DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Marriage counseling, also called couples therapy, is a type of psychotherapy. Marriage counseling helps couples of all types recognize and resolve conflicts and improve their relationships. Through marriage counseling, you can make thoughtful decisions about rebuilding your relationship or going your separate ways.
Marriage counseling is often provided by licensed therapists known as marriage and family therapists. These therapists have graduate or postgraduate degrees — and many choose to become credentialed by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).
Marriage counseling is often short term. Marriage counseling typically includes both partners, but sometimes one partner chooses to work with a therapist alone. The specific treatment plan depends on the situation.
- Marriage and family therapist: The family-friendly mental health professionals. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. http://www.aamft.org/imis15/content/Consumer_Updates/Marriage_and_Family_Therapists.aspx. Accessed Aug. 26, 2011.
- Marital distress. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. http://www.aamft.org/iMIS15/Content/Consumer_Updates/Marital_Distress.aspx. Accessed Aug. 26, 2011.
- Domestic violence. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. http://www.aamft.org/imis15/content/Consumer_Updates/Domestic_Violence.aspx. Accessed Aug. 26, 2011.
- Marriage preparation. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. http://www.aamft.org/iMIS15/Content/Consumer_Updates/Marriage_Preparation.aspx. Accessed Aug. 26, 2011.
- Gurman AS, et al. Family therapy and couple therapy. In: Sadock BJ, et al. Kaplan & Sadock's Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2005:2584.
- Moore AM, et al. The influence of professional license type on the outcome of family therapy. The American Journal of Family Therapy. 2011;39:149.