Tailoring couple therapy to individual differences: A conceptual approach. Chapter uri icon


  • Our goal in this chapter is to provide a structural framework for conceptualizing relationship difficulties and tailoring couple therapy to individual differences from an integrative approach. The concepts presented here should assist readers in making use of conceptual approaches and specific intervention strategies described in subsequent chapters in this book. The chapter is organized into three sections. First, issues of matching interventions to individual and relationship characteristics are considered. Couple therapy will be most effective when couples are matched to treatments for which they possess prerequisite attributes and are excluded from treatments for which they are particularly ill suited. Second, we differentiate among eclectic, pluralistic, and integrative practice and propose a model linking each to overall effectiveness as a function of a couple's complexity. Specifically, we argue that therapeutic success results from an optimal, intermediate level of technical integration within a theoretically pluralistic approach, but that this function is moderated by the level of case complexity. Finally, we describe an organizational model for sequencing and pacing couple interventions. The model argues for using initial structural and strategic interventions to contain crises and strengthen the couple's relationship, followed with behavioral techniques for promoting essential relationship skills, and then incorporating cognitive and psychodynamic approaches as appropriate to address intrapersonal factors linked to relationship functioning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

author list (cited authors)

  • Snyder, D. K., Schneider, W. J., & Castellani, A. M.

complete list of authors

  • Snyder, DK||Schneider, WJ||Castellani, AM

editor list (cited editors)

  • D. K. Snyder M. A. Whisman.

Book Title

  • Treating difficult couples: Helping clients with coexisting mental and relationship disorders

publication date

  • January 2003