Marriage counseling has become a very commonly prescribed solution to marriage problems in America today, thus you’d think it’d be able to repair your marriage. Many couples have turned to marital therapy, so does that mean you should too? Does couple’s counseling even work?
As you continue reading this article, I want to talk to you about the following:
What Is the Average Cost of Marriage Counseling?
Is It Covered By Insurance?
How Many Sessions With a Couple’s Counselor Do You Need?
Is Marriage Counseling Worth It?
Are There Any Better Alternatives?
As you can see we’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so I don’t want to waste too much time with an introduction…Let’s go ahead and get to the meat and potatoes of this FAQ!
What is the Average Cost of Marriage Counseling?
First things first, how much does marriage counseling cost? Is there such a thing as affordable marriage counseling?
Well, the best data I could find said that most marriage counselors charge between $75 and $150 an hour on average. Of course, prices vary and some counselors will drop down to around $50 an hour on the cheaper end and up to over $200 an hour on the more expensive end.
For 90% of professional marriage counselors, one session equals one hour, so their hourly rate is also their rate per session.
Most marriage counselors recommend at least three months of therapy (12 weeks) with at least one session per week. The first one or two sessions are usually an assessment of your current marriage problems, and your marriage counselor may recommend extra individual or group sessions depending on what he/she sees through their experience with you.
If we do the math, we can see that the average cost of marriage counseling is ~$1,200, but could be anything between $600-$2,000+, for what would be considered a minimum trial of a marriage counselor.
Marital Therapy is NOT Covered By Insurance
Another question you often hear about marriage therapy when considering the cost of it is “does my insurance cover marriage counseling?”
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Insurance companies will not cover the cost of your marriage counselor.
The only exception to this rule is if a court has found one or the other spouse is suffering from some sort of debilitating mental disorder. In that case where there is documented mental illness, your insurance may cover the cost of a marriage counselor. You have to have a mental health problem, and many insurance companies will launch an investigation for this sort of claim if they sense something fishy.
If your marriage counselor tells you that your insurance covers your therapy and you don’t know about any mental illness between you or your wife, that’s certainly something to be worried about!
Marriage Counseling is Always Cheaper than Divorce
…If it works (more on that later).
This is really the question you should be asking yourself… Is your marriage headed for divorce? Is your wife ready to leave you?
If the choice is between getting a divorce and going to counseling, then you should always choose the latter. It will be cheaper, more pleasant and more fulfilling. You’ll get the opportunity to learn more about yourself and more about your wife.
Perhaps a better argument, though, isn’t the benefits of marriage therapy but the terrible consequences of divorce.
The average cost of a divorce is minimum $5,000 with most getting a good ways into 5 figures
The average retainer fee (paid up front before your attorney will represent you) is around $3,000 which is already more than double the average cost of a full three months of marriage counseling (average is around $1,200)
On top of that, there’s the emotional trauma placed on your kids
Plus only to fight over the house, and the savings, the car and all of your other valuable belongings
And we haven’t even said anything about alimony or child support
As you can see, divorce is definitely something to be avoided if at all possible. Even if you are “thiiiiiiiss close” to throwing in the towel, give it one more shot and go to couple’s counseling with your wife and see if you can get her back to the way things used to be.
How Many Sessions Do You Need?
I’ve already told you that the average recommended marriage counseling treatment is to start with three months of weekly counseling. However, many times a counselor will recommend more than three months of counseling. Many couples end up staying in for six months or longer… I even heard of one couple who’d been seeing their marriage counselor for over two years.
A church I used to be familiar with made every one of their soon-to-be married couples spend six months with a marriage counselor before they would perform the wedding. It helped to build better communication skills between the future spouses
Is Marriage Counseling Worth It?
The problem is that sometimes it just doesn’t work. My parents, for instance, tried like 5 different marriage counselors over the course of ~10 years only to end up getting divorced in the end. I don’t know how accurate it is, but I’ve read that the marriage therapy industry as a whole has an approximate 50% – 60% success rate, which certainly isn’t terrible, but…Certainly a far cry from ‘guaranteed’.
So, is the average cost of marriage counseling worth it?
You betchya… If it works. If it keeps you out of divorce and keeps your wife at home…But I guess that just about anything is cost effective when compared to divorce.
However, sometimes all marriage counseling will do is add frustration, apathy and animosity to an all ready struggling marriage. Probably not quite the news you wanted to hear – I know – but it is the unfortunate truth. I’ve seen it happen.
Please note that if you have a family / kids, then marriage and family counseling may be something to consider. This could be good to cover all bases and prepare your family through what may end up being quite a trying time.
“What Are My Alternatives?”
So, the obvious next question once we’ve established that marriage counseling is maybe not the ‘absolute sure fire solution to all your marital problems’ is…“What other options are there?”
Well, there are long books. There are couples’ seminars and programs. There are psychologists. There’s divorce. There’s even sex therapists.
…But none of those are going to do you any favors!