Relationship Counseling: Can It Really Work?
Relationship counseling, couples counseling, and/or marriage counseling are pretty common terms that seem to come up whenever people are talking about potential deal-breaking differences or conflicts between themselves and their partner or spouse. Sometimes, this form of counseling can also be used to help two family members or co-workers to work out their differences—but for the most part, the term ‘relationship counseling’ tends to be used interchangeably with ‘couples counseling’.
But here’s the big question… does it really work?
According to a quote by William Doherty (pHD, LCSW: source), it would seem that it certainly can—and usually does. Here’s what he said in a quote that was shared on the subject on webmd.com.
“Studies show that, in the hands of a good counselor, marriage counseling is successful 70- 80% of the time…”
Of course, the biggest goal (and challenge) with relationship counseling as a whole is to get both people involved to see the problems from a third-party perspective. People are often so caught up in how many problems the ‘other’ person is causing that they fail to look at themselves or the context—and therein lies the brunt of most relationship problems.
Couples counseling (or really any other type of relationship counseling) seeks to correct this by changing the perceptions of those involved. If both individuals can figure out what’s going wrong and why the problems are happening, then the possibility exists that they can change their behavior enough to begin the rebuilding process.
Broken trust, hurt feelings, bitterness, resentment, and full-fledged aggression can all play a part in the destruction of a relationship—but these things are often started in small, subtle ways. The biggest problems usually end up being simple problems that have been multiplied or repeated over and over again. And sometimes, simple fixes in behavior and attitude can make all the difference in the world.
Of course, relationships are complicated—which is why relationship counseling is sometimes the best choice when people just can’t seem to get along as well as they would like. It sometimes takes an outside perspective to really fit the pieces together, and that’s where a professional, experienced counselor can truly work wonders.