Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Cost of Marriage Counseling

A recent blog posted my Mort Fertel (the Marriage Counseling Blog) addressed the real possibility that for some the cost of marriage counseling is prohibitive. He then gave some suggestions for ways a couple might reduce some of the burden.

He suggested:

Check with Your Health Insurance Company

Investigate your company’s Employee Assistance Program

Work with a Mental Health Agency to help interpret your insurance policy

Re-Evaluate Your Budget (and Priorities)

Inquire About Resources through your doctor, try to negotiate a payment plan…

Self-Help Resources

I would add, talk to someone where you worship.  Counseling can be very expensive and can last an extended period of time.  Depending on whose statistics you choose to believe much marriage counseling is ineffective.  What follows is my cynical, biased assessment of marriage counseling.

It will be most effective if:

·       You are both committed Christians and have a covenant marriage.  This means there is no exit strategy; you are “lifers”, for better or for worse.

·       You have been married less than ten years. 
      You are both willing to come to counseling.

·       You both accept and acknowledge that you each need to change and that you are coming to learn how you can be a better husband or wife NOT coming to change your partner.

·       You accept the premise that the purpose of marriage is to glorify God.

·       You seek a Biblical or Nouthetic counselor, i.e. one who truly uses Scripture in an attempt to bring healing and change.

·       You seek a counselor who specializes in marriage counseling.

Certainly there are secular counselors who have had a successful track record.  Obviously I am suggesting that the fewer of the above criteria that you as a couple meet the more difficult it will be to have satisfying, long-term results.

 I am fortunate that I work for a church.  I am able to provide counseling for free.  My biggest concern is that my counseling may be worth what I am charging.  There is often a gap between the aspirations of any counselor and his/her ability to deliver.  That is particularly true when as a counselor you not only want to serve the couple but God as well.


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