Couples Therapy Helps Consistently Unhappy

LOS ANGELES, April 21 (UPI) — Behavioral therapy can help even very distressed or consistently unhappy couples, U.S. researchers said.

Andrew Christensen of the University of California, Los Angeles, says therapy can be beneficial to couples, although it certainly does not help all couples.

“We also know distressed couples tend not to get better on their own,” Christensen says in a statement.

Christensen and colleagues provided 134 consistently unhappy married couples — 71 in Los Angeles and 63 in Seattle — with 26 therapy sessions over a year’s time.

“If couples do not improve in 26 sessions, that is a bad sign, this is not psychoanalysis,” Christensen said.

The study, published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, finds two-thirds of the couples showed significant clinical improvement at the end of the treatment period.

Five years later about one-half the couples were significantly improved, about one-quarter were separated or divorced and about one-quarter were unchanged.

Christensen says the results five years after treatment are quite good since all couples entering treatment were seriously and persistently distressed.

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