No Harm Contract in Couple and Family Therapy
A No Harm Contract is an agreement between client and therapist that the client will not take steps to hurt themselves or others over a specified length of time, often leading up to the next scheduled session or the next opportunity for the client to be reassessed. At that point, the therapist can determine whether further steps are needed to protect the client’s safety. The agreement is typically made in writing and signed by the client to demonstrate their commitment to its terms.
In couple and family therapy, No Harm Contracts have been applied more broadly, not just to physical harm but also to actions that could be detrimental to the couple or family system. For example, if a couple has been struggling with the revelation of an affair, a No Harm Contract applied to this context might be an agreement where the person who had the affair contracts that he or she will not have any contact with their affair partner while the couple attempts to repair their relationship in therapy.