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Lagos residents differ on mental evaluation in marriage counselling

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Lagos residents are divided on how mental evaluation should be included in pre-marital and post-wedding counselling to prevent the rising spate of domestic violence in homes.

In a study carried out by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Lagosians in separate interviews on Friday, however, agreed that mental and psychological evaluation before and periodically during the marriage was very important for a successful marriage.

According to some of them, religious institutions should be saddled with the responsibility because many people hold their religious leaders in high esteem and will easily take counsel from them.

Kampala Ajejevwe, an accountant said that the religious institutions were the most suited for the responsibility because many people pass through them for one form of counselling or another before getting married.

He said those religious institutions could collaborate with mental health professionals, and where anyone was found mentally or psychologically unfit for marriage, they should be advised to go for treatment.

“In my church, it is compulsory to go for blood tests for genotype and HIV and AID at the beginning of the marriage counselling and pregnancy test, a day before the wedding.

“Couples do it and are counselled based on the results but during the pregnancy one goes directly to the church from the lab, to avoid any manipulation of the results.

“If they can do that successfully, I don’t see why it can’t be done with mental and psychological health, to prepare people for the pressures in marriage,” he said.

Mr Adronicus Adeyemi advised that religious institutions should take the onus by providing psychosocial support counselling to families, irrespective of whether they have challenges or not so that any crises could be nipped in the bud.

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He said that some people got married for the wrong reasons and tended to seek out their victims from religious institutions, where they believed they could find God-fearing individuals.

“Where there is psychosocial support, wives, husbands and children will voice out challenges,” he stated.

Adeyemi said that mental evaluation should be included in marriage counselling to reduce the alarming trend and increase in domestic violence.

“We need more investment and capacity building in this area as we don’t have enough experts presently to cater for our population of over 210 million people,” he said.

Rachel Kpoudosu noted that authorities in religious institutions should provide knowledge related to marital and family issues by inviting experts to talk to both single and married members.

She noted that the institutions should be seen to provide psychological support so that members can reach out and talk without fear and be confident to receive help.

But John Folarin, an educational consultant, thinks otherwise.

He says that religious institutions were already doing their best, particularly in the area of pre-marital counselling for intending couples.

Folarin attributes crises in marriages to couples not abiding by the counsel they received before they got married.

Folarin advocates that government should be responsible for psychological counselling by including it as a criterion in the marriage registries.

This, he says, is to avoid a situation where religious institutions would take over medical services.

“The professionals should discuss domestic violence and inform them of the consequences of violence,” he said. (NAN)

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