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Marriage Counseling Effectiveness

Marriage counseling, or couple’s counseling, is a form of psychological therapy that seeks to deal with mental health issues, or other problems, stemming from a relationship between two people. The idea is that both parties will attend counseling as a means to elaborate upon the issues and the strain being caused between them. Ideally, they will learn how to solve their problems through the mediation of a professionally-trained counselor or therapist.

The marriage counseling statistics indicate that couples attend therapy for any number of reasons. Arguments, abuse – both physical and emotional, loss of love or other feelings, parenting troubles, resentment, and problems with affectionate or sexual intimacy are all common reasons for attending couple’s therapy.

In the United States, couple’s therapy data reports an overwhelming satisfaction rate for this form of counseling. The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists reports that 98 percent of couples surveyed felt they had received excellent therapy. Over 90 percent claimed they received the care that they needed and felt ready to tackle their marital or couple’s problems.

This gives the impression that marriage counseling is very successful at fixing relationships. This may not entirely be the case, however; couples nonetheless do feel the experience was valuable to them. For instance, a relationship could conceivably be unhealthy or unhappy for both partners, and if therapy convinces both of them that this is the case and the relationship ends, this could still be a positive outcome. Statistically, though, this might look like a failure.

Thus, marriage counseling effectiveness is a difficult thing to quantify. Still, research has been done, as briefly detailed above. Other findings from couples therapy data include:

  • Seeking help early leads to longer-lasting, healthier relationships
  • 65% of those who receive treatment report improvement in the relationship
  • 38% of couples who receive marriage counseling get divorced within 4 years; however, nearly 70% of couples having similar problems who do not seek counseling are divorced within 4 years
  • Therapies with an emotional focus tend to be more successful – similarly, solutions that seek to improve emotional bonds and individual emotions tend to yield the best results
  • While long-term counseling is necessary in some cases, marriage counseling effectiveness tends to be achieved in less time than in individual therapy

Unfortunately, many couples wait too long to seek help. Citing concerns ranging from cost to uncertainty of outcome, people are often just too hesitant to follow through with such an endeavor. The marriage counseling statistics show, though, that working with a licensed family and marriage therapist is almost always cheaper than seeing an individual therapist. Family counseling is also a different field than psychiatry or mental health counseling; as such, its practitioners often are not required to undergo such extensive and expensive education. This leads to lower prices for patients.

While counseling cannot be considered a silver bullet for saving a marriage or relationship, the satisfaction statistics can’t be ignored. Even the end of a relationship can be improved through therapy; without it, divorce can be an ugly, damaging, and stressful experience. If there is distance growing between partners, or arguments are getting increasingly intense, consider discussing the possibility of therapy.

Couple’s therapy also shouldn’t be seen as “giving up,” or in any other way as an admission of weakness. Managing a family, a home, raising children, and ensuring financial stability were never expected of a couple on their own in the past. The increasingly isolated nature of the family unit from the community at large can lead to overwhelmed spouses at their wits’ end. With the help of a trained professional, however, harmony can be brought back into the relationship in a meaningful way.

Couples therapy data shows that by focusing on intimacy, emotion, and communication, marriage counseling effectiveness is improved dramatically, and so, in turn, is the relationship between patients. Possibly most important to this process is choosing the right therapist. It may be easy to assume that the most expensive psychiatrist will best solve your problems; consumer reports, however, show otherwise. Rather, practitioners ranging from clinical psychologists to social workers seem to be roughly equal in providing treatment to couples.

Whatever your reason for considering treatment, know that you should expect hard work and an emotional experience should you go ahead with it. Marriage counseling statistics aside, you cannot go in with expectations of a perfect marriage coming out. You and your partner will be required to honestly assess your relationship and make mature decisions regarding it.

If you have any questions about New Jersey family law, call  The Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at (201) 845- 7400 today, for a consultation.

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Peter Van Aulen is certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a Matrimonial Attorney.

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