These results have suggested that the blamer softening event has achieved its goal of creating more empathy, acceptance, and understanding in spouses. Furthermore, it has found to be significantly relevant in the complete treatment of outcomes couples face.
Possible reactions/assumptions/counter transferential issues
Researchers have offered many critics for the use of blamer softening in couples' therapy. Bradley and Furrow (2007) argue that the blamer softening may be unsuccessful at certain times. Johnson and Talitman (1997) have suggested that blamer softening has been one of the most difficult interventions for therapists to successfully implement, yet one of the most critical ones because of its relation to recovery from relationship distress (Johnson & Greenberg, 1988). Because critical therapeutic events have sometimes been difficult to implement, it has been important to consider common obstacles to their resolution so that therapists can better understand and successfully implement these events.
There are many obstacles to empathic joining. The results of previous research show that obstacles to empathic joining occur during periods where one or both partners express unexpected blaming responses or hard emotional expressions. At other times it is expected that a listening partner will respond to the vulnerable partner with understanding or acceptance, however, that partner may not respond in a positive way. This can be expected in the case of Pitt and Jolie since the success of the intervention depends on their response.
Here are some suggestions for the therapist. When the above mentioned instances occur, the therapist should attempt to become more active and respond with interventions that are more protective of the non-blaming spouse or more controlling of the blaming spouse in order to prevent continued hard expression. Sometimes the therapist rephrases partner responses in soft ways so that they are easier to hear and at other times the therapist is very direct in advising the partners to be "tender" with one another. The therapist may also encourage the partners to do face talk on issues promoting better acceptance of the partner through facial expressions. Though blame and hard expressions within empathic joining are obstacles, through active, directive, and protecting interventions, the therapist should be able to return the partner to a more vulnerable and accepting state.
The couple therapy practices in terms of social work has been very effective and generated many useful results in order to solve the issue related to individual problems as well as couple problems. The author discussed empathic joining therapy and its implications on the best couple of Hollywood as an example; recommending blame softening intervention for the improvement of their relationship by resolving conflicts.
In conclusion empathic joining and listening to each other's views can improve couples' relationship. Furthermore, emotionally focused therapy proves to be beneficial for individuals involved in intimate relationships. It is advised for couples not to delay therapy when relationship conflicts arise since that will only make matters worse. Each partner should understand and try to fulfill the other partner's needs and desires. Face-to-face partnership discussions should be encouraged as mentioned earlier. Finally couples therapy should focus on elements of trust and loyalty for both partners involved.
Jacobson, N.S., & Christensen, a. (1998). Acceptance and change in couple therapy: A therapist's guide to transforming relationship. New York: W.W. Norton
Laurenceu, J-P, Barrett, L.F., & Pietromonaco, P.R. (1998). Intimacy as an interpersonal process: The importance of self-disclosure, partner disclosure, and perceived partner responsiveness in interpersonal exchanges. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1238-1251
Ronen T, Freeman a, 2007, Cognitive behavior therapy in clinical social work practice, Springer Publishing Company, U.S.
Thyer B, Wodarski J, 1998, Handbook of empirical social work practice, mental disorders, John Wiley and Sons, U.S.
Gurman a, 2010, Clinical casebook of couple therapy, Guilford Press, U.S.
Bogo M, 2006, Social Work Practice, Columbia University Press, U.S.
Zastrow C, 2009, the practice of social work, Cengage learning, Canada
Gorgan E, 2010, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston story all over the tabloids, accessed on 6th April 2011, available at: http://news.softpedia.com/news/Angelina-Jolie-Brad-Pitt-Jennifer-Aniston-Story-All-Over-the-Tabloids-133434.shtml
Shaver, P.R., Hazan, C., & Bradshaw, D. (2008). The integration of three behavioral systems. In R. Sternberg & M. Barnes (Eds.), the psychology of love (pp. 68 -- 99). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Simpson, J. (2000). The influence of attachment style on romantic relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, 971 -- 980.