The concept of couple counseling is a global phenomenon. Couple counseling refers to offering professional counseling and guidance to a couple who are in conflict due to some personal reasons. The couple counselor is alternatively known as a marriage therapist, marriage counselor or a couple therapists. So these terms are used interchangeably though there are subtle differences between them.
Couple counseling is an extensive field, and it encompasses many aspects of the relationship. Marriage counseling is just a part of it. The couple counseling is a much deeper approach as it analyzes the past behavior of couples apart from examining the present behavior. But, marriage counseling focuses on the current problems of marriage. Yet, the goal of both these treatments is the same.
It is natural for all human being to go through certain emotional upheaval in life and it especially becomes serious when two different natured individuals live together. When couples cannot solve their problems through discussion at home, they go to a couple counselors.
A counselor evaluates a relationship between couples through conducting various sessions and then formulates strategies to resolve them and this entire process is called psychotherapy.
The couple counselor is professionally trained in different forms of counseling- including individual, couples, and family counseling. Specialized and active training professionals in this field are those who have obtained their license as a qualified licensed marriage and family therapists (MFTs).
Some other professionals are those who have completed a special clinical training from institutes and start practicing in this field. So, basically a couple counselors help couples to repair their relationships. For example an agency provides Couples counseling in San Antonio TX will work in these steps-
- Diagnosing the problem and analyzing the different psychological issues which give birth to the problems
- Design a treatment plan
- Analyze the diverse aspects of the relationship problem which includes the analysis of past factors
- Create a new positive relationship experience for couples
The couple session is usually as long as between 45 to 90 minutes.
Couples counseling in the USA
In the United States, there are organizations like the American Psychological Association, the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, the National Association of Social Workers, who assist couples to solve their issues.
According to data released by the authentic Barna group, most of the people in the United States are now open to counseling. It indicates these figures-
- About 42 percent of American people have gone to visit a counselor in their lifetime. 13 percent of them are undergoing treatment and 28 percent of them reportedly have undergone treatment in the past. A 36 percent of the population says they are open to it. Only 23 percent say they will never go to a counselor.
- It shows new generation are more willing to go to counseling compared to the older generation and the boomers who were born in the baby boom period between 1947 to 1961.
The challenge to find the Right Counselor
- People look for two things affordability and experience when they choose a counselor. Around 39 percent of the patient has been referred by their doctors and only 19 percent are recommended by their family and friends. The amount of affordability is 46 percent and people look for it the highest, while 42 percent of people look for experience as well. Those who are in a better-earning condition prefer experience while those with less earning prefers affordability.
- Research says a doctor’s recommendation is the strongest reason for American people to go for counseling. Whether it is marriage counseling or related counseling.
The success rate
Prior to the 80s decade, the success rate of couple counseling was less. So the new trend came up called the Emotionally Focused Theory which has recorded a higher success rate among couples. According to the American Psychological Association, this has been the trend going on for 25 years now.
It is a short-term therapy for couples to promote their relationship and create a great bonding between them. In this process the therapist take measures to bring more trust into the relationship thus helps to secure bond between the couples. Those who are experiencing betrayal or loss of trust, anger, and fear in their relationship can be benefitted from it.
John Gottman, an American psychological researcher, and clinician have identified some critical behavioral talks and ask couples to avoid them if they expect to stay happy forever. He in his research conducted during the period of 1999 and 2015 has urged couples to avoid sarcastic behavior and disrespectful talk towards each other and encouraged developing friendship and romance. However, these are proved to be not so workable compared to emotionally focused theory for a long-lasting relationship.
How Counseling Works
The main objective of a therapy is to show couples the ways to solve their problems. Studies also show that newly married couples are often found in agreement with each other compared to a couple who are married for several years.
- During the first few sessions, the therapist will interview the couples together and separately if necessary. Post this; the therapist will formulate a plan to address the differences.
- Usually, the counseling lasts for 12 sessions though there can be an exception sometimes depending on the nature of the couple.
- The effect of counseling can be seen after 4 or 5 sessions and by then usually, the couples feel they are communicating in a better manner with each other. During this stage, every small change is taken into notice by the counselor.
The willingness to learn about each other is what encouraged at this stage. The changes will be reflected in day to day life of couples. A peaceful and tolerant environment will be slowly started growing.
The effectiveness of couple counseling is a matter of debate. Some of the experts say it does not work in situations where there has been the incidence of domestic violence. In those situations, it makes the situation worse if they participate in the counseling. So the remedy lies in individual counseling which will make both the partners ready to be counseled as a couple.
Individual counseling helps partners to keep themselves separate from each other for a brief period. This helps a partner to deal with his or her own behavior and accept responsibility for it. Keeping themselves separate from each other will help to regain their lost confidence and self-esteem.
During this period, if any of the partners have drug problems or alcohol issues then these things will also be dealt with by the counselor. In this situation, the counselor requires to understand the diverse aspects of abuse.
