Therapy takes many forms and requires the therapist to flex among many potential roles: judge, referee, facilitator, mirror, guide, educator, fixer, interventionist, parent, and cross-cultural guide. The therapy becomes the vehicle of hope- building, finding, and perhaps, final elimination of hope, and the therapist in various roles managing hope for the individual, couple, or family. The therapist who holds inflexible or moralistic stances risks inflicting his or her values upon the client, and taking away self-determination. Successful therapy involves reconciling the goals of the client- potentially multiple and different goals between partners or among family members with many other issues, including therapist goals.
Challenges to therapy include family-of-origin experiences, cross-cultural and gender issues and counter-transference from being triggered and liking or not liking clients, and recruitment of the therapist by partners or family members in couple and family therapy. Principles of relationship therapy relevant to couple or family therapy are shown to be applicable to individual therapy through conceptualization of different perspectives and personas within the individual.