Individual vs. Couple Therapy - Which is better for Marital Problems?

Individual vs. Couple Therapy - Which is better for Marital Problems?

Therapy is basically any kind of treatment performed for physical disorders or mental illnesses. There are various kinds of manners and techniques for performing therapies.

However, while dealing with a specific case, a particular method of therapy must be used.

As different patients have completely different psychologies. In order to deal with them, various approaches are made by the therapists.

The following are the two most important techniques for carrying out the therapy.

Individual Therapy

Where a therapist treats a single member of a couple is known as individual therapy. This kind of therapy is an approachable one when the other spouse repulses to join the counseling or to prevent the hyped-up atmosphere.

Pros and cons of individual therapy.

Another reason might be that one member of the couple is unable to discuss the consequences that led to the problem or his/her emotions.

The following are discussed the pros and cons of individual therapy.

In individual therapy, the patient is able to open about his/her emotions and behavior. This aids the counseling as there is no interference from the other member.

In the presence of both the members, there are possibilities of hyped-up and harsh arguments between the couple. To avoid such circumstances, they prefer to approach for individual therapy.

As far as the negative aspects of individual therapy are concerned, a counsellor is unable to visualize the full scenario of marital interactions and relationships. While in a one-to-one discussion with a single member, the psychologist cannot conclude the consequences.

Neither can the psychologist counsel both the members equally and help them realize their mistakes.

The counsellor can easily make them understand their sides of their efforts in the relationship. The requirements of a successful marital relationship are the contributions and efforts of both spouses.

Negligence from one side can automatically affect the interaction. And thus, it can result in several problems and marital life crisis.

Couple Therapy

In the couple therapy, the therapist treats the couple at the same time. In this kind of therapy, the counsellor can look into the couple’s personal life more head-on.

The couple’s behavior and attitude are of great emphasis during the couple therapy questions.

The therapist finds it easy to make the couple realize their respective contributions to the marital relationship, as both the spouses put forward their expectations and responsibilities.

The following are the advantages and disadvantages of the couple therapy.

The couple therapy proves to be healthy if both the members harmonize and develop a good communicating bond with the counsellor.

A therapist can have a better view of the marital relationship if the sensitive issues have the focus of attention. In this therapy, both the husband and wife can equally come up with their point of view.

advantages and disadvantages of the couple therapy

And hence, the counsellor can help them to sort out their differences.

This therapy has its own disadvantages as well. Most of the time, one of the members is violently hyper.

In such cases, the couple therapy session can result in an intense atmosphere and intemperate arguments. To avoid such incidents, the therapist comes up with the individual therapy sessions and treats both the members separately. 

In the couple therapy sessions, both the members should be calm and let the other one also be vocal about their problems and expectations.

These kinds of sessions aid the counsellor in understanding the relationship more directly that ultimately benefits the marital relationship.

Which Therapy is better for Marital Problems?

In this article, we have already discussed the pros and cons of the individual as well as the couple therapy.

Which therapy is better for marital problems?

Now the question is, “Which therapy is better for solving marital problems?”

There are no hard and fast rules for this. It depends on the couple to couple. The counsellor is the one, who after some sessions, prefers to go with the individual therapy or the couple therapy.

Different cases have different ways to sort out problems. Still, we will further discuss this as follows.

Studies have shown that individual therapy for a severe case might worsen the condition, resulting in divorce. In individual therapy, the counsellor is unable to help the couple consistently and make them realize their contributions to the relationship.

As the sessions are not symmetrical, most of the time due to which the focus of attention is either member of the couple.

There is no outcome to such sessions where the other member of the couple is being neglected. Therefore, mostly individual therapy does not prove to be fruitful in severe cases.

The couple therapy is more helpful when the marital interactions are at more risk and both the members cooperate with each other and the therapist.

However, in violent cases, this can result in a harsh environment.

Mostly either member of the couple hesitates to be vocal about their behavior and feelings in front of their spouse. In the couple therapy sessions, one can freely discuss the problem without being getting interfered with. This interference can ultimately lead to harsh and bitter arguments.

The therapist approach the couple therapy because it is more fruitful for married couples as compared to that of individual therapy.

The couple therapist is able to have a clearer picture of the marital relationship. By visualizing a transparent image of the couple’s personal life, the therapist can help them in understanding their contributions to the problem.

It is easier for the couple counsellor to sort out their problems and differences for the betterment of the relationship.


From the above discussion, we can clearly conclude that the couple therapy is more beneficial for marital problems.

However, the couple therapy as well as the individual therapy has their respective pros and cons. The nature of the case and the psychologies of the patients vary therefore the approach and techniques of the therapies also vary.

In a nutshell, we can say that the couple therapy should be a priority when dealing with a marital relationship keeping in mind the variations of the cases.

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