Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Nick John Topetzes

Second Advisor

Mark Kipfmueller

Third Advisor

Dennis White

Fourth Advisor

Glenn Tagatz

Fifth Advisor

Ronald T. Zaffrann


The marital relationship probably means a little something different to everyone, depending on his or her experience with or within such a relationship. There has always been interest and concern with the intimate relationship between husbands and wives but it has only been recently, the last few decades, that these needs have given birth to a clinical specialty which treats couples having difficulties with their relationships. The first clinics in the U. S. to begin serving couples with problems opened in the early 1930's in Philadelphia and New York and are still functioning today (Olson, 1970).

In this paper, marital counseling and marital therapy are referred to as marital therapy. The reason for his is, as Olson suggests, that there are so many techniques covered by the term "marital counseling" that it inadequately describes any one treatment approach. ital therapy is developing its own identity because of its de-emphasis of individual pathology and its focus on the prominent significance of the relationship. This emphasis has also caused "conjoint therapy" (treatment of
the relationship only with both partners present) to become the preferred mode of treatment for a great many therapists, e.g., Haley (1963), Jackson (1961), and Satir (1964). These persons whom I have cited are often most closely associated with family therapy but it is becoming of the disturbance and is the primary treatment unit. It is held that if a problem exists, then it exists within the system and can be effectively treated only by working with the whole system. When marital or relationship problems exist, they are a function of the two persons whom they affect. Although some research supports this theory (Udry, 1971), it may not apply in all situations. This contention will be discussed in more depth later.




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