Marriage Counseling or Couples Therapy?

couple at sunsetIs there a difference between Couples Therapy and Marriage Counseling? Well, there are professionals who distinguish one from the other. Obviously if a couple has chosen to live their lives together and not commit to marriage, it would be hard to label their sessions as marriage counseling.

Some would say that’s just semantics. However, you may have guessed by now that at CouplesTherapyToday, we are big proponents of couples committing to marriage if they love one another and want to spend their lives together. We don’t sit in judgment those who don’t, and we will do anything to help that we can.

As far as the terminology, some will say that Couples Therapy might deal with past trauma and may be a longer term type of therapy, whereas marriage counseling may deal with short term crisis and the length of time be much shorter in duration. However, the same scenario can be applied to marriage counseling.

Some may say that Couples Therapy will be guided by more professionally trained persons, however there are many professionally trained individuals who are doing basically the same thing and they are labeling it Marriage Counseling.

So, it seems that many people will not distinguish very much between the two. Someone who classifies themselves as a Couples Therapist may disagree and argue that what they do is quite different than what is found in Marriage Counseling. And, depending on what they do, and what they are having the couples do, they could be right. It just depends on the particular therapist or counselor.

However, much of the time the two types of sessions are so much alike that you could hardly quibble over what the name of the session is. The key is that a couple find the right kind of therapist or counselor that can help them.

The sessions of both last anywhere from fifty minutes and up. The cost of each of the sessions can be $75 to $100 dollars per hour and much, much more depending on who you use and where you might be located.

The sessions are designed to help the couple understand the source of their conflict and resolve the conflict, therefore improving their relationship. These sessions help give couples the tools to communicate better and negotiate their differences and even argue in a healthier way. Both of the therapies mentioned should be provided by licensed individuals known as a marriage and family therapists or counselors. Sure, friends and family can sometimes help. However, they can sometimes make the situation worse. Any type of relationship counseling  for difficult problems should be done by those who are qualified to do so.

So, whatever you choose, either someone who calls themselves a marriage counselor or someone who calls themselves a couples therapist, just make sure that they have the knowledge and experience to help you. As we have stated in other posts, these types of therapies are certainly better than doing nothing when your marriage is crumbling. However, the success rate is certainly not as high as it should be. We would refer you to the post about Dr. Lee Baucom as to the successes of his methods.

Just remember that many couples make it through the hard times and come out stronger on the other side.


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Worship Pastor, Educational Leader. Husband, Father, and lover of God.

4 Responses to “Marriage Counseling or Couples Therapy?”

  1. This is true. Regardless if you see a marriage counselor or you go to a couples therapy, the most important thing here is the knowledge and experience to help you. You go to these sessions to help you deal with your problems in your relationship.

    • Brian says:

      Yes, just get help. Don’t be embarrassed. Whatever the label of the counseling, just make sure that the person is qualified and understands what a marriage is all about.

  2. I didn’t really think there is a big difference between a marriage counseling and couples therapy. I think they are just labels. The most important thing here is you are actually doing something to save your marriage. You and your spouse is actually making a move to deal with your problems, discuss them openly to someone who has expertise in this kind of field.

    • Brian says:

      Helen, I’m pretty much in agreement with you. I know that there are those that distinguish between the two, and depending on what type of counseling they do, and the length of the counseling, they may be right and I don’t have trouble with the labels. However, for my purposes I have the two terms linked together very closely in my mind. As you say it’s just important that each person in the relationship move forward in getting help.

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