Does Marriage Counseling Work: What The Research Says …

By | September 18, 2010

happy couple marriage counseling help maritalMany couples wonder if marriage counseling works. Others wonder if counseling is successful within a few session or if there is even hope for them. If therapy were as easy as changing your oil, the answer might be quickly generated. The fact is, relationships are simple in some ways and in others can be very complicated depending on the history, current situation, and willingness to change with each partner in the relationship. In this article I’d like to discuss the nature of marriage counseling and the flow that productive therapy by a licensed marriage counselor can have for couples.Therapists approach counseling in different ways depending on their clinical training and their style. Some clinicians explore the history and talk about current problems. Others explore some history but focus on communication patterns. In my opinion I’d suggest that both of these things are needed and helpful. Yet solid marriage counseling that simply deals with solving old fights and quarrels and focuses on helping partners learn skills to communicate better may miss the mark, let me explain. Dr. John Gottman, world renowned marital research expert, has found that it is not conflict in marriage but emotional distance that determines whether a relationship will survive. If in fact it is distance and not conflict, then working to help partners attend to each other and ‘hear’ each other beyond what they are saying is crucial to helping the couple establish a solid relational foundation.With couples I have worked with I have found over the years that for many learning skills and solving a few age-old battles is not enough. Partners seek connection and belonging at their cores inner selves. Thus when infidelity and mistrust or similar breaches of commitment tear at marriages, spouses become very hurt and devastated due to the sense of betrayal and sense of attachment and bonding loss. Therapists that know and practice Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) help couples gain a sense of safety, openness, and better responsiveness to one another thus allowing them to engage and in fact have conflict when it arises but the way they ‘fight’ and the nature of the foundation is stable thus they weather the emotion micro-bursts and can better establish harmony and peace. In fact research indicates that 70-75% of couples report being happy again after having gone through EFT, in contrast to the 35% that try traditional couples counseling focused on communication techniques. If you want professional help with your marriage is is key that you find and begin working with a licensed marriage and family therapist, specifically trained in couples and family therapy work. Learn more about what a marriage and family therapist is at this link to marriage and family counselor overview. Also you can get a more clinical write-up on EFT link to emotionally focused therapy article.I do work through an Emotionally Focused paradigm that is research backed and proven effective at helping couples build strong safe marriages. This allows me to glean the history, establish the dynamics in the relationship then begin helping couples build a strong base of connection and understanding beyond curing a few simple debates or offering a few communication techniques. If you’re interested in bringing stability and strength to a marriage or repairing a damaged ailing, one please contact me and I can help guide you through back to the marriage you are hoping for.

Copyright: No part of this article in section or full may be reproduced without permission from the author Justin Stum, MS LMFT. The one and only exception is for educational purposes and only if the contact information below for the author is fully cited here in article. Justin Stum, MS LMFT, 640 E. 700 S., Suite 103, St. George Utah 84770, 435-574-9193,

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