Does Marriage Counseling Work?

Recently a couple decided to end counseling after two sessions. The wife stated that she felt counseling should not be the vehicle to which conflict between them should be rectified. Her belief was such that if we are intelligent, educated people then why look for someone other than ourselves to solve our problems?  Counseling can be a crutch to some people and couples if it’s used as one.

However, a skilled therapMarriagecounseling.jpgist will not allow for this nor should she or he impose personal opinions on to their client. A third party, such as a therapist/counselor/coach offers an unbiased view point. Often times in these sessions the therapist brings up questions that drive the couple to think about their relationship in a way they normally haven’t in the past.

By having a therapist, with compassion and acceptance to both partners in the room, the therapist formulates hypotheses for a theme that might be occurring in the couples dynamic. By having this third party witness and present in the room, listening, filtering, being curious offers a couple the richness of seeing their relationship from a new perspective. Often times this will result in a more empathetic partner, more acceptance, and a willingness to see the opposite view which is causing the conflict in the first place. A successful session will also highlight various characteristics, patterns and relational behaviors that also complicate the relationship and cause conflict.

Conflict is not a bad thing, according to Drs. Julia and John Gottman, relationship experts and researchers, conflict creates an opportunity for growth in the relationship and handled correctly with the right professional this conflict will result in a deeper connection between the couple. It’s the intelligent people who know to seek answers outside themselves, take the guidance from a professional and then decide what they will do with the information and advice given. Now, that’s smart.

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