Couples urged to seek counselling

Friday, 27 October 2006


Four out of five couples stay together after seeking counselling
Couples having relationship problems are being encouraged to seek relationship advice from counsellors.

Scottish Marriage Care, Family Mediation and Relate Scotland are hosting a Glasgow conference to examine the best ways to tackle the problem.

Almost 11,000 divorces are granted each year in Scotland, 10% of those within the first four years of marriage.

But Scottish Marriage Care said that if couples seek help, four out of five of them stay together.

However, the organisation said couples usually waited eight years before asking for counselling, which could result in a negative impact on children.

We are there to help resolve issues whether couples decide to stay together or not
Liz Izat
Scottish Marriage Care

It has been estimated that family breakdown costs the Scottish economy 1.5bn every year due to absence and ill-health associated with relationship problems.

The voluntary groups are targeting health centres, maternity units, family lawyers and social work settings in the west of Scotland, advising people how to get help.

MSP Pauline McNeill, who will be speaking at Saturday's conference, said issues in relationships needed to be tackled before they reached the divorce stage. Support was central to that, she added.

'Everybody's interest'

Liz Izat, a Scottish Marriage Care manager, said: "Communications, stress, children, sex life and finances can all contribute to breakdowns in relationships.

"We are there to help resolve issues whether couples decide to stay together or not."

Alexander Hunter, manager with Glasgow Marriage Counselling Service, added: "It takes a great deal of courage to come to counselling but couples are increasingly recognising the powerful benefits of working through and resolving their difficulties."

Mary Mulligan, the Labour MSP who is reporting to the Justice 1 Committee on an inquiry into the provision and funding of family support services, said: "It is in everybody's interest to get support in terms of the individual, the effect on their health, their ability to do their job, and the knock-on effect to the community."