Does Marriage Counseling Work?
For couples considering marriage counseling, it’s often difficult to accept whether seeing a marriage counselor will actually help their relationship. We have been trying to obtain objective information, such as data which is gathered from national surveys of marriage and family counselors and their clients.
We analyzed several interesting opinions given by people who have actually experienced marriage counseling themselves and were asked to comment on the effectiveness of seeing a marriage counselor try and help their relationship.
Most honest marriage counselors would agree that the motivation level, or commitment, of a couple to save their marriage may be the single biggest success factor in determining the successful outcome of marriage counseling. It’s extremely rare that marriage counseling would be able to save a marriage where one partner has already decided upon a divorce. This aspect of commitment in a relationship is further explored in the article, What to Expect from Couples Therapy.
Even a mediocre marriage counselor would however be able to help a couple who are truly committed to wanting to save their marriage. Keeping this in mind, research has been conducted to determine, on a more measurable level, the effectiveness is of marriage counseling.
An article published by the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, reports from couples attending a marriage and/or family counseling across more than 15 states on their experience with counseling. Their findings show that when marriage and family counselors treat an extremely wide range of marital problems over relatively short periods, couple and family therapy turns out to be much briefer than individual therapy would.
Also, client satisfaction and improvement of relationships are quite high. Specifically, clients from 526 marriage counselors in 15 different states:
98.1% rated marriage counseling services good or excellent,
97.1% received the type of help they expected,
91.2% were satisfied with the amount of advice they received,
93% said they were aided in dealing more effectively with their marital problems,
94.3% would return to the same marriage counselor if required,
96.9% would recommend their counselor to friends,
97.4% were generally satisfied with the service they received,
63.4% reported improved physical health due to stress reduction,
54.8% reported improvement in how they functioned at work,
73.7% indicated improvement in the behavior of their children,
58.7% showed improvement in children’s school performance.
While studies like the above provide raw data that supports the assertion that marriage counseling does indeed work, 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 very much positive view. Based on these discussions, marriage counseling is effective for couples committed to working on their relationship.
For those considering this step, it’s valuable to understand what to expect from couples therapy. This resource provides an overview of the process and what couples can hope to gain from the experience. Additionally, for a deeper understanding of the dynamics in relationships and personal growth, exploring how to be an adult in relationships can offer further insights.
In summary, the effectiveness of marriage counseling largely depends on the couple’s commitment to improving their relationship. While counseling may not be a guaranteed solution for every marriage, for those willing to work together and invest in the process, it can be a valuable tool in enhancing and saving their relationship. Based on what seems to be an honest and frank discussion among couples who’ve been to marriage counseling, the answer to the question of whether or not marriage counseling is effective is a positive one.
Author: Michelle Landeros, LMFT
Michelle Landeros is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT). She is passionate about helping individuals, couples and families thrive.
Last updated: February 28, 2024