VISTAS Counseling Families and Adults

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

Brief Couples Relationship Enhancement Therapy/Enrichment and Prevention

Barry G. Ginsberg


Relationship enhancement therapy (RE), developed by Bernard G. Guerney in the 1960s (Guerney, 1977), combines psychodynamic, behavioral, communication, experiential, and relationship (family) systems perspectives into an integrative whole. This approach was one of the earliest to recognize the benefits of an educational skill training model over the traditional diagnosis and treatment model that has been popular for decades. Central to the development of RE is the belief that one’s personality is shaped by his or her relationships, which in turn shape relationships over the life span. The individual is seen as developing interpersonal reflexes, which trigger the same kind of response in others. These reflexes or habits are seen as automatic and nonconscious and operate reciprocally (Leary, 1957, Shannon & Guerney, 1973, Sullivan, 1947). From this perspective, Guerney conceived of the idea of training people in constructive relationship skills, which became the foundation of RE therapy (Ely, Guerney, & Stover, 1973; Guerney, 1964)

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