Sometimes it can be a little confusing for couples who want to do some work with a therapist to know what “kind” to go to.
Generally speaking, there are four types of practice and four service provider types are often used interchangeably (although many other professionals provide a wide variety of couples work, such as pastoral care, marriage encounters, sex workshops, etc).
The terms most often used are:
– Marriage Counseling (Marriage Counselor)
– Marriage Therapy (Marriage Therapist)
– Couples Therapy (Couples Therapist)
Are there differences between these terms? And… does it matter?
Yes… and no.
There’s the obvious difference between “marriage” (or married people) and “couples.”
Couples may not be married, and may not have made any kind of serious commitment. They may have met for the first time last night… although very few if any couples brand new to their relationship consult a couples counselor
…but conversely (and unfortunately) there are many married people who really don’t feel like or act like they are really a couple!
I chose the name of my site an my business as Eugene Marriage Counseling. However, I do meet with couples who are not officially or legally married. The reason I chose that name is because I wanted to suggest that I’m most interested and trained in working with couples who are COMMITTED to each other and the relationship.
According to some sources, the words “Marriage” or “married” came from old root words meaning “to give oneself to one another.” It implies a full commitment of self between two people. The LEGAL and THEOLOGICAL definitions of marriage are a whole different matter for discussion, a discussion which I’m not terribly interested in as a psychologist.
To me the pertinent issue is that people are in a committed relationship, and as a person who works with couples in distress, I see my job as that of helping people discover joy, meaning and satisfaction in that committed relationship.
“Counseling” often implies giving advice. I do that sometimes, when it is requested or if I feel it’s appropriate.
So whether you call me a Eugene Marriage Counselor, a Eugene Couples Counselor, a Eugene Marriage Therapist, or a Eugene Couples Therapist, my goal in working with you as a couple is always the same, and that is to use all the skills and experience I have accrued over the years to help you get to the goals you want to achieve in the most respectful, dignified and effective ways possible.