published from Conservative Home.
Author Iain Duncan Smith
In pure financial terms, the cost of family breakdown to the UK has been estimated conservatively at £48 billion per year. However, less well known is that the risk of poor health from conditions such as coronary heart disease and raised blood pressure increases dramatically – the overall effect of family breakdown on health outcomes is equivalent to smoking a packet of cigarettes a day. It is now well charted that the effect on children from such avoidable break-up can be devastating, not just due to the lowered educational outcomes but often through mental illness. Sadly, the scale of the problem is enormous – for even now, as you read this, 65 per cent of children aged 12–16 in low income households do not live with both birth parents, and some three million people are in relationships in such difficulty that they are in serious danger of breaking up.
As far back as 1947, the report of a Committee of Inquiry on Procedure in Matrimonial Cause, chaired by Lord Denning, noted that “it should be recognised as a function of State to give encouragement and where appropriate financial assistance to marriage guidance as a form of social service”. Successive governments failed to see this as a vital area until David Cameron’s administration in 2010, when we put extra money into support for those engaged in counselling families.
In 2015, it was agreed to double this funding to £70 million. This was based on firm evidence of the effectiveness of the work carried out with this money. The Government’s own evaluation shows that every £1 spent on relationship support saves the state over £11, not to mention the improvement in life chances for those involved. Even the adults were found to benefit significantly in unexpected areas as, for example 35 per cent of those using Relate’s Couple Connection website no longer needing to see their GP as such counselling was found to improve the quality of couple relationships and, importantly, individual mental health. The studies have found that families with strong relationships are 50 per cent more likely to survive life-threatening illnesses than those with weak ones.
What did other countries do with Relationship Counselling?
Other leading countries continue to recognise the importance of investing in family stability. For example, in Australia, Family Relationship Centres offer services helping families at all stages of their life, including people starting relationships, those who want to make their relationships stronger, people with relationship difficulties and families who have separated.
The reason I am writing this is because I worry that this is an area not much understood, or even cared about, by opinion formers when ranged against other, much more expensive and high profile, areas of expenditure and thus its loss would not be noticed. However, it should instead be seen as an investment in early intervention, that – day in, day out, year in, year out – saves families from the damaging effects of break-up that cost the country so much in money and broken lives. For without this funding, innumerable families and couples will no longer be able to access marriage and relationship support, particularly those on low incomes and vulnerable groups who often need it the most.
In 2015, I was enormously pleased when we increased the spending on such counselling but always hoped that, given the evidence of its effectiveness, more money would be found in due course. I am therefore worried that we may be about to head in the wrong direction. This is why I urge my colleagues that instead of looking to reduce such investment in this budget, we should look to increase the reach of such services, for the well-being not just of those families directly affected but of the whole country.
This is the end of the article on Relationship Counselling published from Conservative Home.
From EAC Webmaster:-
For example how can a couple tell if relationship counselling would benefit them?
It could be that couples are finding that they argue about the most inane things which they would never have argued about at the beginning of their relationship. These arguments soon get worse and quickly get rather nasty.
Their relationship starts to feel stale and if it were not for the children, separation would appear to be the ideal solution. Arguments relate about money; sex; families of both parties to such an extent there appears to be no common ground, one cannot see the viewpoint of the other partner.
It must be said that couples relationship counselling must be the most difficult counselling to undertake. With individual counselling one can relax in the confidential environment created by the counsellor and unburden sometimes their most innermost thoughts. Thoughts which the individual can sometimes feel surprised that they are able to tell a stranger. Now they are face to face with the person they once shared and told everything to. Now that very partner is sitting their able to contradict and disagree. They know so much about your day-to-day life together that relating those innermost thoughts become so difficult to express.
On the other hand one can have the feeling that relating those innermost feelings can hurt your partner and make a bad situation even worse.Then there is the feeling by either partner that the therapist will side with the other party.
The truth is that getting either partner to agree to take part in partnership counselling can give the relationship a sort-term boost. For if either party is willing to meet a stranger in order to expose their innermost feelings it must be because the really do care about the other party.
Statistics show that because couples have been able to cooperate in building a home together and possibly raising a family they could soon be able to support each other through the changes in their relationship meaning that couple counselling takes less sessions than one-to-one sessions in order to see some success.
When discussing relationship therapy it is normal to think of the marriage situation,. However, relationship therapy can involve whole families, it can involve employee to employer relationships, even employee to employee relationships or between a professional and a client.
in all situations it will show up similarities and differences it will hep each partner to be honest and to understand the feelings of the other party and when meeting with the difficult bits have the understanding to put to one side their own viewpoint and try to look at the situation through the other persons eyes.
In the second or third session, I will draw up the couple’s joint family tree. This reveals important life events – the death of a parent, any divorces, and the ages of any children – and shows up similarities and differences in the partners’ backgrounds. Although we will generally concentrate on issues arising during the week between sessions, I have a bigger agenda: to help each partner to be emotionally honest, understand each other’s feelings and to engage with the difficult bits.
Relationship Therapy is stripping down the layers to re-establish that total trust that was once taken as normal when the relationship was established.