Is Marriage Counseling Truly Effective?

Couples therapy lafayette la

The decision of whether or not to seek couples counseling isn’t easy. Unfortunately, part of the reason why so many people struggle with the idea of bringing psychotherapy “into” their marriage is because it seems like an acknowledgment that something is indeed wrong. There also remains a stigma in some regions surrounding counseling in general — or at least a perceived stigma. In reality, most people accept counseling as a part of life that some people need. But they still might feel embarrassed or ashamed to admit that they themselves need counseling — especially couples counseling. Seeking therapy services to aid your marriage isn’t “admitting defeat”. In fact, when a couple seeks counseling together, they’re demonstrating exactly how important their marriage is to the both of them. In many cases, therapy is the only thing that can save a marriage. And in some cases, nothing can save a marriage — not even therapy. But it’s important to take every step you can to save your marriage if both parties are willing to try, if for nothing else than your peace of mind. Below, we’ll look into what contributes to the need for marital counseling, how it works, and how often it works.

Why Do People Need Couples Counseling?

There are many reasons why people might need couples therapy. The common misconception is that this sort of therapy is largely need after marital infidelity, or other such types of betrayals. It is true that infidelity can lead marriages to break up — and that couples who want to move on from infidelity almost always need to seek couples counseling if they expect to really work out their problems. An affair doesn’t happen in a vacuum, after all. But often, couples counseling happens because of other factors, such as mental illness. Mental illness is often treated through individual therapy, but it can easily affect a marriage as well. An estimated 50% of Americans with major depression don’t seek treatment for their illness, and this can cause a huge strain on any relationship. In fact, women are 70% more likely than men to experience depression, and as women often don’t feel comfortable with voicing such issues, this can lead to resentment from both parties — though you could say the same thing when men are affected by depression. People may also need couples counseling after a traumatic event, or following the loss of a job. No matter why you need therapy, you shouldn’t feel ashamed — therapy is supposed to make you feel better, not worse. It’s a good thing.

How Does Couples Counseling Work?

Couples counseling usually takes the form of talk therapy. In cases like these, a therapist will typically help couples talk about their problems in a safe setting — sometimes separately, sometimes together depending on the therapist’s specific strategy. The therapist will suggest coping skills and methods that can be applied at home, which will hopefully be helpful in the future. Couples therapy is something that people can quite whenever they want. The sessions will usually begin as weekly sessions, depending on the couple’s preferences, and gradually will decrease until they’re no longer necessary. It’s important to note that many couples seek couples therapy just as a “tune up”, of sorts, regularly visiting a counselor in order to check up on their relationship and better it. For that matter, some couples seek therapy before marriage, just to make sure that their relationship is strong and healthy.

Is Couples Counseling Effective?

When it comes to the effectiveness of couples therapy, the answers are clear. According to research by the Chicago Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy, 50% of couples recovered after the termination of their therapy, while 70% recovered within the next three months. Indeed, 98% of couples surveyed by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists reported receiving good or excellent help, with 97% saying that they got the help they needed. Marriage counseling does work — you just have to take that first step.

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