Family and marital therapists work with families or couples both together and individually to help them improve their communication skills, build on the positive aspects of their relationships, and repair the harmful or negative aspects. Who participates in therapy depends upon several factors.
The therapist assesses the situation, and based upon the presenting problem and the availability and willingness of the participants, invites members of the family to treatment. When working with more than one person, the therapist will be certain to address confidentiality as it applies to the unit of treatment – meaning that he/she will be sure that all members participating in therapy understand there is a “no secrets” policy in place. If at any point a member cannot attend a session, he or she is kept informed of what has happened in treatment in their absence.