Does Marriage Counseling Really Work?
Does marriage counseling really work or not? This answer depends on various factors.
- Is there a willingness for both to change?
- What is the opinion of each partner when it comes to seeing a therapist?
- What is the depth or seriousness of the problem related to why you are seeking help?
Marriage Counseling might work miracles for one relationship but for another it could make it worse. Let’s turn to statistics for the answer to clear this question “does marriage counseling effectively work?”. Looking at statistics will provide couples with insight and guidance. It does not matter if the marriage is starting out or if it is already getting rocky. These following statistics will help determine if marriage counseling is right for you.
1) Statistics Reveal High Client Satisfaction Rates.
According to the Marriage/Family Association, couples that have attended relationship or marriage therapy indicate high client satisfaction rates. Over 98% of the people interviewed reported receiving couples therapy. They felt it was helpful. Statistics show that 93% of clients felt they had gained the tools and help to deal with their marital issues. They also reported an increase in improved health and better work related functioning.
2) Marriage Counseling works fast.
The first question to ask is if your partner is committed to attending therapy from the start. If one partner is reluctant or refusing to attend therapy, you can still change the dynamics of the relationship. This is done through individual therapy. Statistics reveal that therapy for families and couples is faster and often when both are motivated is more effective.
If both are not motivated to do the work required, than couples therapy is a waste of time. All that will end up happening is the blame game. No one will be heard. When in therapy together, you have the opportunity to work on the system or group dynamics. This leads to success much faster. This ultimately means that you and your partner spend significantly less in cost for therapy. The marriage will get on track faster.
3) Therapy with a Therapist is more cost effective than a Psychologist.
The truth is that for many couples that seek to start therapy, finances are often already a hot topic. The couple is already stressed out over this fact. The added anxiety and stress with a bill for therapy is often times very overwhelming. I have seen many times that it becomes so stressful that attending therapy is placed on the back-burner. Clients stop attending. It important that you do your homework and find a good therapist that has very reasonable rates.
I decided years ago that 50 minute sessions were ineffective for clients. In my opinion it was not fair to charge the rates other therapist do. What does work for me is to work with couples in blocks of 90-120 minutes each visit for a flat rate. I understand that finances are a large concern. Therapy should be available and affordable for all. Working with a licensed mental health/marriage and family therapist will save you on average up to 40% less than seeking therapy with a psychologist or psychiatrist. Please see my approach and fees for more information.
4) Marriage Counseling Leads to Divorce.
When clients ask if marriage counseling works, they really want to know if their particular marriage can be saved. The reality is that when you come in for therapy, it will work if your motivated. Also if you are authentic and do the work of self analysis then you and your partner will change. If you can allow for this change to happen naturally and not force the other to conform to your standards and expectations, then it can work.
Many have found through couples counseling that they are not a good match and that they have been attempting to force the marriage to be something it just simply is not. Research indicates that a quarter of the couples that have received marriage therapy report the marriage is worse two years after therapy. Statistics show 38% of married couples that have received marriage therapy were divorced within four years.
5) Emotionally Focused Therapy Is the most effective approach?
Therapist find that EFT (Emotional Focused Therapy) works well when both are motivated to do the work required. Statistics reveal that in most cases using EFT is effective with couples. It helps the couple to understand and restructure the strong emotional responses the have. I utilize this technique to seek out the emotional cycles between the couple.
A therapist can quickly get in and see the cycles. I can assist in bringing the couple the awareness to end the cycle. Statistics reveal that 90% of partners reported a significant improvement in the relationship. An estimated 70% to 75% of couples in distress were able to greatly improve their relationship using EFT. EFT has shown to be effective. It helps couples to foster their negative attachments into healthy and productive patterns.
6) The Sooner a Couple starts therapy, the better their chances.
There are no hard numbers backing this assertion up. A couple willing to start working on their problems and learn how to vocalize them will be better equipped for future problems. A couple will know how to smoothly maneuver through these issues with ease and work them out. Communication becomes very destructive if partners do not talk. It can be hurtful and abusive. I always suggest a couple enter into premarital counseling. It sets up the framework and foundation for a lasting and strong marriage.
7) Degrees mean little: Finding the right Therapist matters
Consumers Reports indicated the amount of one’s education in regards to the therapist you choose has little to do with success. A recent survey conducted with 4,000 clients showed that clients felt the exact same about the therapy process. Seeing a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker or licensed mental health or marriage therapist played no part in the outcome. It really boils down to finding a therapist best suited to your personality.
Does Marriage Counseling Work?
I always suggest you do your homework and interview different therapist. Ask as many questions you can think of. Refer to my commonly asked questions for guidelines on important questions to ask. You want it to be a great match. I spend 30-45 minutes on the phone with potential clients. I want them to understand my approach and learn about how I can best help them.