Every person's relationships go through normal developmental stages, full of challenges and possible problems as well as unexpected events which may bring on crisis. In some cases, a family or couple who get along well may simply want to increase their enjoyment, playfulness, or the meaning in their lives.

The idea that only those with a mental illness can benefit from marriage and family therapy is a myth. Changes, stress and problems can be expected in any relationship and therapy can help prevent small problems from becoming serious.

Meaningful relationships are central to the good life. The choices we make will determine their quality. We can create them only if we take responsibility for our selves without controlling and trying to change other people. When we make wise choices and change our attitude and behavior for the purpose of improving relationships, others will be encouraged to make wiser choices and change their attitude and behavior.

We teach that mental health needs to focus on well being, functioning, or what some may call happiness instead of pathology. Everyone who goes to a mental health professional is discouraged to some degree. In most instances their discouragement is related to their inability to get along with the important people in their lives-to the extent they want. Counseling addresses these problems because the core of mental health is good or satisfying relationships.

Dr. William Glasser gives us this description of mental health: “You are mentally healthy if you enjoy being with most of the people you know, especially with the important people in your life such as family, sexual partner, friends. Generally, you are happy, and are more than willing to help and unhappy family member, friend, or colleague to feel better. You lead a mostly tension-free life, laugh a lot, and rarely suffer from the aches and pains so many people accept as an unavoidable part of living. You enjoy life and have no trouble accepting other people who think and act differently from you. It rarely occurs to you to criticize or try to change anyone. If you have differences with someone else you will try to work out the problem; if you can’t you will walk away before you argue and increase the difficulty. You are creative in what you attempt and may enjoy more of your potential than you ever thought possible. Finally, even in very difficult situations when you are unhappy-no one can be happy all the time-you’ll know why you are unhappy and attempt to do something about it.” (p. 2-3, Defining Mental Health as a Public Health Problem)