Although marriage and family therapists do not subscribe to anyone theory, their techniques typically are grounded in systems theory. Systems theory is a therapeutic approach that focuses on the individuals and the marriage, family, or community of which they are a part. For instance, the family may involve the couple and other important family members (Huber & Baruth, 1987). As Shields, Wynne, McDaniel, and Gawinski (1994) noted,
Generally, the initial work for a family therapist involves having family members express themselves to one another. The therapist facilitates this process. This facilitation may include the therapeutic techniques of empathy, interpretation, advanced accurate empathy, clarification, and summarization. The therapist ensures that each family member gets a chance to speak and points out who speaks for another and who does not speak for
him-or herself. Most importantly, the family therapist demonstrates and educates family members about how they can more effectively talk about difficult family issues.