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ESSAY: Theory Integration

For humanistic/experiential

Define the problem.
Formulate a theory-based treatment plan including short-term and long- term goals for the couple or family.
Describe two theory-based interventions you would use and justify your selection.
Explain one anticipated outcome of each.

For emotionally-focused

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Define the problem.
Design a theory-based treatment plan including short- and long-term goals for the couple or family.
Describe two theory-based interventions you would use and justify your selection.
Explain one anticipated outcome of each.


Theory Integration

Humanistic/Experiential Theory

The Humanistic Theory mainly focuses on the self-consciousness of individuals that leads to lived experiences (Elliott & Greenberg, 2017). Humanistic therapy, therefore, uses this theory to focus on an individual’s nature instead of using stereotypes to categorize groups of persons that have similar attributes as having matching issues (Elliott & Greenberg, 2017). This approach to therapy concentrates on the person as a whole from both the individuals and therapist’s point of view. It emphasizes a person’s positive behaviours and characters while using their inherent instincts to obtain growth, wisdom, fulfilment, and healing from within (Elliott & Greenberg, 2017). Therapists apply the humanistic theory in the treatment of certain disorders such as panic disorders, addiction, depression, and relationship problems that include couples and family. Also, people with a low opinion of themselves and have low-esteem may benefit from this treatment (Meneses & Scuka, 2016).

The media demonstration of the humanistic/experiential theory talks about a couple, Pat and Bill, who have been cohabiting for three years. Pat reveals that she had been in two previous marriages and that she and Bill were facing financial issues that strained their relationship. Recently, Bill experienced a heart attack forcing Pat to leave her job and take care of Bill. Pat continued searching for a job and remained unemployed for eight months. Meanwhile, Bill’s work is stressful and it exacerbates his anxiety despite good compensation.  Bill does not allow Pat to attend his doctor’s appointments and does not share any information from his physician with Pat. Bill views Pat as a parent and not his partner. Pat has difficulties in listening to Bill without interfering.

The main objective of a humanistic approach to therapy is to lend an understanding and empathetic ear without placing judgments on the individuals. When developing a treatment plan using the humanistic approach, it is essential to follow a person-centered method. Through a person-centered approach, Pat and Bill will be motivated to fill their inherent needs and their potentials to achieve self-actualization. Therefore, the short-term goals for this couple would be spending time doing things mutually.  For instance, activities that would help the couple interact more such as walks in the park, picnics, among others. Encouraging Bill to open up about his feelings and practice to listen to one other. One long-term goal is that Bill and Pat will recognize and express their emotions assertively.

The other intervention would be the gestalt therapy which emphasizes the “what and how”, the couple is feeling rather than trying to identify the causes of their problems. One outcome of the person-centered intervention is that the couple will share their feelings and listen to each other. One anticipated outcome for the gestalt method is that the couple will learn to discuss solutions that respect each other’s needs and themselves.

Emotionally-Focused Theory

This theory focuses on the short-term type of therapy on adult attachments and relationships (Johnson, 2019). With the aid of their therapist, the individuals examine their relationship patterns and move to create a bond that is more secure, trustful and in a positive direction. The theory is appropriate for couples or families that are dealing with loss, anger, fear, betrayal, or trust (Wiebe & Johnson, 2016). Since this therapy is designed for short-term problems, the therapy may consist of a maximum of 12 sessions after which the couple learns to communicate outside the therapy and make scheduled visits to report on their progress.

In the demonstration media, Scott and Leslie have been having issues in their marriage due to Scott’s temper and have been separated for a few weeks (Johnson, 2009). Scott has been abusing both the children and Leslie verbally. Despite her efforts, Leslie has failed to interject Scott’s displays of anger and abuse. Scott, on the other hand, feels that Leslie sees him just as a “mean and nasty” person (Johnson, 2009).

The short-term goal for Scott and Leslie would be Scott to learn how to control his temper by practicing skills in relaxation. For Leslie, she should learn to avoid situations that may cause unnecessary tension by encouraging Scott to communicate clearly about his feelings. For example, listening to soothing music, and deep-breathing exercises (Johnson, 2019).

On the other hand, one long-term goal is for Scott to know when to seek help especially when he is doing things that may bring harm to Leslie and the children. One intervention technique is to listen empathetically which is the most fundamental and important principle in emotionally-focused theory. The therapist should focus on the present situations and avoids dwelling on the past which might raise hidden emotions or grudges.

First, the therapist may start by de-escalating the couple’s cycle of negative interactions. Secondly, the therapist generates interaction where they encourage the couple to openly discuss their fears and needs while being responsive to each other. Finally, the therapist assists the couple to perceive how they got into their negative situations or how the situations had changed them and encourage such discussions in the future.

The other intervention would be reframing the couple’s individual experiences and allowing them to view the problem from each other’s perspectives. The possible outcomes for these interventions are that both Scott and Leslie will learn to express their emotions without necessarily blaming each other and also learn to recognize their personal goals in the relationship.


Elliott, R., & Greenberg, L. S. (2017). Humanistic-experiential psychotherapy in practice: emotion-focused therapy. Comprehensive textbook of Psychotherapy: Theory and practice, 106-120.

Johnson, S. (2009). Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy – With Sue Johnson. Retrieved from

Johnson, S. M. (2019). The practice of emotionally focused couple therapy: Creating connection. Routledge.

Meneses, C. W., & Scuka, R. F. (2016). Empirically supported humanistic approaches to working with couples and families.

Wiebe, S. A., & Johnson, S. M. (2016). A review of the research in emotionally focused therapy for couples. Family Process55(3), 390-407.

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