Can Relationship Therapy Save Your Marriage?
Divorce Rates in the US
Did you know that as many as 9.5% of men and 12.1% of the women in the US are divorced? These statistics, collected by the US Census Bureau and published in The Washington Post in January 2015, indicate that divorce rates have declined from the peaks witnessed in the 1970s and 1980s. The data also revealed that Nevada was the state with the highest percentage of divorces, at 12.9% of men and 14.9% of women, while New Jersey had the lowest percentage of male divorces and North Dakota the lowest for women.
What Makes Marriages Work?
While the divorce rates have declined, we still need to understand why they are taking place. To begin with, it is important to understand that intimacy has many dimensions, including honesty, trust, bonds from common experiences, love, freedom to communicate, and to give and receive feedback, says a paper written by Susan Menahem and published in the IPG Institute for Personal Growth.
When to Seek Help?
Conflict is absolutely normal in human marriages. Apart from seeking help when you can no more solve issues among yourselves, relationship therapy is also beneficial for new couples seeking to make their relationship strong. Couples wait six to seven years on an average before seeking outside help, according to the Healthy Exchange newsletter published by Dartmouth College in 2010. Trigger points that serve as a sign that you should see a therapist include hampered communication, an extramarital affair, when you want the other person to change, when you are living separate lives and when you are staying together only for the sake of the children.
Kinds of Relationship Therapy
There are seven key types of relationship therapy that can be used to resolves issues between couples, according to a paper titled The Effectiveness of Family and Relationship Therapy: A Review of Literature published by the Psychotherapy and Counseling Federation of Australia. These are:
- Experiential Family Therapy – The therapist helps develop insight into the family relationships by encouraging talking about underlying feelings and communicating openly with each other. This therapy helps to develop strategies to improve the situation.
- Structural Family Therapy – This type of therapy is operates in three different areas, the family, the presenting problem and the process of change. Structural therapists actively strive for organizational changes in the dysfunctional family as their primary goal.
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy – This therapy aims to modify individual thoughts and actions by modifying conscious thought patterns. It employs a rigorous, scientific set of methods that is regularly and consistently scrutinized.
- Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) – This is a holistic intervention that takes into account a wider system in which individual and family are involved, such as educational/vocational, peer and wide social groups, and neighborhoods.
- Family Problem Solving – This is an eight step approach that helps the client to understand the role of each individual in the family.
- Solution Focused Therapy – This is a solution focused method that inludes problem identification and motivation; the miracle question; possibility/hope; scaling/goal formation; exceptions and coping; confidence/strengths; and feedback.
- Narrative Therapy – This aims to increase people’s awareness of the dominant, helpful or unhelpful stories that are influencing their lives.
How Does Marriage Counseling Help?
According to an article in The Guardian, through Marriage/relationship counseling, you:
- Learn to communicate better
- Learn about common grounds of interest and how to use them to resolve conflicts
- Learn how to state your needs clearly and openly within your relationship
- Learn how to argue in a healthier manner
- Learn how to negotiate for change within your relationship
In short, seeking professional help can save your marriage and help you form a healthy bond for a bright future.