Counseling is described by Kobeisy as the professional form of guidance that is aimed at addressing concerns as well as aid individuals in improving their attitude, coping skills as well as behavior (Kobeisy 1).Counseling can help people, families as well as groups in achieving optimal growth and development for the stages of life in which they go through. Counseling as a profession has many specialties like marriage, grief, and pastoral as well as career. It is worth noting that apart from pastoral counseling, the field of counseling is meant to be a free.This is to imply that the counselor should be open minded while approaching their clients with an attitude that is non-judgmental. They are also not allowed to impose or even direct their clients. The counseling process should therefore help the clients to clearly see their choices, appropriately set their objectives while making the necessary changes in order to realize their goals. In order to practice as a professional counselor, a master degree in counseling is the bare minimum that must be attained by the practitioner (Kobeisy 1). As a consequence of increasing level of diversity in the U.S. And the rest of the world, a multicultural perspective has been added as a necessary component in all forms of counseling. This implies that there is specialization in counseling. In order to possess the necessary knowledge and competency as a counselor, it is necessary to possess three different skills. The counselor must have the skill, knowledge and awareness of self, client as well as counseling approaches.
In regard to self, the counselor should have the ability to recognize their sources of information, the possible biases as well as faulty assumptions regarding others as well as understand their strengths and limitations. In regard to the client, the counselor should be aware of the opinion of the client in a manner that is non-judgmental. The counselor must also support the legitimate goals of the clients while respecting them. The 2010-11 Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that currently, there are 27,300 marriage and family counselors in practice with a projected increase to be 31,300 which denote a 14% increase in the number of professional marriage and family counselors in the United States (2).
Couples therapy / counseling is an important modality for helping couples who are undergoing difficulties in their relationship. The feelings include repetitive arguments, emptiness, feeling of distance, anger, dissatisfaction, resentment as well as lack of affection as well as physical relationship.
The Divorce rate in America
The rate of divorce in America is alarming. According to Pew Research Centers, the last two decades has seen several divorce cases being executed in America (Taylor, Funk, Clark 43). Cohn further indicated that the national divorce rate is currently higher than it was a century ago but with a slight decline in the past two decades (2). Figures from the National Center for Health Statistics indicate that there were 3.5 divorcees per 1,000 individuals as compared with just 4 divorcees per 1,000 individuals in 2000. This could be a testimony to the effectiveness of marriage and family counseling initiatives in the last couple of decades.
Yet again, the report by the Taylor, Funk, Clark indicated that most Americans (58%) believe that divorcing is better that staying in an unhappy marriage. A higher figure (67%) believe that in a marriage that parents are equally unhappy, the children are in a better situation if their parents divorce each other. About 19% believed that children are in a better situation if the parents continue staying together while 9% believed that it depends on the nature of the situation (44).
The effectiveness of family and marriage counseling
Family and marriage counseling which is usually called couple's counseling has been indicated to be effective in saving several families from the dreadful effects of divorce.
Several studies have been dedicated to the evaluation of the effectiveness of systematic couple therapy. Carr indicated that in a review of 20 meta-analysis of family and couple therapy trials for a wide range of mental health problems, other authors such as Shadish and Baldwin (564) concluded that the average period of treated cases was immediately after therapy and a follow up of six up to twelve months and the rate was more that 71% of the families that were in the control group (Carr 46).
Distress in relationship
Carr indicated that relationship distress, conflict as well as dissatisfaction are very common in the contemporary Western Industrialized societies in which 40-50% of marriages have been noted to end up in divorce (47).It has been indicated that couple centered therapy effectively alleviates the existing relationship distress. The work of Cardwell estimated that the employment of free and effective couple therapy would have a significant effect on the cost legal as well as healthcare costs that arise from divorce as well as its related health problems (393).
Types of therapies and their effectiveness
Emotionally centered couples therapy
This therapy is based on the premise that the relationship distress as well as its related conflict are as a result of an insecure bond of attachment (Johnson 8).Partners have been indicated to be very anxious that the needs of their attachment are never met in a given relationship. The anxiety then leads to an acute conflict within the relationship. The main aim of the emotionally focused couple therapy is to assist the partners in understanding this and then effectively develop ways and means of possibly meeting the attachment needs of each partner. The best predictors of the success of this type of therapy is strength the couple's therapeutic alliance as well as the belief of the female partner that her male companion still cares a great deal about her.
Behavioral couple therapy
This type of therapy is based on the premise that the cause of distress as well as conflict within a given relationship is the unfair bargain within the relationship. When partners fail to negotiate in order to arrive at a fair exchange of responses that are pleasing, a sense of injustice is developed which subsequently leads to an acute conflict within the relationship. The main aim of this form of therapy is assist the partners to develop problem solving skills as well as communication in their behavioral exchange procedures in an effort of making their relationship a fairly negotiated one. This basis model has of late been update and modified to include cognitive components to be used in assisting the couples in challenging the destructive beliefs as well as expectations that may cause distress within the relationship and to effectively replace them with alternatives which are more benign (Epsein and Baucom 6)
The importance of Couple therapy in Public Health
It has been noted that couples resort to therapy as a result of relationship concern like emotional disengagement, jealousy, communication difficulties, power struggle, conflicts, extrarelational involvements, sexual dissatisfaction as well as violence. The need for developing appropriate interventions are based on the various negative outcomes that have been observed in adults and children alike. The affected partners are most likely to be experience depression, anxiety as well as a high rate of suicidality. Substance abuse, chronic medical conditions, high blood pressure as well as various forms of health-risk behaviors that leave them exposed to sexually transmitted diseases. Children in trouble families are also likely to experience anxiety, conduct issues, depression as well as impaired physical health.
According to Moos counseling is the chance to talk in private with someone who will really listen and try to understand you and who will not judge you or tell you what to do. It can be a great relief to talk to someone outside your situation who will not be hurt or upset by what you say. Sometimes the people closest to you may not understand, or you may feel that you don't want to burden them with your worries. Or they may be part of the problem. Counseling can also at times be a painful process as thoughts and feelings surface that may have been kept hidden for some time.
Significance of counseling
Moos continue to point out that there are a number of different theories about how counseling works. However all types of counseling have the same basic elements. These include; Privacy and confidentiality, talking to someone who will really listen, talking to someone who is not part of the problem, getting another perspective on your life and problems. There is a wide choice of different types of counseling but there is no one 'best' forms of counseling, so it is worth looking around to find what suits you. Evidence suggests that all types of counseling are effective, so the type of counseling you choose may be less important than the relationship you have with your counselor. Remember, it is always your choice whether to stay with a particular counselor - if you are not happy you can leave. A good counselor will be willing to help you to find more suitable counseling if you…