Understanding Marriage Counseling & Couples Therapy

If you are looking for counseling for you and your partner, you may be confused about the differences between marriage counseling and couples therapy. Which is the right one for you? Marriage counseling is typically used to address problems that currently exist in a marriage. Couples therapy, as a contrast, focuses on patterns that have been established in the relationship in the past, along with historical problems facing the relationship. What unites these two disciplines is that they both have the higher goal of improving the communication and bond in your relationship.

Do We Need Therapy?

Couples considering therapy may not know yet whether it is the right option for them. It is important to understand that getting counseling is not just for relationships that are “on the brink.” Many couples who are doing rather well use counseling as a way to be proactive and protect the healthy status of their relationship. Couples also seek out counseling during acute periods of trauma, looking for a way to get past certain events.

Whatever your reason may be for looking into marriage counseling or couples therapy, both of you need to be committed to the process. Therapy only works when everyone is engaged. You will see benefits, however; a mere 3 percent of couples say that marriage counseling did not work for them.

When to Seek Help

Many different types of couples seek help through marriage counseling and couples therapy. Couples who come to Commonwealth for counseling have experienced:

  • Infidelity: Couples who have experienced infidelity often turn to counseling. Counseling can also help if infidelity has only been considered, but not acted on.
  • Poor Communication: Relationships require healthy communication to thrive. Poor communication in a relationship can take many forms, including insults, criticisms, or simply not communicating.
  • Separation: When couples are considering separating, turning to a counselor can help navigate the complexities of this time.

What to Expect

If you are hesitant about starting counseling as a couple, having some facts about what happens in session can help in your decision making process.

Your first session will serve as an introductory session in a way. Your counselor will ask questions in order to get to know both of you and begin to get an idea of what has brought you to counseling. You may also both meet with the counselor individually. In follow up sessions, your counselor will begin to help you build better coping mechanisms for the difficulties you face as a couple. You may also receive assignments to work on at home as a couple.

Sharing things that have been private to you as a couple can be difficult. What both parties should keep in mind is that your counselor is there to help. A mental health professional will not judge or take sides, either. The overall goal is to create a space for both people in the relationship and find a healthier way forward for you as a couple.

If you are considering marriage counseling or couples therapy, get in touch with us today. We can connect you with a counselor who can help.