chapter  6
Pages 12

Couples who present for therapy usually do so because the dysfunctional behaviors that have arisen in their dyad are causing di«culties for them, are ensuring that they are not as happy or content as they would like to be or as they feel they could or should be, or are even leading them to behave in ways that may be seriously physically or psychologically damaging for them both. Often, they fear that these unresolved problems may be leading them inexorably toward the end of their relationship, regardless of how strongly they may feel that they still have the potential to be happy together. It may be that these problems always existed on some level or, more likely, that a change in couples’ circumstances, such as the birth of a new child or a new working situation for one or both members of the couple, have caused underlying tensions and unmet needs that were always there but that heretofore did not cause signi˜cant disruption to couples’ relationship. Often, the di«culties causing couples such distress are also creating unhappiness and confusion for members of the larger family, in particular any children couples might have. As such, they may well be setting up a self-renewing cycle of damaging behavior that could be perpetuated throughout generations if nothing happens to halt it.