Marriage Counsellors’ Reflections on the Counselling Process in Family Courts in India
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Family courts in India were established to facilitate speedy redressal of family disputes, particularly matrimonial issues. Marriage counsellors facilitated dispute resolution based on alternative dispute resolution practices. Counselling was mandated for all couples approaching family courts due to marital discord. At present, there is a lack of literature on the process of counselling followed by marriage counsellors in the family courts. The present study used an exploratory research design to understand marriage counsellors’ perspectives on the process of counselling in family courts. Fifty-six marriage counsellors completed open-ended questionnaires on counselling assessment, goals, interventions and the influence of the presence of children on the couple counselling process. Thematic text analysis of the responses revealed a range of areas that counsellors explored, individual and relational goals that they focused on, as well as the interventions used by marriage counsellors in their work with couples. Findings suggested that there was a lack of uniformity in the counselling approaches used by marriage counsellors. Additionally, marriage counsellors reported not being equipped to address some intrapersonal and interpersonal concerns that emerged in the counselling process, despite identifying them. Based on the findings, the paper recommends the need for a unifying framework for training and practice for marriage counsellors working with couples in family courts to conceptualise couples’ concerns as well as guide their goals and interventions. The paper underscores the need for acknowledging sociocultural influences, reflective practice and client feedback in the process of counselling.
KeywordsFamily courts Marital counselling Couple counselling Counselling process
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