Does Marriage Counseling Work?
Many people wonder does marriage counseling work. Some wonder if their relationship is too far gone. Others wonder, what can a marriage counselor really do for a couple that is always arguing or dealing with an affair or just doesn't seem to be a good match? Still others wonder if marriage counseling can make things worse!
The truth is, marriage counseling is not a quick fix, it takes commitment, and sometimes it can make it worse if you do not select a trained marriage therapist. You do have to ask yourself if you're really willing to do the work necessary to sustain your relationship. It takes courage, forgiveness and a little bit of humor. It will take giving up being right and blaming each other. It will take shifting perspectives and really listening to each other's concerns. You will need to learn new skills and move toward middle ground
Research on does marriage counseling work is somewhat limited but outcomes suggest the following:
At the end of couple’s therapy, 75% of couples receiving therapy are better off than similar couples who did not receive therapy. Sixty five percent of couples report "significant" improvement based on averaged scores of marital "satisfaction." (Pinsof & Wynne, 1995)
Why marriage counseling can be helpful is that the therapist can play the role of "coach" and "teacher." They can be someone who will help hold you accountable for reaching your goals and doing what you say you will do. Books, tapes and other non-counseling based "marriage programs" can be very useful, but it's not the same as having someone to guide you on your specific issues.
Overall, research and my own experience with couples indicates that marriage counseling really can help couples move forward toward healing, connection and "growing up" in their relationships.