Why do you claim that many therapists are not competent in marriage therapy?
Many therapists have never taken a single course in marriage therapy and have little or no supervised clinical training in this form of therapy. Most academic programs in psychology, psychiatry, social work, and counseling do not require a single course in marriage and couples therapy. Even when such a course is offered, it’s an elective.
Only therapists trained specifically in the profession of marriage and family therapy have required coursework in marriage therapy, but they may not have significant clinical training specifically with couples—just with “family units” of some kind. When therapists go into their clinical practice, they often drift into seeing couples because there is such a demand for this work. A national survey of private practice therapists found that 80% do marriage therapy. But this is a difficult, specialized form of therapy that should not be done without supervised training. The result often is poor therapy for which couples often blame themselves rather than the therapist. Couples are playing Russian roulette with their marriages when they pick up the phone book and call a random therapist.