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The role of professional counselling as an effective means to minimise, manage and resolve conflict as a consequence of the marital relationship Yaseen.

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Presentation on theme: "The role of professional counselling as an effective means to minimise, manage and resolve conflict as a consequence of the marital relationship Yaseen."— Presentation transcript:

1 The role of professional counselling as an effective means to minimise, manage and resolve conflict as a consequence of the marital relationship Yaseen Ally BA [Health Sciences and Social Services] BA [Hon] [Psychology] MA [Research Psychology] BPsych [Counselling] PhD Fellow

2 Beginning of Counseling Freud began therapeutic practice and research in Vienna Alfred Adler Carl Jung Carl Rogers 1951 The seminal work of Gestalt Therapy is published Fritz Perls

3 The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) B.F. Skinner Abraham Maslow Albert Ellis Aaron Beck DSM II published

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5 Phase I: Atheoretical Gurman and Fraenkel  1930 to 1963  1929 to Three marital clinics opened; they were service and education oriented, and saw mostly individuals  The closest thing to theory was what was borrowed from psychoanalytic - interlocking neurosis  1931 the first marital therapy paper was published  Theory was marginalized due to a lack of brilliant theorists, and a lack of distinction from individual analysis

6 Phase II: Psychoanalytic Experimentation 1931 to 1966 Mostly individual sessions, but some conjoint; still treated like seeing two individual clients in the same room though Some started to downplay the role of the therapist Family was outshining couples work, and the couple techniques weren't innovative or particularly effective

7 Phase III: Family Therapy Incorporates Other Approaches  1963 to 1985  Family therapy overpowers couples, even though a number of big name people really mostly saw couples  Jackson- Coined concepts like quid pro quo, homeostasis, and double bind for conjoint therapy  Satir - Coined naming roles members played, fostered self-esteem and actualization, and saw the therapist as a nurturing teacher

8 Phase III: Family Therapy Incorporates Other Approaches  Bowen - Multigenerational theory approach, with differentiation, triangulation, and projection processes, with the therapist as an anxiety-lowering coach - societal projection process was the forerunner of our modern awareness of cultural differences  Haley - Power and control (or love and connection) were key. Avoided insight, emotional catharsis, conscious power plays. Saw system as more, and more important, than the sum of the parts

9 Phase IV: Refining and Integrating  1986 to present  New Theories were tried and refined, like Behavioral Marital Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy, and Insight-Oriented Marital Therapy.  Couples therapy was used to treat depression, anxiety, and alcoholism.  Efforts were focused on preventing couples problems with programs like PREP  Feminism, Multiculturalism, and Post-Modernism impacted the field  Eclectic integration, brief therapy, and sex therapy ideas were incorporated as well into our work.

10 More history Even in the early 1980’s couples counseling struggled to have a place. Haley (1984) put it, “marriage counseling did not seem relevant to the developing family therapy field.” It was seen that marriage counselors adopted the ideas of other therapies rather than developing their own.

11 THEN… – A good relationship is based on reciprocating positive behaviors and that a bad marriage is caused by a breakdown of this contract. Contingency contracting “give to get” – Each person would identify what behaviors they wanted to get from the other – Counselor would help couple to write a contract for the exchange of desired behaviors.

12 NOW… 1977 Murstein found that a reciprocity concept was a hallmark of an ailing relationship…not a happy one. People became “affective accountants” when a relationship wasn’t working well. – “I did this for her, and she never reciprocated.” When the relationship goes well, they don’t think of this contingency.

13 THEN… Goal was to have couple identify their problem and to help resolve them. Therapist was seen as “super problem-solver” Could start anywhere and teach a specific set of relationship skills Belief was that when specific skills were taught all conflicts would be solved.

14 NOW… Focus on resolution of conflict is misguided. Gottman’s research revealed that most conflict (69%) in relationships is perpetual. – Based on lasting differences in personalities and needs. Couples need to dialogue about perpetual issues or live in a state of ‘gridlock’ Goal is to manage conflicts rather than resolve them.

15 THEN… Focus on teaching skills System therapists taught: – Avoiding mind-reading, establishing clear feedback loops, being able to meta-communicate about double binding messages. Rogerian and behavior therapists taught: – Active listening to one another

16 NOW… If you teach skills, these are what need to be taught. In happy, lasting relationships: – The approach toward conflict is gentle. – Partners soften the way they bring up an issue – Partners accept influence from one another – Relationships have a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative affect during conflict – Consistently communicate acceptance of one another

17 NOW… In happy, lasting relationships: – They keep their level of physiological arousal low – They pre-empt negativity in the interaction – They repair the interaction and de-escalate if it does become negative – They move gently toward compromise

18 NOW… In relationships that are ailing and failing: – There is either an escalation of negative affect, – a lack of positive affect, – or a state of emotional disengagement

19 THEN… Assumed all conflicts were alike

20 NOW… Some conflicts are real deal-breakers – These conflicts contain ‘hidden agenda’ – Partners have the same argument over and over – Positions are embedded with deep personal meaning so that compromise seems completely unthinkable Need to help couples talk about deeper meaning – Freedom, power, love, and justice

21 NOW… Couples need to identify and communicate – their sense of purpose, – the meaning of how they move through time together, – their priorities and values, – what they hold to be sacred – their goals and missions, ethics, morality, – philosophy of life and religion – their legacy from their families and culture Goal is to build an existential base to their lives

22 Arguing is usually a battlefield for a bigger issue.

23 Do you ever use… Extreme or irrational tactic to gain your point (slamming doors, stomping around)? Hurt remarks to have the last word (sarcasm, name calling)? The Silent treatment Withdraw to a safe distance because you do not like to argue? Store up grudges and use later (revenge)? My way or no way attitude? Get angry, criticize, or some other aggressive behavior? Give in; “I guess you are right”, submissive behavior to avoid conflict. Deny or pretend that “everything is okay” If you answered “Yes” to any of the above you are not “fighting fair” and you are creating an interaction pattern of “I win, you lose”.

24 Failing to resolve a conflict situation causes: Married couples to withdraw and create emotional distance between them. Pile up of differences Irritations and resentments.

25 Do Not Trifle Over Trivia The following items are typical behaviors that create stress between people. Which way the toilet paper rolls. Eating or not eating in bed. Leaving damp washcloths scrunched in a lump, or wringing them out and spreading them to dry.

26 Why Does Conflict Occur? Lack of Communication Value conflicts Lack of effective leadership or decision- making Discrepancies in role performances Low productivity Unresolved prior conflicts

27 Unresolved Conflict is a Vicious Circle Relationship degenerates into a power struggle. Playing games (If it weren’t for you…, Look how hard I’ve tried… Develops “ritual impasse”, stuck at the same point (refusing to talk after working so hard. Destroys the problem- solving process In the end, the marriage fails because neither partner’s needs are met.

28 Perspective –What is yours? All people are different. We have different likes, dislikes, beliefs, and values. These differences make up our individual perspective.

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30 Summary The potential for conflict exists whenever and wherever people have contact. Remember the words of Robert Townsend: "A good manager does not try to eliminate conflict, he tries to keep it from wasting the energies of his people." All conflict cannot be resolved. Sometimes individuals do not think it is in their best interest--the price is too high. Resolution means negotiation toward a creative solution--if one party is unwilling to do that, the conflict will continue.

31 Paving the way forward Culture Socio- economic FreedomReligion Career Children ???

32 The effective key to marital conflict resolution is a multi-disciplinary framework


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