Couple and family psychology (CFP) practice is a recognized specialty in professional psychology based on the principles of systems theory. These principles set the specialty apart from other orientations that focus on individuals' intrapersonal and interpersonal experience. CFP practitioners understand clinical problems in the context of individuals' interactions with others (e.g., family members, peers, colleagues), communities and institutions (e.g., religious, school, workplace, local governments). They emphasize the complex reciprocal influence of person and context over the life course.
Couple and family psychologists work with individuals, couples, families, organizations and other social systems. They utilize treatment interventions that are founded on evidence-based knowledge of the individual, relational and environmental factors which support healthy functioning. They provide a variety of clinical services, including individual, couple and family assessment and therapy, consultation and clinical supervision. CFP practitioners work in diverse settings such as hospitals, outpatient clinics, and private practice.
For detailed information about CFP practice, we recommend the following texts:
- Bray, J. H., & Stanton, M. (Eds.). (2009). The Wiley-Blackwell handbook of family psychology. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
- Stanton, M., & Welsh, R. (2011). Specialty competencies in couple and family psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.