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What’s the difference between family therapy and couples therapy?

Family therapy helps families improve communication, resolve conflicts, and better understand and support one another. It can be helpful for families dealing with all kinds of issues, including mental illness, substance abuse, communication problems, and relationship troubles.

This type of therapy encourages family members to speak openly with each other and fix their problems together. During the sessions, the therapist listens to each individual and helps them see things from a new perspective. By thinking about things from other family members’ points of view, they can identify and change unhealthy behavior patterns.

Couples therapy, also known as relationship or marriage therapy, focuses on helping couples improve the relationship they have with each other. It can be useful for couples who are having trouble getting along, finding it difficult to communicate effectively, or struggling with other problems that are hurting their relationship.

In couples therapy, the therapist helps each partner figure out what’s wrong with the relationship, understand how the problems arose, discover how to solve problems, and communicate meaningfully with each other better. This type of therapy can be helpful for couples who are dealing with a wide range of issues, including communication problems, infidelity, intimacy issues, and conflicts over parenting or other life decisions.

How does family and couples therapy help?

Family therapy and couples therapy are both very effective ways of solving problems between people in family or romantic relationships. There are several reasons why this type of therapy helps solve problems.

One of the most important aspects of therapy is communication improvement. Sometimes people find it difficult to properly explain how they feel or what they’re thinking. This makes it difficult for the other person to understand, which can often result in issues and conflict. In therapy, the therapist helps individuals properly explain what they mean, while helping others properly understand. 

Many people are so concerned about their own problems and feelings that they find it difficult to see things from another point of view. The therapist acts as an intermediary, validating everyone’s thoughts and feelings, while also helping individuals see things from the perspectives of others.

It’s often unhealthy habits and poor coping methods that cause problems in relationships and families. Couples and family therapists help people acknowledge their feelings and understand why they feel the way they do. With this information, developing healthy coping skills is much easier and improves the relationships they have with everyone around them.

Does it really work?

Both family therapy and couples therapy absolutely work and there are statistics to prove it. Many studies show that couples counseling works the majority of the time. But it’s always important to remember that it depends on the couple. Any relationship can be hard work and sometimes people are so vastly different that even the most qualified, experienced, and successful therapist can’t help. 

Family therapy is similar. Statistics show that it can be very successful at solving all kinds of family-related problems. But everyone involved has to be committed for it to work. If one family member is stubborn and doesn’t want to resolve the issues present, therapy is almost certain to fail. 

Family therapy vs. couples therapy

Although they’re sometimes used interchangeably, family therapy and couples therapy are two very different things. The best solution for you depends on the nature of your problem and the people involved. 

If your issues are solely between you and your partner, couples therapy is the best choice. But if they extend and affect other members of your family, family therapy is a better solution.

If there are issues between you and your partner in your relationship, as well as within your family, it may be worth resolving your issues in couples therapy before moving on to family therapy. This can often provide a solid foundation between you and your partner that makes it easier to resolve conflict with other family members. 

Similarly, you may have issues with another family member which are hurting your relationship with your partner. If this is the case, it may be better to address your issues in family counseling first. If your relationship with your partner fails to improve after this, it may be worth considering couples counseling to strengthen your connection. 


Family therapy and couples therapy are great options if you’re having problems with other members of your family or your partner. As long as everyone involved is fully committed to resolving the issues and is willing to give 100%, the chances of success following a therapy treatment plan are incredibly high.


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