Resolving a therapeutic impasse between parents and adolescents in multidimensional family therapy

Guy Diamond, Howard A. Liddle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


This study explored the process of resolving an in-session impasse between a parent and an adolescent in family therapy. Focusing on altering the content and affective tone of a discussion, the 'shift intervention' was used to direct a family's conversation away from trying to solve behavior management problems and toward a discussion of fundamental relationship problems. Task analysis was used to specify problematic family interactions, the intervention strategy, and successful and unsuccessful outcomes. Descriptive analyses of 5 successful and 5 unsuccessful interventions yielded a detailed performance model of therapist and family behaviors involved in breaking the impasse. The Beavers Timberlawn Family Evaluation Scale was used to verify the presence of the shift intervention in the data set and to embellish the performance model. The model suggested that adolescents became more cooperative and engaged in treatment when parents shifted from trying to control them to trying to understand them. A detailed performance map for accomplishing this shift is offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-488
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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