Couples Therapy: Does Marriage Counseling Work?
In short, it depends on a variety of factors. Here's some relationship advice for how to make couples therapy work:
- Before beginning couples therapy, do some research into the counselor. Some marriage counselors are focused on answering relationship questions and improving a marriage. Others are mainly there to facilitate a divorce. Many counselors are trained to respond to people's pain and relieve it rather than to help couples learn new marriage skills. When you choose a counselor with a record of success, couples therapy has a better chance of working.
- Couples are most likely to avoid divorce if they regard a counselor as a helper and themselves as responsible for changing their words, attitudes and behaviors.
- If you decide to do couples therapy, you've got to be willing to give it some time. You can't expect all of your relationship questions to be answered in one session!
- Once you're in couples therapy, speak up. Now is the time to voice questions you have about your relationship and seek relationship advice.
- Couples therapy is more likely to work if you seek help as soon as you need it. Often couples go to couples therapy long after they first need it. By the time they see a counselor, their main relationship question is: should we stick together?
- It is great if you are both committed to couples therapy. But it is also good to recognize that a marriage can turn around even if only one person is seeking help.
- Couples therapy won't work if you see the counselor unrealistically as a final savior. They can provide relationship advice and tips on strengthening your relationship, but they can't save your marriage on their own. You and your husband need to do the heavy lifting couples therapy will demand.