The authors describe various methods of marital therapy in use today.
Although absence of a unifying conceptual scheme in the past has hampered
developments in this field, the increasing acknowledgment by psychiatrists
of the important effect of the environmental system on thoughts, feelings,
and behavior has facilitated a therapeutic approach stressing not only a
person's intrapsychic conflicts but current environmental, family, and
spouse-related phenomena. The authors discuss three dimensions of marital
psychodynamics--power, intimacy, and marital boundary setting--and relate
them to the marital life cycle and to four classifications of the marital
relationship: 1) rules for defining power, 2) parental stage, 3) level of
intimacy, and 4) personality style and psychiatric terminology. The paper
includes a brief discussion of therapy techniques, sex counseling, the use
of cotherapists, the future of marriage, and alternative lifestyles.