Unsure About Couples Counseling? Understand the Various Types and Their Uses

What’s the difference between couples counseling, relationship counseling, marriage counseling, and divorce counseling?

All forms of couples counseling will likely be performed by a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who can facilitate open communication, but there are a few distinctions between each type of counseling.

Couples counseling can be a preventative or a reactive measure for partners in a romantic relationship. It can teach couples how to effectively and kindly communicate with one another, set realistic and healthy expectations, and arrive at an understanding of one another and their perspectives.

Relationship counseling is useful for couples who want to work through disagreements and issues that negatively impact their relationship. It can be helpful in pinpointing the root cause of negative issues or emotions, learning to cope with stressful events and improving overall confidence and trust in oneself, one another and the relationship.

Marriage counseling is a tool for strengthening and rebuilding a married couple’s relationship. It specifically works within the context of marriage and, in addition to addressing specific issues, bolsters each partner’s skills in problem-solving and communication. Common issues that might prompt a couple to seek marriage counseling include substance use, anger issues, parenting styles, financial concerns, barriers to intimacy, communication issues and infidelity.

Divorce counseling occurs once a couple has decided to officially end their marriage. It provides the opportunity for the couple to discuss any logistics affected by the divorce, like how they will co-parent their children. There is also emotional labor that goes along with the divorce process, and divorce counseling will help the couple come to terms with why they are getting divorced and end the marriage on peaceful terms.

Who goes to couples counseling?

  • Couples who want to improve their communication
  • Couples who feel their relationship is codependent
  • Couples who experience recurring issues in their relationship
  • Couples who have disparate parenting styles
  • Couples who are experiencing a lack of physical and/or emotional intimacy
  • Couples who are moving towards breaking up or divorcing
  • Couples who want to learn problem-solving and conflict resolution techniques
  • Couples who need coping and parenting tools for their child who has health or behavioral issues
  • Couples who feel they might be incompatible
  • Couples who find themselves criticizing, resenting or not supporting one another
  • Couples who have experienced a stressful event that has impacted their relationships, such as loss of employment, financial difficulties, death in the family or infidelity
  • Couples who have lost a child
  • Engaged couples who want to begin their marriage on a solid foundation
  • Divorced or divorcing couples who want to learn how to effectively co-parent

What can I expect from couples counseling?

Objectives of couples counseling often include:

  • Uncovering the root cause of frequent issues
  • Agreeing on expectations of each other and of the relationship, or if they cannot be agreed upon, then understanding why or learning to compromise
  • Honing communication skills and addressing gaps in communication
  • Establishing healthy boundaries
  • Highlighting positive aspects of your relationship – especially those you would like to see more of
  • Learning how to fight in a productive and healthy way
  • Addressing a lack or sudden loss of intimacy and/or attraction
  • Establishing individual and couples coping tools for stressors like work, children and school
  • Reaffirming each partner’s commitment to one another
  • Working through events that were detrimental to the relationship, like infidelity or separation
  • Understanding each partner’s perspective on frequent issues and the relationship as a whole
  • Gaining confidence individually and as a couple
  • Learning skills and tools for communication, problem-solving, conflict resolution, forgiveness, anger management, intimacy and mutual support
  • Improving facets of oneself in order to be a better partner
  • Discussing past history that may play a role in relationship issues, including childhood events and prior relationships
  • Listening to what one’s partner is saying and implementing promised changes

How can I begin couples counseling?

Mazzitti & Sullivan Counseling offers couples counseling for all kinds of couples – whether they want to improve their communication, resolve frequent difficulties, or end their relationship in an amicable way. Reach out today at 800-809-2925 to speak with a couples counselor who can suit your and your relationship’s needs.