Edmonton counselling services

Couples Therapy vs. Marriage Counseling: What's the Difference?


Couples therapy and marriage counseling overlap so much that it can be hard to notice differences in Couples Therapy vs. Marriage Counseling. Many in the industry use these words interchangeably, which can increase confusion. Marriage counseling deals with current events rather than focusing on the past. To help you get your marriage back on track, it concentrates on the “present” and the difficulties of marriage. Couples counseling addresses the here and now and any past experiences that contribute to unhealthful habits of relating. You will reflect on earlier conflicts and disagreements to identify the source of your issues and how they first arose.

If you feel at ease with your therapist, you’re more likely to succeed in counseling, especially relationship therapy. It’s crucial to find someone who complements both you and your partner. Naturally, you’ll want to locate a therapist that offers couples therapy. Although each type of therapist has different educational and accreditation requirements, most know the most effective relationship counseling techniques today. Some even specialize in specific marriage challenges like infidelity problems.

What Is Couples Therapy?

Couple therapy is designed for couples who are in love with each other but reached an impasse. It typically happens because they lack essential communication or understanding skills and struggle to be vulnerable. So, a therapist will work with these couples to uncover the root cause of these issues. It involves both parties diving deeper into their family communication history and the patterns of their unhelpful and neglecting behavior.

In simple words, the work of a therapist is to help each person unlock their issues and understand themselves better in terms of “couple.” It helps them better understand and support each other’s personal growth and achievements and ultimately enjoy a more dynamic and harmonious relationship. Usually, couples consider this therapy after being in a relationship for at least one year.

What to Expect From Couples Therapy?

You and your spouse should get ready for your first therapy near me session once you’ve scheduled an appointment with the couples therapist of your choice. Your therapist may give you written documentation or speak with you directly about their policies, the legalities surrounding your therapist/patient relationship, and its ethical standards. They will typically spend the remaining portion of your first session discussing the reasons that led you to couples therapy in the first place after those essentials are taken care of.

Couples choose to attend a couples counselor for a variety of reasons. Premarital counseling is the first step in some couples’ therapy before marriage. Teams that receive premarital treatment can solidify the foundations of their union, enhance their communication abilities, and acquire constructive conflict-resolution techniques.

How Does Couples Therapy Work?

Modern couple therapy looks quite different than it was years ago. At that time, less than 50% of marriage counseling strategies were effective. Therapists assisted couples in strengthening their bonds of friendship and love, but the changes were frequently transient.

New marriage counseling methods, such as the Gottman Approach and Emotion-Focused Therapy, produce significantly better outcomes. For instance, EFT has a success rate of 75%. A declining divorce rate in the US is attributed to couples therapy’s effectiveness and other causes. Counseling is effective at preserving and enhancing marriages today.

What Is Marriage Counseling?

As the name suggests, marriage therapy is designed for engaged or recently wed couples. In that, it frequently focuses on the present. It is “more generic and skill-based instead of focusing on processing emotions and understanding one another’s viewpoint,” you might think of this type of counseling as a preventative strategy. Find a marriage therapist who specializes in marriage and couples counseling and has relevant training.

It’s crucial to ask the appropriate questions and to see if your therapist is qualified to handle the problems you need to resolve and that you immediately feel at ease speaking with them. Marriage counseling occasionally entails structured classes with set lesson plans to teach the fundamentals of conflict resolution and communication skills. In essence, it serves as preparation for married couples who are aware of the (inevitable) challenges that lie ahead and who want to navigate the relationship’s highs and lows properly.

What To Expect From Marriage Counseling?

You won’t spend every session with your therapist, partner, and partner in marriage counseling. Most marital therapy programs also involve individual therapy sessions, particularly at the beginning of the program. You can discuss things with your counselor in these one-on-one sessions that you would have felt uncomfortable discussing with your partner present. They also allow your counselor to work with you to strengthen your assets and address your flaws.

Suppose your marital issues might impact your kids or other family members. In that case, you should participate in family therapy sessions. The conflict between two parents may affect everyone in the home. Younger family members frequently exhibit behavioral or emotional stress indicators in a family system. An example of this might be a teenager with an eating disorder or a problem with drugs or alcohol. Family therapy aims to strengthen the bonds and communication styles between family members to make the family unit more secure and functional.

How Does Marriage Counseling Work?

Most professional marriage counselors urge both parties to be present at the counseling sessions. It is the most effective way marriage counseling could work because your counselor would want to see how you communicate and offer advice to improve your communication with your partner. You can also attend the counseling sessions alone if your partner is reluctant to come or unable to participate for some reason. You can still benefit even if you follow the sessions alone. You can learn more about yourself and how you feel about your current relationship. 

Marriage counseling may only sometimes be emotionally comfortable, much like most therapy sessions. Marriage counseling is a secure setting where you can express some of the emotions that aren’t typically expressed but can be challenging for you and your partner. Marriage counseling frequently involves strong feelings, maybe tears, and some yelling, which is normal and acceptable.


The above-provided details and information discuss the difference between couple therapy and marriage counseling and how it will help your relationship. Stay tuned for more valuable facts and updates.

YEG Court ordered Anger Management program, Edmonton. T6K4C1