The Unknown in Marriage Counseling

There are three conditions in particular which go a long way toward ensuring the success of marriage counseling. If they could be guaranteed in all cases, the effectiveness of counselors would be very greatly increased. First, marriage problems should be brought for counseling as early as possible. Second, "both husband and wife should co-operate fully in the counseling process, and third, the couple should be willing to continue with counseling for a reasonable length of time.

Counseling at its best is not merely a matter of solving problems. It is a process in which growth of the personality and of the relationship aims to avoid the recurrence of that type of problem ever again.

We would fail to present an over-all picture if we did not emphasize also the limitation concerning our actual knowledge of the value of these or other elements. What actually happens either during or after the attempt is made to help persons troubled with problems of personal or family adjustment is as yet primarily a matter of hypothesis.

There is little scientific information available concerning what effect a series of interviews with an analyst, a psychiatrist, a clinical psychologist, a social worker or a marriage counselor actually has on the adjustment of a disturbed individual or a distorted situation. A cultish apathy will furnish little eventual protection from the necessity of proving through scientifically acceptable methods that our hypotheses concerning how people are helped can be subjected to verification. National organizations of clinicians from all the professions involved in therapy have a primary responsibility for investigating not only in what proportion of cases the results are helpful but also the how and the why of their procedures.

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