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Marriage Counselling - Procedure, Cost, Side Effects And Success Rate

Last Updated: Aug 27, 2019

What is Marriage Counselling?

Marriage counselling is a kind of psychotherapy that helps resolve conflicts between couples and improves their relationship. It is often offered by family and marriage therapists to enable a couple to make decisions about rebuilding their relationship or going their own separate ways. It usually includes both partners, but sometimes one of the partners may choose to work with a therapist alone. The treatment plan depends on the situation. While our intentions towards our spouse are usually good, there are several influences, behaviours and stresses that can test even the strongest bonding. Even the happiest couples will tell you that marriage is not smooth sailing all the time.

The main issues that couples usually bring to therapy are high levels of conflicts and growing mutual distance. Major life changes and daily stresses can put pressure on the relationship too. No matter what the cause, it's best to tackle relationship issues sooner than later - just as you would do for any health ailment. Experts say that on an average, a couple waits for 6 years to get help. And that’s unfortunate because the sooner you seek counselling, the better are your chances of saving the marriage.

Every year, thousands of couples around the world turn to marriage counselling to work out their issues. One of the advantages of the therapy is that it can help to identify patterns within the relationship that lead to issues. Couples also learn how their actions and reactions affect the other person.

How does marriage counselling work?

Marriage counselling helps you to rebuild your relationships and make your life sound and happy. Marriage counselling is also called couple counselling which is done to resolve the problems between couples, either married or unmarried. Marriage counselling is mostly provided by the licenced therapists also known as marriage and family therapists. Different counsellors handle a situation in different ways, and your situation will determine how it is treated. Your counsellor might begin with a set of basic questions, along with the lines of "What brings you here?" While the question may seem simple, it is worth spending the time to prepare answers for questions like these.

The therapist will inquire about your history and expect both you and your partner to be honest, open and talkative. Depending on the situation, your counsellor may want to talk to you both separately and together. After the initial discussions, your therapist might give you feedback and recommend a plan for treatment. It is provided with a tool for better communication, negotiating the differences and even help to argue in a better way. But marriage counselling is often short term process and few sessions are required to solve the differences.

Who needs Couple therapy?

Couples who are facing marital issues and are looking to deal with them effectively can resort to counselling for help. It is done when a couple feels that their marriage is on the brink of a breakdown and they can do with some expert guidance at this critical juncture of their life. The objective perspective of a trained counselor has often been found to be extremely helpful in such cases.

What are the side effects of Couple therapy?

Marriage counselling has as much potential to yield negative results as much as positive ones. Things can go either way. It is possible that the couples carry their fights to the counsellor and may even yell and argue with each other during the sessions. The therapist, at such times, can act as the mediator and help the couple cope with the turmoil.


What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Time takes for a relationship to bounce back will depend entirely on the couple – it can take just a few days to even months for a couple to stabilize their marriage. If you tackle your issues early on, you might need just a couple of sessions to get through an issue. However, it may take some months or even years to work through it all. Often, with the guidance of an expert, couples gain new insights into their relationships and they start to take steps to build a better bond.

How much does it cost to see a marriage and family therapist in India?

The treatment cost can range anywhere between INR 2000 to INR 7000 per session.

What is the success rate of marriage counseling?

The average success rate for most couples approached for marriage counseling was about 50 per cent. Which includes factors like understanding each other's opinions, listening to each other etc.

Is marriage counselling effective?

Results vary from case to case. While some couples have solved their issues and saved their marriage, for some others, it made them realize that separation is the best solution to their discord. It’s worth nothing that a counselor's job is not necessarily to save a relationship. Sometimes it can also be about how to make a split amicably.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Often couples do not feel comfortable discussing their private lives with outsiders. They may prefer to talk to their family and friends and seek their advice to sort out their marital differences.

Key Highlights

Safety: High

Effectiveness: Medium

Timeliness: Medium

Relative Risk: Medium

Side Effects: Medium

Recovery Time: Medium

Price Range: RS. 2000 - Rs. 7000 per session


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Written ByDr. Milind Barhate MBBS,DPMPsychiatry
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