Thursday, October 09, 2008

To Save Your Marriage, Look for the "Marriage Friendly" Label

A study by Central Florida sociologist James Wright found that getting marital counseling from the average marriage counselor raised the chances for divorce by two or three times. What they have become, Wright says, is divorce counselors.

In response, marriage counselors who want to actually save marriages have created the National Registry of Marriage Friendly Therapists. Created by Bill Doherty (U. of Minnesota) and Kathleen Wenger (Pepperdine), the registry sorts out a problem that most people would never suspect "marriage counselors" to have -- most are therapeutically neutral on the institution of marriage.


Anonymous said...

I wonder, is this trend a result of once marriage friendly therapists becoming jaded by the clients they deal with, or is it the result of anti-marriage sociology students that saw few other job prospects (similar to an atheist student of religion becoming a preacher, but without the requirement of declaring your allegiances)?

Gruntled said...

I think therapy training of all kinds teaches neutrality about whether one social institution is better than another. For marriage therapists, that means the individual client, not the marriage, is the subject they are trying to adjust.

JMott said...

Devils advocate statement:

Wouldn't those seeking marriage counseling (most of the time) have pre-existing issues, thus already be at a higher risk for divorce?

I obviously haven't read the complete study, so I don't know how they dealt with this bias. Did they following couples who were being counseled before and after marriage?

Anonymous said...

Also interesting would be following those who were considering counseling to see how those that chose "anti-marriage" therapists compared to the group that opted for no counseling at all.

Gruntled said...

Those who got the usual kind of marriage counseling when unhappy divorced at higher rates than those who did not.