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‘Gossiping' as a social action in family therapy: The pseudo-absence and pseudo-presence of childrenFamily therapists face a number of challenges in their work. When children are present in family therapy they can and do make fleeting contributions. We draw upon naturally occurring family therapy sessions to explore the ‘pseudo-presence’ and ‘pseudo-absence’ of children and the institutional ‘gossiping’ quality these interactions have. Our findings illustrate that a core characteristic of gossiping is its functional role in building alignments’ which in this institutional context is utilized as a way of managing accountability. Our findings have a number of implications for clinical professionals and highlight the value of discourse and conversation analysis techniques for exploring therapeutic interactions.