Friday, May 8, 2015

Impact of couple dynamics on the system

● It is possible that a couple education interventions that question certain generational norms might cause conflict between generations.

● In today’s culture of moving away from family of origin couples are forced into social isolation because they have less access to traditional family support networks.

● Couples also find themselves replacing traditional social supports with new friends and jobs as they assimilate into the mainstream culture.
o This transition may not happen equally for both members of the couple.

● Couple education programs should not try to define what a “good” relationship is.
o A huge variety of factors can affect how someone defines a “good” relationship, such as family of origin, culture, age, economic status, and many more.
o Recognize how couples are oriented within their family system and how other members of the family affect the couple’s decision-making.
o Discuss ways in which the family supports them and issues that may also contribute to conflict in the couple.

● All couples will have some traditions and cultural expectations that they bring with them into their relationships.
o Therapists can help couples identify their relationship dynamics and what causes them and allow them to decide what traditions and norms they want to keep.
o This might mean choosing to remain connected to extended family while also identifying certain areas of decision-making that belong to the couple.

● Therapists must consider whether certain types of verbal communication are appropriate or helpful, given the possibility of traditional gender roles at play in some couples’ dynamics.
o Some communication skills and exercises may be more challenging for minority couples due to traditional norms.
o Therapist may want to pay special attention to challenges that particularly affect minority couples in the areas of:
■ negotiating gender roles and extended family networks
■ shifting gender norms resulting from acculturation
■ lack of social support due to isolation from extended family networks
■ cultural forms that tolerate domestic violence
■ role of extended family in decision-making.