The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists reports an overall success rate of 98%. The success of couples therapy and other factors contribute to a decline in the divorce rate in the United States. There's a good reason why most marriage counseling doesn't work, because couples therapy may be the most difficult form of therapy and most therapists aren't good at it, according to an article by William Doherty in the professional journal Psychotherapy Networker. Surveys indicate that about eighty percent of therapists in private practice perform couples therapy.
Where they got their training is a mystery because most therapists practicing today never took a course of couples therapy and never did their internship under the supervision of someone who mastered the art. From a consumer's point of view, undergoing couples therapy is like having a doctor who skipped orthopedics in medical school cut off his broken leg, Doherty said. According to the New York Times, two years after finishing marriage counseling, twenty-five percent of couples are worse off than they were when they started, and after four years, thirty-eight percent are divorced. These grim statistics aren't actually set in stone if the couple finds an experienced therapist with an effective approach.
Some approaches, such as emotionally focused therapy, claim a success rate of up to seventy-five percent. Marriage counseling statistics aside, you can't go in with the expectation that a perfect marriage will come out. According to some research, about a quarter of couples receiving marriage counseling report that their relationship worsens two years after ending therapy, and up to 38 percent of couples receiving marriage counseling divorce within four years of completing therapy. If you think your odds of success in marriage counseling are low, or if money is tight, there are many marriage counseling alternatives that could give you a better investment for your money.
Marriage counseling statistics show, however, that working with a licensed family and marriage therapist is almost always cheaper than seeing an individual therapist. If you or your wife don't want to do marriage counseling, or if you get an inexperienced or untrained counselor, the chances of recovery from marriage are greatly diminished. The most important thing here is that marriage counseling DOES NOT WORK when only one spouse wants to save the marriage. Sadly, that statistic can make people feel like their marriage is halfway through even before it starts, and unfortunately, that statistic may not be true for modern marriages.
For example, many men have told me that their counselors ended up giving them the same advice they had already learned in Manly Marriage Revival.