next task is to decide whether to follow the Time-Designated format (chapters 5-7) or the Experiential format (chapter 8) to teach the core RE skills and launch the couple’s first dialogue. The therapist may legitimately choose either format, and his or her decision can be made on a case-by-case basis depending on the needs of any given couple. However, a therapist’s ability to utilize the Experiential format well is dependent upon having first mastered the more structured Time-Designated format and the special RE therapy techniques, because the Experiential format involves a more concentrated and faster-paced application of the RE therapy process. The advantage of the Time-Designated format is that it provides a highly systematized and structured frame of reference for conducting RE therapy so that in principle the therapist knows exactly what to do at any given moment in the unfolding process. Therapists new to the RE model may therefore wish to first follow the Time-Designated format and then experiment with using the Experiential format. As therapists become more familiar with both formats, they will be better positioned to use the Experiential format with greater confidence and fluidity. Therapists will also discover the great flexibility that is possible within the RE therapy model, including the flexibility to combine elements of both formats or to move back and forth between them.