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Does Therapy Help?

As for couples therapy, Liddle et al. (2002) report that the transition from “distressed” to “non-distressed” after treatment occurs for 35% (Jacobson et al., 1984) to 41% (Shaddish et al., 1993) of couples. In other words, they get better, but generally only a third or so are in the “normal and happy with their relationship” range. The issue for studies of the effectiveness of therapy is that when married couples in treatment are compared to married couples on a wait-list, the couples on the wait-list decline into the “very distressed” 62% improvedrange while they wait for therapy. Thus, the treatment really has only to halt the decline in order to yield significant results, and a statistically significant result may not mean much (see Gollan and Jacobson’s chapter in Liddle et al. 2002). However, Johnson & Greenberg (1994), however, using the Emotion Focused Therapy they developed, found much better results. Cloutier et al. (2002) found 62% of couples were improved (less distressed) when they finished six to ten sessions of Emotion Focused Therapy. However, 77% were improved two years later, meaning they were in the “normal and happy with their relationship” range) at the end of six to ten sessions of Emotion Focused Therapy, while 64% were recovered at the two year followup. Thus, with specific couples therapy treatments shown to work, about three-fourths get better, and two-thirds are “healed” after only six to ten sessions of work.

What's the Difference Between Couples and Individual Therapy?
Posted on November 21, 2010 by Richard Niolon PhD