Hostname: page-component-cd4964975-pf4mj Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-03-29T12:58:48.105Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Enhancing Family Therapy's Relationships With Research

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 March 2012

Peter Stratton
Professor of Family Therapy, Leeds Family Therapy & Research Centre, Institute of Health Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT UK.p.m.stratton@ntlworld.comstrat
Get access


The contention of this article is that systemic family therapy has much to gain from a realistic appraisal of its research base, which is as positive as possible. And that through such an appraisal we can find ways of developing the scope of family therapy to the benefit of the profession and thereby, of our clients. Family therapy will benefit if practitioners can present an informed view of research. As a preliminary approach to this objective, I review reasons why perceptions of family therapy underestimate its research base, and why therapists might resist involvement with research. The article then explores the reasons for regarding randomised controlled trials as a ‘gold standard’, and why they are not well fitted for the purpose of evaluating or developing a relational therapy. Next is a consideration of alternative approaches to research, including a consideration of what clients actually want from their therapy, then a brief review of the positive findings of outcome research. Greater emphasis on researching processes in therapy is proposed, and consideration of the ‘common factors’ debate is shown to support priorities that are specific to systemic therapies. The article concludes with suggestions for increasing the involvement of family therapists with research, both as consumers and as research practitioners.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2007

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)