Why do couples seek marital therapy?

Brian D. Doss, Lorelei E. Simpson, Andrew Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


If therapists know why couples seek marital therapy, they can more effectively tailor their therapies to V improve treatment outcome. Unfortunately, there have been no systematic studies to date on couples' reasons for seeking therapy. In a survey of 147 married couples seeking marital therapy, the most commonly reported reasons were problematic communication and lack of emotional affection. Within individual couples, spouses showed little agreement on their reasons for therapy, suggesting that careful and individual assessments should be made of each spouse. There was only partial overlap of couples' reasons for seeking therapy, questionnaires of relationship problems, and previous studies of therapists' reports of couples' problems, indicating that traditional methods of assessment may not fully capture why couples are seeking therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)608-614
Number of pages7
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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