Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Does Marriage Counseling Work?
Does Marriage Counseling Work?
by: shelly phegley


When considering marriage counseling, it's difficult not to wonder whether seeing a marriage counselor will actually work. This article provides some objective information based on data obtained from a national survey of marriage and family counselors and their clients. Also presented are several interesting opinions provided by individuals who have actually been through marriage counseling and were asked to comment on whether or not seeing a marriage counselor proved effective in helping their relationship.

An honest marriage counselor would agree that the motivation of a couple may be the single most important factor in determining the success of marriage counseling. It's unlikely that even a brilliant counselor would be able to save a marriage where one spouse has already decided upon a divorce, and a mediocre marriage counselor can probably help a couple who are utterly committed towards making their marriage work. With this in mind, research has been made in an effort to determine, on a more scientific level, the effectiveness of couples counseling.

In an article published by Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, clients of marriage and family counselors from 15 different states reported on their experience with counseling. The findings indicated that marriage and family counselors treated a wide range of issues in relatively short-term fashion, couple and family therapy are briefer than individual therapy, and that client satisfaction and functional improvement are quite high.

[*] Specifically, of clients from 526 marriage and family counselors in 15 different states:

98.1% rated services good or excellent
97.1% got the kind of help they desired
91.2% were satisfied with the amount of help they received
93% said they were helped in dealing more effectively with problems
94.3% would return to the same therapist in the future
96.9% would recommend their therapist to a friend
97.4% were generally satisfied with the service they received
63.4% reported improved physical health
54.8% reported improvement in functioning at work
73.7% indicated improvement in children’s behavior
58.7% showed improvement in children’s school performance
[*] Excerpted from "Clinical Practice Patterns of Marriage and Family Therapists: A National Survey of Therapists and Their Clients", Journal of Marital and Family Therapy--Volume 22, No. 1

While the above study provides raw data that supports the effectiveness of marriage and family counseling, a very interesting discussion on the question "Does Couples Counseling Work" from a public forum devoted to this topic offers a less clinical, but still positive view. Based on what seems to be a very honest and frank discussion among couples "who've been there," the answer to the question of whether or not marriage counseling is effective is a positive one. Read these posts on the Berkley Parents Network.

Regardless of the studies and opinions which seem to support the effectiveness of marriage / couples counseling, there are those who question it's effectiveness. An article on the about.com portal, had this to say:

The science of marital counseling is being studied in great detail these days. Research is showing that it is not as effective as people think, that women seem to get more from it than men, and that it might not have a lasting effect on the couple's marriage.

What type of couple gets the most from couple therapy? The answer is young, non-sexist, still in love, open couples.

Which couples receive the least from therapy? Some factors that can make couple therapy unsuccessful include couples who wait too long before seeking help, and often one or the other is set on getting a divorce and is closed to any suggestions that may save the marriage.

Excerpted from the marriage.about.com portal

Unfortunately, the data supporting the above-mentioned research is not specifically cited in the article. The article seems to imply that couples who seek counseling because they want their relationship to work are more likely to succeed with marriage counseling than are those who enter into counseling with the (perhaps hidden) truth that they already want out.



This article is free for republishing
Shelly Phegley is a staff writer at The National Directory of Family and Marriage Counseling View profiles of family and marriage counselors nationwide. Articles & resources to help couples and families locate and evaluate a couple’s counselor.

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posted by Beebee @ 7:55 PM  
2 Comments:
  • At August 11, 2009 at 3:29 AM, Blogger dimon said…

    Yes marriage counseling does work; can help you learn skills to solidify your marriage relationship. These skills may comprise to communicating openly, problems resolving together and discussing differences rationally. In some cases, such as mental illness or substance abuse, your marriage counselor may work with your extra health care professionals to give a full spectrum of treatment. But after the consulting with marriage counseling programs people are able to understand about the actual means of love, marriage life and relations, and the importance of it in couple life. Family and Marriage counselors work with couples, families and individuals to help them understand the underlying issues for their relationship problems. These counselors use various counseling tools and techniques and they offer psychotherapy to individual adults, couples, and families. Find more information about the marriage counseling, family and marriage counselors from this site.

    http://www.marriage-counselors.net/

     
  • At January 6, 2010 at 12:18 PM, Blogger Sharon said…

    Hi,
    My name is Sharon Vergis and I am the assistant editor of counselor.org. I am contacting you today in hopes of developing a relationship with your website; we have seen your site and think your content is great. Counselor.org is a purely informational site dedicated to the general Public.

    I hope you show some interest in building relationship, please contact me at sharon.counselor.org@gmail.com.

     
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