New figures released from Accord Catholic marriage care service show that communications problems tend to predominate among issues most relevant to the couples counselled by Accord in 2016, according to figures released yesterday.
Accord counselling figures also show a link between economic performance and numbers accessing its counselling services.
In 2007, the last year of the boom, 5,380 people received 31,726 counselling sessions. The numbers started rising as the economy crashed, peaking at 6,462 people who received 42,191 counselling sessions in 2012. At the same time the number of couples citing financial difficulties as a cause of problems in their marriage almost doubled from 22 per cent in 2007 to 42 per cent in 2012. As the economy is improving the numbers seeking counselling have returned almost to pre-economic crash levels with 5,523 couples accessing 30,666 hours of counselling in 2016. Money worries still continue to be a factor for those who seek counselling with 38 per cent of those who accessed Accord counselling services last year citing it as a factor in their marriage.
Speaking at the launch of the 2016 Accord counselling figures, Mary Johnston, a specialist in counselling with Accord said that “financial difficulties cannot only be a stress factor in themselves, but can exasperate conflicts in a marriage over other issues such as child-care, communication and fertility.”
She said that Accord counsellors advise couples to confront their financial problems by seeking out the help of agencies such as the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS).
The counselling figures for 2016 were launched on Saint Valentine’s Day by Bishop Denis Nulty, President of Accord Catholic Marriage Care Service, at the Shrine of St Valentine in Whitefriar Street Church, Dublin City.
Bishop Nulty spoke about the disruptive influence that the internet can have on marriages and on family life. He said, “Sadly technology can cause huge damage to relationships (19% of Accord clients cite internet use as a problem, while 23% cite mobile phone and texting as a presenting problem in counselling). Years ago the text, the tweet, the Snapchat app, Instagram, Whatsapp were not even considerations in counselling, but today they contribute hugely to the fractured narrative that unfolds in many counselling sessions. What was said in that tweet; the picture that was shared on social media; the reactive immediate response on Snapchat can do enormous damage to a relationship, to trust and to the individual themselves. ACCORD is not there to judge, but to gently move the relationship and the conversation to a less threatening and tense space.”
As part of the launch of the Accord figures, Bishop Nulty blessed engaged couple Carol Dignam from Kilcock, Co Kildare, and Tim Boylan from Foxrock, Co Dublin at the shrine.
For more information on Accord’s counselling services see www.accord.ie.