Does your marriage need therapy? Think about it. It's a tough question that Tara Parker Pope asked her readers in yesterday's New York Times. She thinks most people, would answer no but the more truthful answer would probably be yes. I would have to agree with that.
She goes on to say that in most marriages, one or both partners resist the idea of counseling. Only 19 percent of currently married couples have taken part in marriage counseling. And, a recent study of divorcing couples, found that nearly two-thirds never sought counseling before deciding to end the relationship. That surprised me. Why would you throw in the towel before making a concerted effort to make your marriage work? Of course, if there's abuse involved just get out and get out fast.
“It seems like we’re even more resistant to thinking about getting help for our relationship than we are for depression or anxiety,” said Brian D. Doss, an assistant psychology professor at the University of Miami. Marriage counseling does not always work, of course — perhaps because it is so often delayed past the point of no return. One recent study of two types of therapy found that only about half the couples reported long-lasting improvements in their marriages.
Tara goes on to report that researchers have begun looking for ways (some of them online) to reach couples before a marriage goes off the rails. “Not surprisingly, some therapists are creating online self-help programs to reach couples before serious problems set in. Dr. Doss and Andrew Christensen, a psychology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, are recruiting couples at www.OurRelationship.com to study such a program.
The hope is that an online program could reach couples sooner, and also offer booster sessions to improve results. Even so, Dr. Christensen notes that the disadvantage of online therapy is that it won’t give couples a third party to referee their discussion. Yes, that could be dangerous couldn't it? We all need at referee at times.
Researchers at Brigham Young University offer an extensive online marital assessment, called Relate, for couples and individuals. The detailed questionnaire, at www.relate-institute.org, takes about 35 minutes to complete and generates a lengthy report with color-coded graphs depicting a couple’s communication and conflict style, how much effort each partner puts into the relationship, and other things. The fee is $20 to $40.”
I don't have to tell you that marriage is tough and requires constant work. For more information read Tara's article in its entirety - just click here.