This is a paper on the applied use of social system theory in marriage counseling. Marriage counseling is a practice not earmarked by any one discipline and consequently not by any one theoretical approach. It is engaged in by psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, physicians (other than psychiatrists), lawyers, ministers, sociologists, friends, and neighbors. It has been defined by Dr. Robert Laidlaw, Chief of Psychiatry at Roosevelt Hospital, New York, and former president of the American Association of Marriage Counselors, as "a form of short-term psychotherapy dealing with interpersonal relationships in which problems relating to marriage are the central factor.”1

This definition embodies three concepts that need clarifications: 1) shortterm psychotherapy; 2) problems relating to marriage; and 3) interpersonal relations.

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