Largest increase in family counselling cases in 15 years


The number of family counselling cases increased last year by 9 per cent. This is the sharpest increase since the turn of the century.

In all regions, there was an increase in the number of family counselling service cases. Region North had the largest percentage increase of 11 per cent. Region North also had most cases in relation to the number of inhabitants, i.e. 9.8 per 1 000 inhabitants. As in previous years, Region West had the lowest number of family counselling cases; 5.9 per 1 000 inhabitants.

Most want to talk about relationships and parental collaboration

The family counselling offices dealt with nearly 37 800 cases in 2016; an increase of 9 per cent from the year before. This is the strongest increase, both in terms of percentage and absolute numbers, since 2001.

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

Family counselling
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

In 2016, there were 29 670 new family counselling cases. This is an increase of nearly 9 per cent from the previous year. In 41 per cent of these cases, issues relating to the parents’ relationship were the main reason for the enquiry. Forty per cent of the primary clients contacted a family counselling office for parental collaboration or guidance.

Figure 2. New cases in the Family counselling services, by the main reason for inquiry. 2016. Per cent

Per cent
Help for children and youth 4% 4
Relationship 41% 41
Parental collaboration 40% 40
Other complex problems in the family 15% 15

Shorter waiting times and duration

The figures for 2016 show that there were more new cases and more closed cases in 2016 than the year before. The family counselling cases were somewhat shorter in terms of number of days. The strongest increase was in the number of family counselling service cases that lasted less than 2 months. This share amounted to 43 per cent of all closed cases in 2016, compared to 41 per cent the previous year.

Most couple counselling

Almost 4 out of 10 cases that family counsellors worked with last year related to couple counselling. Three out of 10 cases were individual conversations.

It is also obvious 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. 2016

Per cent
Strengthen the relationship 23
Clarify/end the relationship 12
Separation in family 3
Interaction difficulity 6
Childs experience of circumstances in own life 4
Childs situation in the parental conflict 2
Permanent residence/access arrangements 9
Parental role 4
Parent - child relation 4
Multigeneration problems 2
Collaboration of child/children, parents do not cohabite 22
Child of another bed and/or new family 1
Cultural or minority problems 0
Forced marriage 0
Drug addictions 1
Illness or operability problems 1
Physical/psychological voilence and/or abuse 4
Other serious incident 3