There is an almost total absence of writing that outlines and analyzes the theoretical underpinnings of divorce therapy from related disciplines and other interventions strategies. A brief summary is presented here that should help marital therapists who are seeking to understand the foundations of the strategies employed in doing divorce work with couples and clients. However, for an in-depth discussion of the theoretical origins and debts of divorce therapy, the reader is referred to our earlier book . Divorce therapy is still in its early stages of defining itself as a specialized form of therapy, but most marital therapists find themselves employing some strategies of divorce therapy as they help their clients work through the decision about divorce and the adjustment to divorce, once it is clear that the marriage is going to be dissolved. Sprenkle has written that divorce therapy can be described as relationship treatment whose goal is to diminish and eventually dissolve the marital bonds, in contrast to marital therapy that seeks to enhance and preserve the marital bond. Of course, such a dichotomy is rarely apparent in clinical practice. More often, the therapist finds himself or herself in a period that may be lengthy and ambiguous of alternating back and forth between exploring preservation and uncoupling, reflecting the normal ambivalence of the separating partners. Couples may present with goals of saving the marriage, when, in actuality, at least one partner is fairly certain and committed to dissolution. The opposite may also be the case. The point is that the distinction between divorce therapy and marital therapy is not tidy, and the therapist must continue to help clients assert their real desires and must sensitively monitor the goals and commitments of the clients, and be flexible to changing strategies appropriate to those goals. There are essentially five areas from which divorce therapy, as currently conceived and practiced, has derived: marital and family therapy, including both psychodynamic systems and behavioral approaches; crisis-intervention treatment; grief and bereavement counseling; educational-supportive counseling; and developmental psychology . My approach incorporates elements of all these areas, but I find it most valuable to work with divorcing clients from a family life cycle perspective that will be elaborated later in greater detail.
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