Does Marriage Counseling Work? These Facts May Surprise You 

Does Marriage Counseling WorkDoes marriage counseling work for everyone? The answer to this question will vary depending on many factors such as your willingness to change, how well you respond to the techniques given by the therapist, and the depth of your martial issues. While counseling has worked wonders for many couples, it can make another couple’s relationship much worse. Whether your marriage is already on the rocks or has just started to head down that rocky path, the following facts about marriage counseling can help you to determine if it’s the right course for your marriage.

Are You Both Willing to Make Your Marriage Work?

Couples and families who have attended couple’s or family therapy sessions show a high rate of patient satisfaction as shown by research done by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. Over ninety-eight percent of people surveyed reported that they received excellent or good therapy results. After working with a therapist for three months over ninety percent of couples felt that they had been given the right tools for dealing with their marital issues. Others reported improved ability to function at home and work and an increase in physical health.

Whether or not couple’s therapy will work for you and your partner will depend on whether or not your significant other is willing to go with you. If they simply refuse to go, you might be able to change your relationship’s dynamic by going to individual therapy. But statistics have shown that family or couple’s therapy is much more effective than going to therapy alone. When a family or couple goes together, they’ll have a chance to work on the group dynamic, which leads to faster success.  Usually, it will take significantly fewer sessions to accomplish a goal in couple’s or family therapy than it does if you’re going to therapy alone. In the end, this means you’ll spend less money on therapy and your marriage will get back on track sooner.

How Marriage Counseling Can Change Your Marriage

When many couples begin therapy, they’re stressed about money in addition to their marital problems. The added stress of a therapy bill can almost be overwhelming for many couples, and in some cases, it can even derail the therapy. If you want to ditch this extra stress, opt for a licensed couple’s therapist instead of seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist. These professionals are very experienced and often charge twenty to forty percent less than other mental health specialists.

For some couples, marriage counseling can actually convince them that they’re in an unhealthy relationship and it can actually give a couple the encouragement they need to end the relationship. According to some studies, twenty-five percent of couples who go to therapy together report that their marriage is worse after going to therapy. Forty percent of couples who go to marriage counseling will get divorced within three years of ending therapy.

Marriage CounselingUnfortunately, there is no quick fix that can repair a broken marriage, but many specialists have found success using emotionally focused therapy. Statistics have shown that this type of therapy has a higher success rate than traditional marriage therapy techniques. By focusing on a couple’s emotional cycles, a couple can earn a better understanding of each other, and this, in turn, helps to create new ways to interact with each other. When a couple turns to emotionally focused therapy, over ninety percent of them reported a significant improvement in their relationship. Around seventy-five percent of couples who were in distress were able to move into the recovery phase after using this type of therapy for one month.

This type of therapy is designed to teach couples how to foster their attachment in productive and healthy ways.

Many marriage counselors have found that therapy is more effective if couples seek help sooner. If a couple waits until their issues are too far advanced, a partner may have already given up, so saving the relationship at that point can be difficult if not impossible. In other instances, a couple’s communication patterns have become so negative and abusive that a therapist may find it difficult to teach them new ways to communicate. Couples should seek therapy as soon as problems arise, for the best chance at success.

Research has also shown that the amount of education a therapist has might not be that important. In a survey of five thousand people, participants had no changes in how they felt about the success or lack thereof of their therapy whether they saw a social worker, psychiatrist or psychologist. In cases where couples only had a few choices because of insurance restrictions, they felt the therapy they received was less effective. A person may want to choose their therapist based on their instincts and whether they feel a connection. If it feels like a particular specialist can help, schedule a session and give it a shot. If it feels like it’s not a good match, talk with a different professional.

Is Your Marriage Doomed From the Start?

For several years, most people believed that half of marriages end in divorce. Unfortunately, this statistic often makes people feel like their marriage has a slim chance of success, even before problems arise. Couples these days who end up marrying tend to be much older than couples who married just twenty years ago. And this older age seems to have helped to lower the divorce rate. Before you give up on your marriage, you must carefully consider whether your preconceived notions about marriage or the high divorce rate are what’s making you throw in the towel.

How long should I try marriage counseling before I give up? This is a common question, and again it depends on you, your partner’s willingness to go, and whether or not you’ve seen positive changes. If you simply haven’t had any success with therapy, even after changing therapists, most mental health professionals recommend giving it at least eight months of treatment before you decide to try another avenue.

Ivan Verr is a marriage & relationship coach, with a passion for helping couples solving their emotional and intimacy issues.

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