Applying the Rupture Resolution Rating System to emotion-focused couple therapy

Avital Sherlow-Levin, Ben Shahar, Rhonda Goldman, Eran Bar-Kalifa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Alliance ruptures and their repair are robustly associated with outcomes in individual therapy. Little is known about these processes in couple therapy, despite the acknowledged challenges of nurturing the alliance when working with two parties in conflict. One factor contributing to this gap in the literature is the lack of an instrument to capture ruptures and repair in couple therapy. We adapted the Rupture Resolution Rating System (3RS) to identify ruptures and repairs in couple therapy at the within-system (between the two partners) and the between-system (between each partner and the therapist) levels. Sessions from one couple with good outcome and one couple with poor outcome were coded. Couples were in therapy to deal with emotional injury. Rupture-repair events in both the within-system and between-system were common. The couple with the poor outcome showed greater levels of rupture with the therapist. The injured partners (vs. injurer partners) demonstrated higher frequencies of ruptures.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Marital and Family Therapy
Early online date17 Jun 2024
StateE-pub ahead of print - 17 Jun 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Journal of Marital and Family Therapy published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.


  • alliance
  • alliance rupture
  • couple therapy
  • emotion-focused therapy


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