Couple therapy: A new hope-focused approach


Hello and welcome to a new edition of the blog Ayuda Ministerial/Resources for Ministry. I will continue with the series about counseling, as I consider counseling as a very important aspect of the pastoral ministry. How many of you have faced the challenge of counseling couples? I am sure most of you. Today I would like to introduce a book on couple therapy. The book “Couple therapy: A new hope-focused approach” by Jeniffer S. Ripley and Everett L. Worthington Jr. (2014) is the book you need if you want to improve your understanding of couple therapy. This is an academic book published by Inter Varsity Press. More than 50,000 copies sold in previous editions. Why so many copies sold? Well, just because this books is great. 50,000 readers, most of them from the counseling field, prove it. Ripley and Worthington base the effectiveness of the hope-focused approach on the results of many years of investigation on this approach, so this is not just another book on couple therapy.

The authors develop the idea of the effectiveness of focusing the attention on the couple’s skills and capabilities to revert the situation instead of focusing on the presenting problem. They place the emphasis on the relationship between individuals’ strengths and the hope for change. It does not mean the authors do not take into account the importance of assessing the presenting problem. The authors’ idea is to help the couple focus on their individual and collective skills in order to overcome the problem. The authors’ thesis is that if the counselor is able to get the couple focused on the hope for change, then they will be able to solve the problem even faster than focusing on the problem only. Summarizing, the idea of the hope-focused approach is to get the couple focused on the hope for change and how their strengths is the most important avenue that would lead them to resolve their problem. One thing I personally really like about this book is that the authors do not “force” readers to align with a particular therapeutic intervention. Whether you prefer existential or CBT you can still merge your theoretical orientation with the hope-focused approach.

Ripley and Worthington lead readers to the counseling process even before the intake. Chapter 5 is devoted to pre-counseling interventions. They address how social media and internet is an indispensable tool for client to stablish the first contact with you as a counselor. The authors also provide with examples of assessments paperwork, which is a never easy task. They also include very useful case studies in treatment planning. Through that section of the book (part 3), Ripley and Worthington present different cases about couples’ problems and they suggest potential interventions at the end of each chapter, which is a valuable help for counselors. They conclude with an orientation on how to conclude the treatment in an effective fashion.

The book is easy to read though it is written from an academic perspective. You will not find difficulties in navigating through it. Be aware that a basic understanding of counseling terms would be helpful for readers to better understand the concepts presented on this book. Biblical perspective and ideas are also integrated for Christian counselors.

Here is my final thought: whether you are a professional counselor or a pastor who considers counseling as a crucial aspect in your ministry, you need this book.

The price is very competitive: less than $30.00 bucks and is available also in digital format. You can directly ordain this book by clicking this link

You can buy the book here

As always, thanks for stopping by and visiting the blog. I hope you this and the rest of the entries are enriching resources for your ministry and life. God bless you all.

Acknowledgements: I would like to thanks Inter Varsity Press for providing the author of this blog with this book for reviewing purposes.

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