Family Mediation or Couple Therapy is the question asked by family mediator, Michelle Rumsey here at LKW Family Mediation? In the initial stages of Family Mediation, we are often asked the question ‘I am not sure if I need family mediation or couple therapy?’.

What is the difference?

Couples engage in therapy for many different reasons. They may decide they cannot overcome the challenges in the relationship on their own and would like couples therapy to help them find a way forward in their relationship. Others have decided they would like to separate and seek emotional support for themselves and their family. Some couples are undecided if they would like to stay together or separate. Therapy is an emotionally supportive space to help couples communicate more effectively, to be listened to, and their emotions to be explored and acknowledged in a safe space. It can be incredibly empowering and effective to provide a space where you feel heard, understood and your feelings validated. Couple therapy is not about getting the other person to change their perspective or views of one’s own narrative, it is hopefully a space to hear each other’s feelings and accept them and learn different coping strategies and ways of positive communication.

Photo 8339188 © Nyul -

Couples sometimes enter mediation with a range of emotions, loss, hurt, anger, resentment, hope. This can be a barrier in moving forward and taking the next steps, therapy can help prepare you as a couple for mediation, it can enable you both to open those difficult conversations, providing time and space for unresolved emotions to be explored, looking at the past, present, and future and empowering you to be ready for mediation with a clearer and more positive focus.

Family mediation is the next step for couples once they have decided to separate or start the divorce process. Mediation is about taking couples forward in helping and supporting them in looking at different options surrounding childcare, finances and other areas they would like to raise. Mediation provides the optimum space to explore all options for the here and now and the future.


There are similarities in Couple therapy and Family Mediation, namely, your mediator and or couple therapist is working for you both, striving for the best outcome for you as a couple. The space provided in both settings is safe and free from judgment. You will be encouraged to explore a variety of options in helping you move forward and your mediator and or therapist is neutral and impartial. All information shared is confidential (excluding safety concerns) most importantly both Mediation and therapy is voluntary, you can decide if it is the right way forward for you.

Blogs you may also find useful

Preparing for family mediation

Separation: your changing family

You can also download free resources we’ve created to help you manage your separation as Calmly, Constructively, Conscious and Compassionately as possible.