1st Edition

Bringing Common Factors to Life in Couple and Family Therapy

By Eli A. Karam, Adrian J. Blow Copyright 2023
    266 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    266 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    With the aim of renewing motivation, energy, and creativity in a therapists clinical work, this book explores how common factors may be utilized to increase effectiveness in couple and family therapy.

    Practicing a specific approach or model for couple and family therapy may fulfill many initial therapist needs, but over time it is developmentally normal for your enthusiasm to wane for a specific way of practicing this therapy. This book therefore provides a common factors framework which may help alleviate feelings of "staleness" and reinvigorate your practice. Different from previous theoretical texts about common factors, this practical book will help you construct a personalized plan that will allow you to take charge of your therapeutic development. The authors present helpful strategies and exercises to build on your previously existing therapeutic skill set, stoke curiosity for the work, counter against burnout and frustration and, most importantly, achieve consistently better outcomes for your clients.

    This new resource is an essential read for seasoned couple and family therapists who want to improve their clinical skills and personal effectiveness, as well as students and professionals just starting their journey into this type of clinical work.

    1. Overview/How to Use This Book  2. How Change Occurs Part 1: Broad Common Factors of Change  3. How Change Occurs Part 2: Narrow Common Factors, AKA Common Therapeutic Effects  4. Couple & Family Therapy Common Factors  5. Choosing the Right Model for You and Your Clients  6. Enhancing Client and Contextual Factors  7. Mobilizing Hope  8. The Talented and Skilled Therapist  9. Nurturing the Therapeutic Alliance  10. Utilizing Feedback in CFT  11. Common Factors Self-Supervision & Treatment Planning


    Eli A. Karam PhD, LMFT is a systemic therapist, trainer, applied researcher and educator at the University of Louisville, where he is a professor

    Adrian J. Blow PhD, LMFT works as a couple and family therapy intervention researcher and educator at Michigan State University where he is professor and department chair

    "Karam and Blow maintain that there is so much more to helping families beyond existing therapy models. This book is about that "something more," the common factors that cut across couple and family therapy (CFT) models. They show, for example, how to maximize client factors like motivation and hope. Readers learn how to conceptualize problems systemically, invite alternative views of the presenting problem, disrupt dysfunctional relational patterns, strengthen the therapeutic alliance, expand direct treatment systems, focus on self-of-therapist work and employ regular client feedback. Also, the authors share important best practices in self supervision and treatment planning. Most importantly, as the title suggests, they bring common factors to life.

    There is a wealth of wisdom in this book that will improve the readers’ therapy and augment there treatment models. What I liked best was the regular reflective questions and learning activities that will encourage critical thinking and personalize each skill. They include, for example, exercises to help one consider therapeutic models that are consistent with one’s personality, a hope history inventory and log, a common factors feedback interview, a common factors journal. I loved the many ways the authors engage readers. These activities are perfect for encouraging reflection, class discussion, and self-training. And their case examples illustrate each of their points beautifully. The result is that this book transforms common factors from the margins of CFT to where they belong – front and center -- a primary therapeutic focus that will enhance all CFT models and the therapists that employ them."

    -Fred P. Piercy, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Family Therapy, Virginia Tech, Former Editor of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

    "Bringing the Common Factors to Life in Couple and Family Therapy offers a refreshing approach to thinking about how to do couple and family therapy more effectively. Karam and Blow provide a down-to-earth guide that enables the reader to meaningfully put common factors research to work using any theoretical model. They engage the reader with practical exercises and examples that bring their ideas to life and inspire real world applications. Without a doubt, Bringing the Common Factors to Life will be instrumental in shaping the next evolution of couple and family therapy theory."    

    -Diane R. Gehart, PhD, Professor, California State University, Northridge