Let’s make it happen! Let’s have there be fewer divorces in 2014 than there were in 2013. We all became therapists because we wanted to make the world a better place, so let’s all make this our New Year’s Resolutions as therapists. Even if you’re not a couples counselor, you can still make this a goal for the new year. I’m going to explain how:
Couples counselor: We can all sharpen our skills. One thing I do is I subscribe to the Couple’s Institute newsletter. They often have great free blog posts and videos. And even though I literally wrote the book on couples counseling, I still read up on the subject all the time and go to as many training seminars as possible. Improving our success rate and being the most amazing therapist possible is the first step in decreasing the divorce rate.
Individual therapist: Even if you never work with couples, the odds are high that your client is in a relationship or wants to be in one. A lot of the skills that couples counselors teach couples can also be taught to the individual to improve their relationship. Individual counseling with a focus on the relationship is actually very effective. I should know, I do this all the time with my individual clients. If you’re wondering how to do individual therapy with a focus on relationship repair, probably the best thing to do is to actually get some couples counseling training and simply apply what you learn to the individual.
Child therapist: It is my opinion that if a child is in therapy, their parents should also be in therapy. We know from the research that parents of special needs children are much more likely to divorce. You also know from your professional experience how much divorce hurts children. Although as a child therapist there may not be much you can do as far as saving the parent’s marriage, why not gently encourage them to see a couples counselor? A lot of you work at an agency or group practice. If that’s the case, why not set it up so that while you are seeing the couple’s child, they can be seeing their own couples counselor down the hall? That way there is no inconvenience and gives them something to do instead of just reading the same magazine again and again in the waiting room.
And don’t get me wrong, I believe that there is a time and place for everything, including divorce. That being said, I do feel that most divorces can and should be prevented. We know from the research that most people have a “type” that they tend to fall in love for over and over again. This “type”, although very attractive at first, may also cause conflicts for them later. I feel it’s better for people to resolve their differences rather than date someone new and just eventually have the same problems with them. Let’s try to make this a better year for these couples.