Couples who may be going through a bad time might consider counselling to exhaust all possible options to save their relationship. Most would be sceptical and not sure whether it would be worth the effort. Some might have heard from a friend that it was not at all a successful experience and might be less inclined to try it out.
It is only natural to be concerned regarding the effectiveness of counselling. In the past, success rates were quite low. As time progressed, counselling techniques improved and people had a better chance to learn useful skills such as listening to one another and to appreciate different opinions and views. With that said, there are also cases where people revert to their old tendencies and habits, damaging the relationship.
Research by the American Psychological Association shows that counselling techniques have improved, especially for high-stress couples in the military, parents of chronically ill children and infertile couples. Positive results were reported across people from different cultures.
Results tend to be less positive amongst certain types of relationships. In abusive relationships, both on the physical and emotional levels, counselling has a lesser impact. If the abuse is consistent throughout the counselling period, improvements would be difficult to note. In such cases, different therapy would be required, to improve one’s self control and discipline.
So how can one improve the chances of positive results from counselling?
More chances of success are likely if both partners have a willingness to make it work and learn new things. Counselling is an opportunity to acquire new skills and to become more aware of emotions which are at play. It is about learning your partner’s vulnerabilities and how to accommodate them.
Another important component in counselling is the willingness of both parties to view each other as part of the team rather than an adversary. This increases cooperation and the willingness to discuss vulnerabilities and build emotional connections. Empathy also is a key element. Having both partners being empathetic towards each other allows for the re-building of the relationship on more solid foundations.
Counselling may be a necessary process in saving a marriage. Willingness for positive change from both parties plays a crucial role. Many people approach counselling with a list of complaints about their partner. Although such complaints may indeed be founded, nothing would ever be really achieved if both partners or spouses are not willing to work towards tangible change.
Have you ever tried marriage counselling? Do you think it works?