In describing our own studies and examining those of other authors, we have so far talked about family therapy as if it treated the miseries of families as exclu­ sively matters of private concern. It is easy to adopt a simple logic that if there are relationship problems within families, then it is within families that solutions are to be found. However, this position overlooks the fact that there is a long line of authors, both within and outside family therapy (see Hoffman and Long (1969), Jordan (1981) and Kingston (1979), amongst others), who have reminded us of the importance of highlighting the public aspect of relationship problems.