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Marriage-Friendly Therapy

Marriage-friendly therapy is a term coined in the early 2000s to describe an approach to counseling that affirms the value of marital commitment and lifelong marriage. In practice, the marriage-friendly therapist’s first stance is to preserve and improve the relationship unless there are compelling reasons otherwise (e.g., the presence of abuse). This contrasts with the “neutral” approach, which maintains that the therapist should have no value stance about whether a client’s marriage survives or ends in divorce and that what matters are clients’ own values and choices for their relationship. This entry provides historical background to value orientations in the field of marriage counseling, describes relevant research, illustrates how the neutral approach also embodies value assumptions that play out in practice, and comments on the ...

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