Marriage Counseling VS Couples Therapy


It’s normal for relationships to hit a rough patch. It would be weird if your relationship were smooth sailing without any insecurities or bumps in the road.

You don’t always have to get along with your partner to have a healthy relationship. On the other hand, having a severe argument doesn’t mean your relationship is on the rocks.

Both situations present opportunities to make your relationship stronger through couples therapy or marriage counseling in San Diego, CA. Therapy sessions can equip you with the skills to have productive arguments and resolve conflicts, ultimately strengthening your bond.

But what’s the difference between couples therapy and marriage counseling? Read on to learn about marriage counseling vs. couples therapy.

How Do You Know If Your Relationship Needs Help?

Relationships are a work in progress; maintaining a strong marriage takes time, patience, and, often, the help of a relationship counseling expert.

But how do you know if your relationship needs help?

The answer can be different for every couple. However, there are general indicators that you should schedule an appointment with a licensed therapist.

Below are a few reasons to seek couples therapy or marriage counseling in San Diego, CA.

  • You’re having problems communicating
  • You can no longer resolve conflicts
  • You think separation is the only way to resolve conflict
  • You clash about finances
  • You’re only staying for the sake of the children
  • One partner has been unfaithful
  • You’re going through a huge transition
  • Your love life lacks intimacy

If you’re facing any or all of these problems, it may be time to seek couples counseling in San Diego. Determine what kind of support you need. This is when learning about the differences between couples therapy and marriage counseling is beneficial. Couples therapy can still be helpful without the above life challenges.

What is Marriage Counseling?

Marriage counseling is meant for married couples or those about to tie the knot. It focuses on current events and helps couples find effective ways of resolving conflict. Some couples seek premarital counseling before the wedding to ensure they have an excellent start to their marriage.

Compromise is a big part of couples counseling. It’s all about teaching communication skills, which helps you and your partner regain trust in each other. Partners need to learn to understand each other’s perspectives.

Any time is a good time to seek help from a licensed marriage counselor in San Diego, CA if you have concerns.

What is Couples Therapy?

Couples therapy is intended for couples who love each other but are at odds due to a communication breakdown. It focuses on determining the source of relationship problems.

A couples therapist works with you and your partner to identify the underlying cause of your relationship issues. Each person unpacks their issues and understands their role within the context of the couple. It empowers them to better support their partner’s personal growth and enjoys a more harmonious relationship experience.

In-person or online couples therapy appointments in San Diego can be made as a couple or individually.

What are the Goals of Couples Therapy vs. Marriage Counseling

The core goal of couples therapy and marriage counseling is to help couples overcome emotional or psychological hindrances to their relationships. Techniques used in relationship counseling or therapy help;

  • Reduce conflicts
  • Change your responses to your partner’s behavior
  • Find realistic and practical resolutions to conflicts

Embarking upon a journey in relationship counseling, couples counseling, individual therapy, or marriage counseling can empower you to gain more fulfillment as a couple.

What’s the Starting Point of Couples Therapy vs. Marriage Counseling?

Couples generally pursue couples therapy when they want to know the “why” of their problems, big or small. You don’t have to be married to pursue this form of treatment.

On the other hand, the focus of marriage counseling is on helping couples who are newly married or about to be married. It’s less about past events and more about building a solid future.

love, romance, together

What’s the Timeline of Couples Therapy vs. Marriage Counseling?

There is no time limit for how long couples should attend counseling sessions. That said, couples therapy is generally a bigger commitment. It consists of eight to more than twenty sessions, depending on the severity of relationship issues. You can expect to take a deep dive into the issues at hand with the help of your couples therapist.

Marriage counseling consists of fewer sessions as there is less digging. Treatment focuses on identifying potential issues and teaching communication skills to resolve conflicts and compromise.

The fact that some couples need more time with experienced couple therapists doesn’t mean they have more issues. It means they need more time to unpack any issues standing in their way, like communication or intimacy hurdles.

What’s the Role of Couples Therapists vs. Marriage Counselors?

Counselors hear out the problems and help facilitate communication between couples in distress. They act as referees who keep the couple from speaking in unison, manifesting aggressive behavior towards each other, or yelling at one another. They equip couples with the communication skills for productive arguments and conflict resolution. A marriage counselor can also help you set boundaries within your relationship.

On the other hand, marriage or couples therapists are extensively trained and licensed to provide various mental health services for any issues affecting your relationship. They can help unpack topics like anxiety and depression and how they impact your relationship with your partner.

Therapists are very organized when dealing with clients, and treatments often involve four steps:

  • Establishing a focus on a particular problem and its root cause
  • Intervening actively to find a way to treat the problem
  • Laying down the treatment objectives
  • Working to find a solution with the expectation that behavior has to change for the good during the treatment process

For couples or marriage therapy to succeed, both parties should share a willingness and commitment to bettering the relationship. It helps to work with a thoughtful and understanding professional committed to the success of their clients’ relationships.

Need Relationship Counseling in San Diego, CA? Schedule an Appointment Today!

Whether you’re tip-toeing around meaningful discussions or constantly arguing, couples therapy and marriage counseling can help. What’s keeping you from trying relationship counseling may be the very thing holding you back. Stop avoiding the problem and schedule an appointment with Jan Rakoff today. Based in San Diego, she offers expert relationship advice and equips you with the skills to strengthen your relationship.