Compare and contrast two theories/models of relationships and show how they might be utilised by a therapist who is engaged in couples counselling.

2624 Words Aug 31st, 2014 11 Pages
There are two main theories applied to relationships, Social Exchange Theory and Equity Theory underpin commonly used behavioural therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Enhanced Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Integrative Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. More recent studies in neuroscience and behaviour and the importance of language have led to the development of Relational Frame Theory and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as an alternative approach. In this essay I will outline the relationship models comparing and contrasting them. I will also introduce and briefly touch on Relational Frame Theory and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as an additional approach to couples counselling and offer considerations which an …show more content…
The four stages Sampling, Bargaining, Commitment and Institutionalisation describe how a relationship forms and settles. The theory is predominantly behaviourist and assumes that humans operate as rational beings making decisions based on costs and benefits and that their decision making is motivated by the desire to get basic individual needs met.
The first stage in the model, Sampling, is exploring the costs and rewards of various interactions through a number of different friendships and relationships and observing various people in their relationships in order to discern what works and what doesn’t. Psychologists interpret the social behaviour of adolescents and young people as they flit from one relationship/friendship to another as this sampling stage in action.
Bargaining is the natural progression undertaken as a new relationship is under consideration. What’s in it for me? If I do/give this what will I get in return? At this stage attraction based around similar attitudes or constructs are explored with a view to establishing the viability of a possible relationship. Both parties might ask themselves ‘Is it going to be worthwhile investing in this?’
Commitment follows when the two parties know enough about each other to develop the ability to predict each others’ behaviour and therefore elicit reward/pleasure/satisfaction from each other.
Institutionalisation is the

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