Marriage Counselling Used by Fewer than 1 in 4 Couples

December 06, 2014  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

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A survey of 2,000 people revealed that less than 25% of couples going through relationship difficulties actively sought help from professionals, despite almost 40% believing that counselling would be beneficial. Those who attended counselling sessions did so for an average of four months, and 12% said that it helped with the problems in their marriage.

The statistics also demonstrated that women are more likely to seek help to avoid separation than men. 45% of female respondents said they had faith in the benefits of counselling compared with 28% of men. However, both men and women were more likely to confide in a friend rather than seek professional help, and 35-40% said they kept their worries completely to themselves.

The recent reforms in Family Law have brought mediation to the fore with the aim of encouraging couples to seek practical support from mediation-trained solicitors and avoid a confrontational court process. While mediation is not itself a form of counselling it can provide a safe and productive space for dispute resolution and works well in conjunction with counselling. If counselling does not have a positive result, out-of-court processes such as arbitration and collaborative family law provide a less combative approach to dispute resolution and offer a similarly supportive ad objective atmosphere as counselling.

Despite the low rates of couples seeking counselling, 75% of people surveyed thought that couples give up on relationships too quickly and that they should strive to resolve issues for an average of 11 months before deciding on separation. The most common factor for the breakdown of marriage in the survey was lack of communication, which was cited by 40% of respondents. Money worries and taking each other for granted were other frequent issues brought up in the report.

Having an objective perspective on relationship problems can be enormously helpful for couples going through difficulties. Many people may avoid professional marriage counselling because seeking help feels like they have failed in their relationship, but even if the process does not save a marriage, it is likely to lay the groundwork for a more amicable separation. Organisations like Relate and Resolution offer support for couples in trouble and family mediation can often be a logical next step. Mediation allows couples to continue to work through their differences in a respectful and positive environment, and takes into account the individual needs of each party and any children involved.


Frances Lindsay & Co offers mediation, arbitration, and collaborative family law as less combative alternatives to court divorce. Call 01628 634667 to speak to one of our family lawyers and work out which method is right for your situation.

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