The skills of the family therapist thus include the ability to influence conversations in a way that catalyses the strengths, wisdom, and support of the greater system. The goal of marital and family therapists is to improve relationships between marital partners or family members, or to help with the dissolution of a difficult relationship with minimum harm to all.

Family therapy, also referred to as couple and family therapy, marriage and family therapy and family counseling is a branch of psychotherapy that works with families and couples in intimate relationships to nurture change and development.

As dysfunctional behaviors are acquired over long periods of time, long periods are required to first unlearn troublesome habits and then replace them with more appropriate patterns of behavior. Success in marital and family counseling requires patience, time, and a commitment to succeed.

The different schools of family therapy have in common a belief that, regardless of the origin of the problem, and regardless of whether the clients consider it an individual or family issue, involving families in solutions often benefits clients. This involvement of families is commonly accomplished by their direct participation in the therapy session.