In family therapy, a therapist sees two or more members of a family at the same time. Family therapies work on the assumption that people do not live in isolation but as interconnected members of families. A problem that affects one person in the family must necessarily affect the whole family, and any change a person makes will inevitably affect the whole family. Family therapists help people to identify the roles they play in their families and to resolve conflicts within families. Family therapists sometimes use family trees to help family members identify intergenerational patterns of behavior.
In couples therapy, therapists help couples identify and resolve conflicts. Therapists usually see both members of a couple at the same time. Family and couples therapists may use psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral, or humanistic approaches.