According to a study conducted by William Doherty, a professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota, if the counselor is an expert and efficient there are higher chances of success in marriage counseling.
Hypnotherapy for anxiety
Many researches support the effectiveness of hypnotherapy to get rid of stress, fear, and anxiety in people. It can also be applied to treat relationship problems among couples. It teaches the couples how to relieve stress and fear. It digs out past issues which are creating conflict in a relationship, and the therapist try solving such issues.
When is the right time to go to a Counselor?
Mostly married people take relationships for granted. People fail to see their own faults though they quickly notice faults in others. So when people fail to resolve their issues on their own, a third party intervene is necessary, in other words, the help of a professional couples counseling service like us is imminent who is located in San Antonio TX.
The common complaint which is often brought to notice is lack of communication, and a serious level of conflict. According to Doherty, research claims that ‘growing difference’ is the most common causes of divorce. It refers to a conflict that is slowly growing and destroying your marriage and a couple cannot just get rid of it. Lifestyle changes and a chronic stress are also hugely responsible to this development.
Research says couples usually wait for an average of 6 years after developing a conflict to go to a counselor and it gets too late by that time. This is a blunder. The counselors always recommend treating problems in the nip of the bud before it becomes big and go out of control.
The challenge to find the Right Counselor
The counselor is expected to be well experienced and should have special knowledge in marriage counseling. He should be somebody who has devoted a minimum of 30 percent practice in giving therapy for relationship issues.Experienced counselors have seen a lot of such cases and it is likely that they use their experience to help couples who come for fresh counseling.
The professional should have done advance certification in couple therapy. The Licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) are the right counselor to seek advice.
The counselor is expected to be compassionate and understanding nature with whom the couples can feel safe and friendly. He takes control of the situation and does not let the over pouring of arguments among couples or any kind of verbal abuse.
Insurance and couple counseling
Usually, it is something not covered by the insurance. Some exception may be there when one of the partners is being treated for depression related problems.
Experts recommend not giving up if any of the partners refused to go for counseling. A change of mind always happens though it takes time. If all means fail, then therapy is the best option to know how to change the minds of your partner.
Conflicting marriage relationships are one of the most widely reported mental health problems in the United States.
The way to measure the effectiveness
Research talks about the first sign of effectiveness and that is the reduction of the complaints. It should be continued for at least the next 2 years and in the entire process, the post-treatment score is compared to pre-treatment scores.
Who are the failure group in couple counseling
Those who have an abusive relationship are the failure group of couples. According to experts, such couple should not attempt to seek professional guidance till the abusive behavior stops.
Couple therapy as a profession
It is profitable to pursue a profession in this field. Statistics show the various rates of employment under various industries in this field. The professionals can seek employment under different industries including the individual and family services, offices of other health practitioners, outpatient care centers, residential care facilities, and the state government departments excluding the schools and hospitals etc.
As per statistics released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), presently around 30000 couple therapists are working in the country under the license of marriage and family therapists.
However, this data does not take into account the section of social workers and psychologists who are also serving the affected couples. Taking them account will increase the total number of couple counselors in the country today.
The average salary of couple counselor is $54,090 per annum. It is reported that professionals couple therapist working under the state and local government agencies get higher salaries compared to those working under the Outpatient health care centers and individual/family service agencies.
The couple counselors in us work either independently or under different state government bodies. A large portion of professionals teach in the universities or involve in any research apart from seeing their clients.
Commonly, they are found working as supervisors to couples or as a consultant to various such cases. Some of them also provide online therapy or conduct speaking engagements in various places.
As Americans are recognizing the benefits of couple counseling, the job prospects in this field are bright. It is predicted that the job demand will increase in the coming years.
The prediction is that of 14 growths in the rate of jobs in the coming years till 2024. A factor which will contribute to this is that a considerable number of people in the USA have got insurance cover in counseling.
The counseling profession in America is more than 100 years old and it is well established. As technology has progressed a lot, new ideas and views will be incorporated into this field. It will result in the development of new practices in this field and will benefit the humankind.
The hourly fee of a marriage counselor lies somewhere between $75 and $150 in the USA. Out of the usual 12 sessions, the first couple of sessions will be devoted to understanding the relationship problems. Most often the therapist suggests extra sessions to evaluate the couple’s behavior to know what they have learned from the sessions. So, this adds to the total expense of hiring couple counselors.
For all couples, this is an important thing to understand that marriage counseling is always affordable than divorce. If pursued properly it can prevent the incidence of divorce.
Divorce is frustrating and it is better to try out couple counseling. If compared with the ugly consequence of marriage, a couple counseling gives you a better advantage. So, adopt couple therapy, lead a happy life forever!
The 2016 statistics claims a positive development that now young Americans prefer to marry a later age in life and therefore the number of divorces is getting decreased in the country.