Intimacies: An Integrative Multicultural Framework for Couple Therapy.

08:00 EDT 16th May 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Intimacies: An Integrative Multicultural Framework for Couple Therapy."

Implicitly or explicitly, our ideas about intimacy are the most fundamental notions giving direction to the process of couple therapy. Yet, as a field, we have spent little time conceptualizing intimacy and even less time considering the diversity of priorities and meanings couples bring to our offices. In Part One, Varieties of Intimacy, I describe a kaleidoscope of contexts-socio-historical, cultural, gender, life cycle, and developmental-that inform our ideas and expectations for intimacy in couples' relationships. I highlight different spheres in which intimacy may take place such as the emotional, sexual, intellectual, or familial. I propose a starting point in which the therapist, in a collaborative manner, helps the partners articulate their yearnings and priorities in order to negotiate a shared vision. In Part Two, Conceptualizing Intimacy, I suggest an experiential definition that gives room for each partner's subjective meanings, yet consider diverse relational processes that may need to be addressed for a resilient ebb and flow of intimate experiences. In Part Three, Sexual Intimacy, I outline conditions in which sex is more likely to be experienced as intimate rather than nonintimate. Finally, in Part Four, I describe Therapeutic Principles to guide the therapist in taking couples from reactivity to dialogue to negotiations of intimacy. The integrative framework proposed here discourages monolithic a priori notions of intimacy and highlights instead: nuanced meanings, relational processes to be considered differentially, present and past emotional blocks, and a flexible clinical approach to foster conditions for the creation and resilience of intimate experiences.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Family process
ISSN: 1545-5300


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