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With one in two American marriages ending in divorce, many people seek advice on divorce, which is something that is greatly needed. The emotional hardships can be further complicated when children are involved and custody and division of assets must be decided. Though the divorce rate is high, every year hundreds of thousands of couples go into counseling in efforts to get advice on divorce prevention to see if their troubled relationship can be salvaged. But are marital therapies able to give appropriate advice on divorce prevention, or is bad advice and inadequate skills doing more harm than good?
According to studies, researchers say that two years after ending counseling 25 percent of couples are worse off than they were when they started, and after four years, up to 38 percent are divorced. Based on these figures, marital counseling may be doing nothing more than prolonging the inevitable. Other experts believe there are varying factors that will determine how successful the advice on divorce prevention will be, including the therapist's skills, type of treatment sought and how long couples wait before getting help.
Experts lay some of the blame of failed advice on divorce prevention to therapists unable to get to the root of couples' conflicts and find resolution. As a result, the couples will continue to talk without any finality in sight or the therapist gives up on the couple, instead pushing the relationship closer to divorce. On average, couples wait six years of being unhappy before going in for professional advice on divorce prevention, according to Dr. John Gottman, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Washington and executive director of the Relationship Research Institute in Seattle.
An experimental approach called integrative behavioral couples therapy has shown promise in advice on divorce prevention. A study reported in November 2004 to the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy, the strategy has significantly improved 67 percent of high risk divorce couples' relationships for two years. Some experts believe successful advice on divorce prevention can be found in marriage education courses – practical workshops teaching couples to get along instead of talking about problems to a third party.
How effective the programs are at advice on divorce prevention is still unclear, but marriage education programs are attracting more couples that have not been helped by couples therapy and want to try another approach before deciding to divorce. Some studies show that couples that take marriage education classes have a lower divorce rate than couples that do not, but Dr. Gottman says he has found that workshops alone are insufficient for 20 to 30 percent of couples based on his research.
Dr. Gottman has over more than two decades of videotaping and analyzing the behavior of happy and unhappy couples, and he has found that all couples fight, with most fights never reaching a resolution. The difference, according to Dr. Gottman, is the way the couples fight that determines if the advice on divorce prevention will stick, based on a ratio of positive to negative interactions. If the ratio is at least five to one of positive to negative, Dr. Gottman said the relationship is solid, but once it dips below that he can predict with 94 percent accuracy that a couple will not benefit from advice on divorce prevention.
Although some couples will seek advice on divorce prevention, not all marriages can and should be saved since it may be based on fundamentally mismatched individuals. Still, couples are seeking advice on divorce prevention more than ever, and there are many different counseling strategies used. Should divorce be the final decision, the process can be extremely difficult to sort out. Professional and reputable divorce attorneys can give advice on divorce and how to settle the matters as quickly and easily as possible.
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