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Feeling like Relate is a waste of time...

(11 Posts)
overthehillandroundthemountain Fri 22-Apr-16 09:10:58

Or rather, that it is wasting time. How long did everyone have to wait to get stuck into the 'working it out' side of Relate?

I had an appointment by myself - the one where you 'check in' and they ask about your parents, siblings, relationship background. Back in Feb.

My husband had the same, a good few weeks later.

We then had to go through it all again together. This was before Easter.

They told us they would come back with a time that would work, so we could start, but that it might take a couple of weeks as they are busy. I've not heard since and my marriage problems are getting worse, not better.

How can I go on like this? Should I just find a different type of counsellor for us? Are we meant to be thrashing it out by ourselves? What is the 'success' rate for Relate, anyway? I imagine it's hard to measure as the ideal outcome for some may well be separation. I am really struggling.

summerainbow Fri 22-Apr-16 10:53:04

Have they phone your husband and he has not told you?

goddessofsmallthings Fri 22-Apr-16 15:25:52

I suggest you call and ask when you can begin joint counselling.

However, there was a thread here recently about Relate from which it is was clear that it's potluck as to whether you'll derive anything meaningful from the sessions as Relate counsellors appear to have been trained in a 'one size fits all' methodology.

Without wishing to pry, what are the fundamental issues or differences between you and your h that have caused you to seek joint counselling as it could be that it's not advised in your particular situation, or that you'll benefit from a more dynamic approach with a different organisation/independent marriage counsellor.

serialangstyposter Sat 23-Apr-16 20:20:15

There have been a couple of threads recently talking about not having a good experience with Relate, including some of my own. I attended by myself and abandoned it after a couple of sessions.

I got what I consider to be really bad advice on partners loss of control/anger issues. This may well have been an unlucky experience but having done a bit more reading since I understand that the approach to couples counselling is often not to lay blame/both partners need to work equally - which isn't always appropriate. That may or may not be relevant to you.

More generally I really feel there was a strong steer to work things through whereas I believed from Relates own info that they would support a partner to leave if that was what they wanted. Indeed when I said that I wasn't sure I wanted or was able to work on the relationship she said it wasn't just about me as I had children to consider. Maybe she knew I'd feel guilty if I walked away without trying first - which I absolutely would - but it felt like pressure I didn't need at the time.

Anyway, I'm not sure if this is relevant but I think I went to Relate in a very confused state and it left me vulnerable to being steered.

Something I think applies to anyone is that part of my problem may have been that the counsellor wasn't a good fit for me. I've read a lot since that it is a really personal thing whether you 'gel' or not and it's important to find the right counsellor. Of course with Relate you have forked out for 1 or 2 sessions explaining your situation to more than one person before you actually get started and get a feel for who will be working with you. £180 wasted in my case.

I had a very short thread recently about finding a private counsellor that I will bump for you as there was a really good steer given on how to go about it.

I wish you well whether you go down the Relate route or other. I think goddess is right about it being potluck. I've seen other posters say it helped.

It's tough struggling. Good luck. flowers

goddessofsmallthings Sat 23-Apr-16 20:52:27

The problem with Relate seems to be twofold in that the organisation doesn't appear to have moved on from the days when it was the Marriage Guidance Council* whose Christian ethic caused it to place an emphasis on keeping couples together and, furthermore, their counsellors don't appear to be trained to recognise abusive behaviours and offer joint counselling in cases where it is not advisable.

*The MGC was founded in 1938 by Dr Herbert Gray, a Presbyterian minister, and changed its name to Relate in 1988.

serialangstyposter Sat 23-Apr-16 21:50:14

Certainly fits with my experience.

overthehillandroundthemountain Sun 24-Apr-16 04:22:39

Wow, thank you, everyone. I had heard some recent dissastisfaction, but it helps to read the specifics.

summerainbow That is a good point about whether they have phoned DH and he hasn't told me. I doubt it, as DH seems invested in going, but I will check. If not, will do as you suggest, goddessofsmallthings and will give them a call on Monday.

I saw on here about potluck regarding meaningful sessions. I feel very much as though I am going through the motions so I can say I have done it. You ask what the fundamental issues/differences are - I started the 'incompetent husbands' thread back in January, which prob says it all. Emotional and financial abuse, disparity, disengagement. Also I don't have good models of marriage and thought I might benefit from single counselling, but it is terribly slow.

serialangstyposter I am very sorry for your experience, but so grateful to you for sharing it. First time, I saw a strong sort of woman and thought she showed great empathy. Second time, with DH, it was a man who seemed bemused by what I said, and was very school-teacher-ish. I am not good at reading people and was not sure...Probably we would have got on very well, but hard to say until you get into the nitty gritty. He did seem to do the equal-say thing quite well - my DH would say that I am the one with the anger and control issues, though.

Yes, I have heard the same, that there is a bias towards working things through> If people ask for statistics, I suppose it looks better to cite where couples stay together rather than how many split up, although for some couples the latter may well be the ideal scenario.

It is very relevant, thanks for sharing. I can see how it left you vulnerable. Yes, there is also that - you end up paying so much. £180 already, with nothing to show! How long is this thing going to take? I don't think we have funds to see it through, and despite their 'pay what you can afford' suggestion, my DH is proud and would not ask.

Thank you for bumping the thread about finding a private counsellor, I will look out for it, that is very helpful. flowers

goddessofsmallthings I have heard this a lot, that they haven't moved much. As I said above, maybe it's something to do with measuring outcomes, as well. I was surprised that they didn't seem to recognise my need for my dh and I to have separate counselling (I believe him to be abusive).

Thank you for opinions, everyone. Massively helpful.

goddessofsmallthings Sun 24-Apr-16 05:08:58

I'll take time to read your other thread later today, OP, but if you have reason to believe that your h is abusive joint counselling is not advisable and I therefore withdraw my earlier suggestion that you call to ask when your sessions will commence.

goddessofsmallthings Sun 24-Apr-16 05:14:19

It occurs to me that you may benefit from making contact with your nearest Women's Aid service and have a chat about your h's behaviour: www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic-abuse-directory/

overthehillandroundthemountain Sun 24-Apr-16 05:21:18

Thank you, goddess Others said it, too, not to have joint counselling. I don't know if his behaviours qualify as 'abuse' in the classical term, but that's part of abuse itself, isn't it? Was considering one more joint then single sessions. Will ponder WA. Thank you.

overthehillandroundthemountain Fri 29-Apr-16 10:18:41

Update -
I rang them earlier this week. The woman I spoke to said 'Did you say you are only free in the evenings? That will be why'.

I'm not quite sure how to be more available. We work FT and DH can't (won't) take time off work. We can do Sat mornings so put that down as well.

Then she had a coughing fit and couldn't talk further! She called me back on my mobile and left a message 'We can't fit you in but keep calling' hmm

Things crumbling. Maybe better to get on with 'writing a script' to split, without their help.

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