Hope-Focused Marriage Counseling

by calpopa

Hope-Focused Marriage Counseling: A Guide to Brief Therapy  by Everett L. Worthington Jr.

First, I need to mention that I am writing this review as a seminary student. This was one of the textbooks for my marital counseling class.

The book is written for professional counselors and pastors. It is perhaps more technical than most books pastors would use in marital counseling.

Worthington proposes a brief therapy approach, with one long and thorough assessment followed by a five to eight intervention sessions. He sees assessment as absolutely necessary and expects change to continue after sessions are ended. He sees homework as very important.

Worthington sees all marriage problems caused by lack of forgiveness, lack of hope, lack of faith and lack of love. His approach to counseling is based on a positive, hope-based alliance with the couple. His strategy is applying faith working through love. He defines love as a willingness to value and avoid devaluing people that springs from a caring, other-focused heart.

The areas of change are:

  • central values and beliefs
  • core vision of the marriage
  • confession and forgiveness
  • communication
  • conflict resolution
  • cognition about the marriage
  • closeness (intimacy, coaction, distance)
  • complicating problems (abuse, substance dependence, mental health problems)
  • commitment (including contentment with the marriage and compounding investments in the marriage compared with investments in alternatives to the marriage such as other relationships, jobs, children, hobbies, friends)

The last two thirds of the book lists numerous interventions that can be used to address the above areas of change.

I think the book is a very good resource for someone who already has experience counseling couples or as a main resource in a class. It may be too technical as a stand alone resource for someone new to counseling.

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