Who Attends Couples Counseling in the UK and Why?

Duncan, Charlie; Ryan, Gemma S; Moller, Naomi Petra and Davies, Rachel (2020). Who Attends Couples Counseling in the UK and Why? Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 46(2) pp. 177–186.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623x.2019.1654584


In England, publicly funded couples therapy is reserved for couples where one or both partners present with psychological disorders, rather than relationship distress, despite evidence of a bidirectional relationship between the two. Demographics and presenting issues for 14,726 couples who received counseling through a third-sector counseling organization in England and Wales were investigated. Clients were often White, aged 25–54, and presented with interpersonal issues. “Mental health problems” were identified as an issue by about a quarter of all clients. This suggests that many couples seeking relationship counseling wish to address relational versus psychological distress, which has implications for publicly funded services.

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