Is it couple therapy, couple’s therapy, or couples therapy?

Matthew Henry / Burst / Used under licenseOkay, let’s not pretend this is an important question in the grand scheme of things. It is not. But for anxious types (like me) who want to make sure we’re using the right terminology, how do we describe that service of providing relationship therapy for two people? Is it couple therapy, couple’s therapy, or couples therapy?

I’m proud to offer a definitive, authoritative answer.* Read on.

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“I’m just an MFT student”

Brodie Vissers / Burst / Used under licenseLanguage fascinates me. As therapists, we use language to reframe situations, craft metaphors, and ultimately instill feelings of hope. We recognize how powerful this tool is, so we carefully select our words when in sessions with clients. If only we did the same outside of sessions.

I love speaking with associates, trainees, and students at various events and settings. I’ve heard about the highs and lows of the journey to licensure, the successes and struggles, the hopeful and (seemingly) hopeless situations. One of the statements that always gets to me is “I’m just a(n) ___” (student, trainee, associate).

“Just.” As in “simply,” “only,” “no more than.” Imagine how quickly you would point out the use of this word to a client, drawing their attention to the potential consequences of viewing themselves in a negative light. Unfortunately, we’re not always good at catching ourselves when we do this.

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