Short-Term Couple Therapy

Edited by: James M Donovan, PhD

Course Outline

This unique guide brings together representatives of the major family therapy approaches to demonstrate the nuts and bolts of their brief work with couples. The time- and cost-effective models discussed are explicitly short-term — not long-term on fast forward — and detailed case excerpts and clinical examples highlight how each form of therapy is actually conducted. Noted contributors include Susan Johnson, Philip Guerin, Michael Nichols and Salvador Minuchin, Simon Budman, Andrew Christensen and Neil Jacobson, James Keim, and many others.

About Authors

James M. Donovan, PhD, has served as staff psychologist at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates for over 25 years. Dr. Donovan is founder and codirector of the Mental Healthy Fellowship at Harvard Vanguard and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in Psychology at Harvard Medical School.

Learning Objectives

1. Describe the triangle of conflict and explain its application in couple therapy.
2. Distinguish between “transference” and “passive-into-active” testing of the therapist.
3. Describe the conceptual approach that combines psychoanalysis and systems theory into a short-term couple therapy.
4. Explain session-by-session integrative couple therapy.
5. Describe the process of time-effective; solution-focused approach to couple’s therapy.

Course Contents

  1. Short-Term Couple Therapy and the Principles of Brief Treatment
    James M. Donovan


  1. Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Straight to the Heart
    Susan M. Johnson
  2. Short-Term Couples Group Psychotherapy: A Tale of Four Fights
    James M. Donovan
  3. A Control Mastery Approach to Short-Term Couple Therapy
    Richard Vogel


  1. Brief Marital Therapy: The Story of the Triangles
    Philip J. Guerin, Jr., Leo F. Fay, Thomas F. Fogarty, and Judith G. Kautto
  2. Short-Term Structural Family Therapy with Couples
    Michael P. Nichols and Salvador Minuchin
  3. Psychoanalytically Informed Short- Term Couple Therapy
    Phyllis Cohen
  4. Time-Effective Couple Therapy
    Simon H. Budman


  1. Collaborative Couple Therapy
    Daniel B. Wile
  2. Integrative Couple Therapy: The Dyadic Relationship of Acceptance and Change
    Erika Lawrence, Kathleen Eldridge, Andrew Christensen, and Neil S. Jacobson


  1. Brief Strategic Martial Therapy
    James Keim
  2. Narrative Solutions in Brief Couple Therapy
    Joseph B. Eron and Thomas W. Lund
  3. A Time-Effective, Solution- Focused Approach to Couple Therapy
    Steven Friedman and Eve Lipchik
  4. Couples, Culture, and Discourse: A Narrative Approach
    John H. Neal, Jeffrey L. Zimmerman, and Victoria C. Dickerson
  5. Short-Term Couple Therapy: The Present and the Future
    James M. Donovan

Customer Comments

“This course material will be useful in my practice.”

– P.B., LPC, NJ

“Very good! A lot of useful info!”

– T.L.M., LPC, AL & FL