Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




This was a descriptive study of 140 volunteer therapists in the Richmond, Virginia metropolitan area who identified themselves as either "brief" or "time-unlimited" in their practice of marital therapy. The sample, predominantly female and highly educated, had a mean age of 46.9 years.;For the purpose of this study, brief marital therapy was defined as eight or fewer therapeutic sessions within a 3-month period, and time-unlimited marital therapy was designated as therapy lasting longer than eight sessions or over 3 months. There were 60 self-identified brief marital therapists (BMTs) and 73 self-identified time-unlimited marital therapists (TUMTs). Subjects completed four instruments, including the "style" questionnaire, the active-directiveness subscale, and two instruments developed by the researcher. The specific variables under consideration were active-directiveness of the therapist, therapeutic goals, and duration of treatment.;Results revealed a high degree of similarity between BMTs and TUMTs regarding theoretical orientation, style, interventions, aim of therapy, and length and scheduling of sessions. Despite their similarities, therapists endorsed items consistent with their identification as either a BMT or TUMT. Thus BMTs, compared to TUMTs, were more active-directive, employed more limited, modest goals, and utilized fewer sessions. Therefore, it was concluded from the present findings that there was a significant difference between BMTs and TUMTs on the variables under scrutiny.



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