Day 10: Bad Couples Therapy

why most marriage counseling fails

Dr. William Doherty wrote, “the only form of therapy that received low ratings in a famous national survey of therapy clients, published in 1996 by Consumer Reports, was couples therapy” (see Bad Couples Therapy in Psychotherapy Networker).

the right starting point

He proposed that this problem exists because psychologists, social workers, professional counselors, and psychiatrists have never had even one course in how to conduct marital therapy.

His Bottom Line on Bad Couples Therapy:

Most therapists don’t know what they’re doing and need training.

I was one of the Blessed Ones, I guess. I completed a full semester (elective) course in marital therapy while I was in graduate school. And I did a couple’s Case Study as part of my Professional Qualifying Exam prior to my pre-doctoral internship.

And when I decided to specialize in couples counseling, I read everything I could find about how to do marital therapy well. I took post-graduate courses and even completed a 4-day externship in Houston, Texas.

But as I began to practice, I realized all my training had left out the Key Principles.

Unfortunately, marriage counseling often fails
– simply because it is founded upon the wrong premises.

Here are a few examples …

  • Marriage is a 50-50 partnership.
  • Romance dies a natural, healthy death.
  • There are no God-given gender differences.
  • Men need to learn to express themselves like women do.
  • And we don’t talk about God or spiritual warfare. That’s for preachers.

And here’s my take …

  • Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman before God.
  • God is the Original Romantic, and Romance is what keeps us going.
  • We have many God-given gender differences to be acknowledged and respected.
  • Men do not need to become like women in order to have a happy, healthy marriage.
  • Relationships are – first and foremost – spiritual endeavors. Ignore that, and you lose.

And that’s exactly why I spend so my time talking with you about your spirituality. Without God, you’re fighting a tougher battle than you need to fight. Here’s a short article that you might find helpful: Inside, Outside, Upside Down.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  • How do you see the current issues you have in your relationship?
  • What approaches have you already tried to improve things?
  • Have you asked God for His perspective?
  • What did He say?