Councelor/Therapist Questions Couple Therapy

Do you have to be married for couples therapy?

My boyfriend and I aren't married, but we're both considering couple therapy or counseling to work on our relationship. But we haven't heard of any non-married couples going to counseling... Do you recommend it for non-married couples as well?

17 Answers

Dear Sir/Madam:

I appreciate your taking initiative to resolve the issues regardless of your marital status. There are many couples, regardless of whether they live together or not, seek therapy. They may not tell others as sometimes in our society there is a stigma about people seeking therapy. So, I would encourage you to seek counseling as a couple, when needed, and not worry about whether other people pursue it or not. Just ensure that you are going to a licensed psychologist or a licensed marital/couple therapist who are experienced in helping you deal with those issues.

Take care,

Dr. Sonpal
I think couples therapy can be very helpful if both partners are interesting in working on the relationship. Most couples can benefit from learning some communication skills, and how to deal with conflicts that are productive. Relationship skills can be helpful to most people, and they are not taught in school!! If your nuclear family was not very good at dealing productively with conflict (either too much conflict, or avoiding all conflict) you may not know how to disagree and solve problems without getting stuck.

Hope this is helpful,

Nancy Warren, PhD
This is a very important question. If you are experiencing relationships difficulties, it would be important to seek couples therapy to understand each other fully. If you do go further into marriage, you will have a better opportunity to be better adjusted with each other.

Dr James A. Manganello 
Yes, definitely. You are in a relationship and want to improve the quality. it's good you recognize the benefits of such a decision.
You don't need to be married to be in couples therapy. You and your boyfriend will need to go in with an open mind. If either of you are going into the endeavor to have the other solely change, it will not be of benefit. Other need to work on the relationship issue.

No... just be in a relationship
Absolutely not! It’s called ‘couple therapy’ and no license is required for the couple. A great idea for people BEFORE they marry!

Marian Shapiro
Licensed Psychologist
Yes, I absolutely recommend marriage counseling for non-married couples as well. Communication is so hard and it takes a lot of work, so any insight or help we can get is the best.
No! In fact, I think that couples who are considering getting married can really benefit from couples counseling. Additionally, non-married couples can still share many of the same struggles that married couples have.
Good afternoon,
The term couples therapy can be confusing to some individuals, particularly for fellows who aren't married yet are living as a married couple. If the focus of counseling is towards the relationship, then, yes couples counseling is effective to assist in resolving/overcoming relationship problems while solidifying the relationship.
Absolutely! I think this can be a wonderful way to create a stable, healthy relationship. If marriage is your goal eventually, it can help set you up for success. Frankly, I wish more people would do this work before getting married. Even if marriage isn't your goal, wanting to create a health, happy, strong connection is reason enough to go.
Yes. Often pre-marital counseling is provided as is partner counseling.
No, you don’t have to be married. It’s for relationships and even if you don’t live together it’s for you.
Couples therapy does not mean you have to be married. I personally have treated many relationships who have not been married.
Couples therapists often work with non-married couples. It is recommended if you are in a committed relationship and want to improve your relationship or move into a deeper commitment. This is especially true if you are thinking about taking the step into marriage and want to resolve some disharmonious aspects of your relationship before taking that plunge.
Hello. No, you do not need to be married to go to couples counseling. If you and your boyfriend feel like you would benefit from couples therapy, I would recommend it. Just make sure that you know why you both want to go to therapy and that you are both wanting and willing to go. Therapy works best when it is wanted. Good luck.