With any presenting problem, the possible influence of significant others in the maintenance of a problem should be explored. Behavior occurs in a context. How significant others respond makes up an important part of our environment. Significant others are those who interact with clients and influence their behavior. Examples include family members and staff in residential settings. Significant others are often involved in assessment. For example, in family therapy, family members participate in assessment. Understanding relationships among family members is a key part of assessment in family therapy. Interactions between couples is closely examined in relationship counseling. Clients may lack social support such as opportunities for intimacy, companionship, and validation or the opportunity to provide support to others. Social interactions may be a source of stress rather than a source of pleasure and joy. It is important to assess the nature and quality of the client's social network and social support system.
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