Is couples therapy effective?

A couple holds hands showing their weddi
A couple holds hands showing their wedding rings during a mass wedding of 250 couple in Manila on October 10, 2010.
JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images

In a recent New York Times Magazine cover story, Elizabeth Weil spoke to therapists and discovered that couples therapy is stressful even for the professionals.

"It's widely acknowledged that couples therapy is the most challenging," said Richard Simon, the editor of the trade magazine The Psychotherapy Networker, in the NYT story. "The stakes are high. You're dealing with volatility. There are often secrets. We were just trying to make explicit something people who've done couples therapy already know: You often feel confused, at odds with a least one of your patients, out of control."

William Doherty, professor and director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at the University of Minnesota, said in a Networkers article that there's "an ever-present risk of winning one spouse's allegiance at the expense of the other spouse's."

"All your wonderful joining skills from individual therapy can backfire within seconds with a couple," he wrote. "A brilliant therapeutic observation can blow up in your face when one spouse thinks you're a genius and the other thinks you're clueless -- or worse, allied with the enemy."

Does couples therapy actually work? Weil and Doherty will join The Daily Circuit Thursday to discuss how the business is changing and what it means for the couples themselves.

"At the end of the day it is you and your partner," Weil said in Mother Jones. "And you just have to create a good life for the two of you. Sometimes we saw outside wisdom that wasn't positive for us. It was us trying to conform to someone else's idea of what our marriage should be like."

VIDEO: Liz Weil talks about marriage

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