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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

One of the critical challenges in relationship science is translating the “science” of relationship research into the “practice” of clinical intervention. One of the major issues in this challenge is determining when something “works” or, more specifically, identifying the central criteria from which to evaluate the findings of research and determine that an intervention is ready for clinical use. This seemingly simple task is complex given that relationship science research is based on the interaction among client factors, therapeutic influence, and specific change mechanisms that lead to measurable outcomes in couple and family therapy (CFT). As a result of the complexity, determining what works can no longer be accomplished by literature reviews or meta-analyses alone. Determining what works in a clinically useful way is an important task because if clinicians are to use research it must be evaluated on components that are both methodologically sound and clinically useful. We suggest that treatment guidelines have the potential to reliably distinguish varying levels of evidence and effectively disseminate this information to practitioners, serving to close the gap between practice and research in relationship science. Thus, treatment guidelines offer a “vehicle” to move research into practice.

Keywords: couple dysfunction, couple therapy, family therapy, couple and family therapy (CFT), relationship science

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