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Therapeutic Impasses

In couples and family therapy, impasses refer to difficult encounters involving both the therapist and clients that stall therapeutic progress. When this occurs, the therapeutic process itself is at an impasse. An impasse can occur following several unsuccessful interventions, resulting in the therapist being at a loss and unsure of how to proceed. The therapist might assess therapy as going in circles, while producing only minimal results. At this point the clients, as well as the therapist, may experience despair, including loss of hope. On a micro level, clients frequently experience impasses in their relationships. An impasse in a couple relationship occurs when the couple believes they have tried everything and are seeing little progress in their therapy. These micro impasses in a couple’s ...

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