Clinical application of parental acceptance-rejection theory (PARTheory) measures in relational therapy, assessment and treatment

Date of Completion

January 2010


Psychology, Clinical|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies




This exploratory study examined the ways in which clinical applications of parental acceptance-rejection theory (PARTheory) measures infirm the assessment and treatment phases of relational therapy. The investigation is theoretically guided by PARTheory, and methodologically guided in part by microcounseling questioning strategies. The dissertation presents a brief history and background of Marriage and Family Therapy, PARTheory, and Microcounseling. The study utilized both qualitative and quantitative data-analysis techniques to present findings that support the idea that the clinical adaptation of the Parental Acceptance-Rejection/Control Questionnaire (PARQ/Control), the Intimate Partner Acceptance-Rejection/Control Quesetionnaire (IPAR/CQ), and subsequent development of an intergenerational graphic display for use with couples seeking therapy for relationship dissatisfaction in conjunction with the use of microcounseling skills positively affects treatment processes and outcomes. The PARQ/Control is a self-report questionnaire assessing two major dimensions of parenting: parental acceptance-rejection and parental control. The IPAR/CQ is a self-report questionnaire that assesses current relationship satisfaction on the same two dimensions. These findings are then discussed in light of current relevant research, followed by a discussion of the theoretical and practical implications for the broader fields of Human Development and Family Studies and, more specifically for Marriage and Family Therapy. The dissertation closes with a discussion of the limitations of the research as well as suggested directions for future research. ^