Couple therapy has been proven to be successful in treating marital distress and mental health problems; however, not everyone benefits from couple therapy. Although research suggests that some couple therapists are more effective than others, little research has explored the in-session behaviors of effective couple therapists. The purpose of this study was to code the therapist behaviors of therapist warmth, empathy, validation, presence, collaboration, systemically-based techniques, and session structure in the first session of 17 Emotionally Focused Therapy cases of couple therapy to examine their ability to predict pre-therapy to post-therapy change in male and female marital satisfaction. The seven hypotheses were tested utilizing Bayesian structure equation modeling (BSEM). Results indicate that 13 of the 14 hypothesized relationships between therapist behaviors and change in marital satisfaction were not significant. Only therapist empathy was a significant predictor, but it unexpectedly predicted a decrease in female marital satisfaction over the course of therapy. Possible explanations for the findings and clinical implications were discussed.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Marriage and Family Therapy
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Su, Li Ping, "The Effect of Common Factor Therapist Behaviors on Change in Marital Satisfaction" (2018). Theses and Dissertations. 7453.
effective therapist, common factors, couple therapy