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Date of Award


Degree Type

Dissertation (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Committee Chair

Paula Truax, PhD

Second Advisor

Jon Frew, PhD


This dissertation explores how unhappy and happy couples approach marital convict. It surveys the research on happy couples and provides research from the attachment, developmental, behavioral, and contextual perspectives. After reviewing qualities found in happy couples, acceptance is proposed as a key factor for a happy marriage. The dissertation outlines areas of acceptance needed to maintain a positive marital relationship. Then, it presents the tenets of Gestalt therapy theory and specifies how Gestalt therapy can be used to achieve acceptance in marital therapy. This becomes a model for helping unhappy couples become happy couples.


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