Couple and family therapy is useful when members find themselves in a situation of crises and feel that an outsider may help them to think about what is going on. It utilises psychodynamic theory by exploring how experiences from the past continue to affect individuals in their present relationships. It also sees the family as a system so that when problems emerge they are understood in terms of the roles within the family rather than being blamed on individual members. Narrative theory allows for the exploration and challenging of family stories and myths which have provided meaning but may no longer be useful. Finally the influence and impact of differences such as those found in gender, race and sexuality are considered. The therapy involves working collaboratively within a safe holding environment to identify patterns within the relationship and focuses on both the present and the past and on issues of the self and the relationship.