More seek help to strengthen relationship


In 2017, the number of family counselling cases increased by 2 per cent from the previous year. The proportion of couples was higher, as was the number who wanted to strengthen their relationship or parental collaboration.

The increase in the number of new family counselling service cases applied to all regions except Region East, where there was a decrease of 2 per cent.

- ‘The largest percentage increase was for Region South, with 7 per cent more cases,’ says Vibeke Sky, adviser in Statistics Norway. Region North had most cases per 1 000 inhabitants, with 10 cases.

- ‘As in previous years, Region West had the lowest number of family counselling cases, with 6 cases per 1 000 inhabitants,’ said Sky.

Most want to talk about relationship and parental collaboration

The family counselling offices dealt with more than 38 500 cases in 2017. This represents an overall increase from 2001, but the growth is nevertheless smaller than in the preceding two years.

Figure 1. Family counselling cases during the year. Absolute figures

2001 24256
2002 24826
2003 26800
2004 28451
2005 29275
2006 29584
2007 29416
2008 28963
2009 30492
2010 30456
2011 30850
2012 31560
2013 32175
2014 32695
2015 34679
2016 37787
2017 38504

In 2017 there were 29 600 new family counselling cases according to the family counselling service statistics. This is about the same level as the year before. As shown in figure 2, issues relating to the parents’ relationship were the main reason for the enquiry in four out of ten cases. About the same share of primary clients contacted a family counselling office regarding parental collaboration or guidance.

Figure 2. New cases in the Family counselling services, by the main reason for inquiry. 2017. Per cent

New cases
Relationship 42 % 12518
Parental Collaboration 40 % 11733
Other complexproblemsin the Family 14 % 4076
Help for children and youth 4 % 1319

Longer waiting times and case duration

The figures for 2017 show that both waiting times and case duration were somewhat longer for new family counselling cases, in terms of number of days.

On average, 145 days were spent on a family counselling case in 2017, which is eight days longer than the year before.

More couple counselling

Four out of 10 cases that family counsellors worked with last year related to couple counselling. Nearly three out of 10 cases were individual conversations.

It is also evident that relationships and parental collaboration are the main topics of conversation at the family counselling offices. This is shown in Figure 3, which shows concluded cases in the family counselling services, by sex and main subject.

Figure 3. Concluded cases in the family counselling services, by sex and main topic. 2017

Men Women
Strengthen the relationship 2081 4340
Clarify/end the relationship 1093 2197
Separation in family 308 588
Interaction difficulity 470 1041
Childs experience of circumstances in own life 231 787
Childs situation in the parental conflict 153 341
Permanent residence/access arrangements 929 1331
Parental role 328 753
Parent - child relation 306 759
Multigeneration problems 73 297
Collaboration of child/children, parents do not cohabite 2174 3862
Child of another bed and/or new family 71 147
Cultural or minority problems 29 56
Forced marriage 1 14
Drug addictions 40 96
Illness or operability problems 93 258
Physical/psychological voilence and/or abuse 424 595
Other serious incident 251 486

New registration practice impacts on comparability

In 2017, a new registration practice was introduced at the family counselling offices. Several cases that were previously registered as external activities will be registered as clinical groups as from 2017. This leads to a reduction in the number of cases in the external activities, and an increase in the number of clinical groups as from 2017.