Does Marriage Counseling Work?

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					Title:
Does Marriage Counseling Work?

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645

Summary:
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.


Keywords:
Marriage counselor, marriage counseling, relationships, family
counseling, advice, marriage, therapy, marriage therapy, family
counselor, MFT, counselor, couple’s counseling, counseling,


Article Body:
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.

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: 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.