I read an interesting article providing “research” that marriage counseling seems to increase the likelihood of divorce. As a psychologist and couples counselor, I had to look further into this, as it seems counterintuitive antithetical.
The study is based upon research compiled in the State of Louisiana, which allows couples the option of the “Covenant Marriage.” This is a legally defined marriage which is significantly more difficult to terminate, and includes a two year waiting period prior to divorce as well the requirement to take “reasonable steps” to preserve the relationship, which can include marriage counseling.
The study of 700 marriages over four years concluded that “All forms of marital counseling are associated with a two to threefold increase in the likelihood of divorce.”
The full article referencing this study may be found if you Click Here.
As a Clinical Psychologist who has worked with couples since 1991 (and an MIT graduate who understands a little bit about statistics), I believe that the data and conclusions might need to be explored a little bit more. We know that statistics can be manipulated to reach just about any conclusion, and I have only read the article summarizing the data, not the actual research data itself.
However, I know that positive results in psychotherapy depend upon a number of factors, including:
1. The skill and training of the psychotherapist.
2. The intention of each member of the couple entering into treatment (believe it or not, some spouses/partners actually go into treatment to END their relationship, not to save it).
3. The “match” between psychotherapist and patients.
In addition, I believe that the “sample” of married couples entering into couples counseling is already “pre-conditioned” as these are couples that are acknowledging that they have a problem. They automatically are more likely to divorce given that they have a problem, as opposed to couples that are “happy” in their relationship.
So, of course, regardless of research, I am a firm believe in psychotherapy and couples counseling and will be curious to see how this latest report is taken by the population and the media.
What are YOUR thoughts about this? What are YOUR experiences of couples counseling? Please comment on this article and please SHARE it with anyone that you believe will benefit from it.
Thank you so much,
Dr. Adam Sheck
If you’re interested in more of my thoughts about relationships and creating passion and purpose, please download my Free Special Reports, “20 Rituals For Romance!” and “The Secret To Owning Your Mission!” by subscribing to the Passion Doctor Newsletter at the top of this page.