Letter: Marriage guidance helps couples find their own solutions

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UNTIL 1989, the London Marriage Guidance Council was one of the 180 or so local Marriage Guidance Councils covering England. Selection and training of all counsellors was run by National MGC, based in Rugby. When NMGC changed its name to Relate in 1988, London disassociated itself. It retained its old name and set up an independent training system. In contrast, National Relate still selects, trains and supervises its 1,500-2,000 counsellors, initiates research, and sees itself as a pressure group for all matters marital.

If my own centre is anything to go by, the mix of backgrounds is more diverse than that experienced by Joanna Gibbon, and while the two and a half years' training may be free to the individual counsellor, it certainly is not to the local centre. Each counsellor now costs about pounds 3,500 to train, and local centres desperately need both counsellors and money to meet the massive demand for marital counselling. Of course we have to ask clients to support our work by contributions.

I do not question Ms Gibbon's experience. But thousands of other counsellors have had a very different experience in this demanding, fascinating and immensely satisfying job.

Marcia Butterwick

Buntingford, Herts