Couples counseling is a significant investment of time, money and emotional energy. What’s more, allowing an outsider into your intimate relationship is a vulnerable step. So of course you want to know whether it will be worth all the effort before you take the leap! Answering that question honestly, though, demands something other than a simple yes or no (ugh…I know!). Success or failure in couples therapy depends on multiple factors. Your level of motivation for change is the big factor as well as your degree of commitment to consistent attendance in therapy; further, the quality of connection between you and your therapist and your response to the specific approach employed by your therapist is critical to your success in couples counseling!
Here are 3 more surprising–and encouraging–statistics regarding couples therapy:
1. A whopping 70% of couples are positively impacted by couples counseling! This is impressive data even for the non-research oriented among us. What’s more, couples who engage in evidenced-based couples therapy (more on that in next week’s post) are still doing well five years after therapy ended–meaning marital therapy can have a lasting, positive impact on a couple’s relationship.
2. Marriage therapy can be faster than individual therapy. The relationship between couples distress and one partner’s individual problem, such as anxiety or depression, has long been established. Couples therapy is shown to alleviate the distress in the relationship faster than if one partner is receiving individual therapy. This can save time and money! A disclaimer: individual therapy is a wonderful, effective tool. However, it does not always solve relational distress. Couples therapy can help on both the individual and relationship level.
3. Timing isn’t everything, but it’s pretty darn important. Research tells us many people end their relationship within the first 7 years; also, many couples do not seek couples therapy until 6 years into the relationship. This delay translates into long, deep relational wounds that take time to address and heal–like going to the doctor years after your break your leg. Couples who seek professional help earlier in the relationship typically heal faster. But if you have waited, don’t let this discourage you! In my experience, sometimes it takes being “uncomfortable” for a while before partners are motivated to make change. And motivation, as we know, is critical to success in couples therapy.
Maybe you’ve decided you’re ready to work with a professional towards a relationship that feels meaningful and good to you and your partner. If so, how do you find the right therapist for you? Great question–that is the topic of next week’s post.