The faith of marriage counseling clients -- naive or justified? : the experiences of seventy clients of the Canberra Marriage Counseling Service

  • Helen Szuty

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    Ideas for this research were conceived following a discussion I had with the Director of the Canberra Marriage Counseling Service (CMCS} in 1979. Three aims of the. research were identified. Firstly, to collect information about the counseling received by clients at the CMCS, from their points of view. Secondly, to collect information about the premature termination of some clients from marriage counseling interviews at the CMCS. Thirdly, to discuss other research findings in the light of this research and so provide a structure from which future research could be conducted. Clients were interviewed according to a questionnaire which I designed. Before the study began, a pilot study was conducted with a small group of clients, primarily, to assess the adequacy of the questionnaire. Clients who were involved in the study itself, all completed initial interviews with new counselors between and including the first day of February and the last day of March, in 1981. I interviewed all clients by telephone, who were usually at home between eight and nine o’clock, on Monday to Thursday evenings inclusive. Clients were asked questions about the counseling process, from the time that they presented with precipitating problems to the time that they considered returning to the CMCS or recommending its services to others. Raw data was collected on the following topics: clients’ precipitating problems, expectations, motivation to attend counseling, rapport with their counselors, experiences during the counseling process, premature termination and counseling outcomes. Results were compiled by cross-correlating the raw data to obtain a composite picture of clients’ counseling experiences. Many statistically significant findings were obtained and numerous recommendations have been made on the basis Of the findings. Further research is recommended in three areas. Firstly, a study similar to this one should be conducted on a national scale to ascertain general standards of marriage counseling across Australia. Secondly, a series of experimental studies should be conducted on a number of specific issues raised in this research. Thirdly, case studies of individual clients should be conducted by CMCS counselors which would enable them to easily incorporate research work into their training and supervision programmes.
    Date of Award1983
    Original languageEnglish

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