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Marriage counselling - what to expect

(10 Posts)
Hermagsjesty Tue 17-Oct-17 13:19:47

My DH and I are going to our first marriage counselling session tomorrow and I just wondered if anyone could give me any ideas what to expect? Do I/ we need to go having thought about/ prepared anything in particular or do we just turn up with an open mind?!

hellsbellsmelons Tue 17-Oct-17 13:23:08

You probably need to think about why you need marriage counselling, in your mind anyway.
What got you to this stage in your marriage etc...
But I would imagine an open mind is the way to go.
As long as there is no abuse at all it should help.

Longdistance Tue 17-Oct-17 13:26:58

We had a joint one first, and then the councillor booked us separate appointments, and then back together again.
I think we went fortnightly iirc, or every 3 weeks.
We did the basics on the first day really, how we met, how long we’d been together, and then filled in bits about our lives to the present. Just so she could get an idea.

GrumpyOldBag Tue 17-Oct-17 13:27:58

Did it make a difference to your relationship?

mindutopia Tue 17-Oct-17 13:41:12

If you are doing Relate, the first session is an intake, so you fill in a bunch of forms and then meet with an intake counselor and they ask some specific questions to get a sense of your relationship overall and the specific problems that brought you there. Then you're referred on to a specific counselor who will see you together as well as separately if you want.

We only did one session. I personally found it to be really annoying and I left feeling really depressed about the whole thing. We went because we wanted some support dealing with a specific stressful situation in our extended family (going NC with a family member for safeguarding reasons). Our relationship is actually really solid and happy and we were like considering separating or having any other issues except this one specific one with a family member. Annoyingly, the counselor spend a significant part of the session questioning why would be go NC, why we wouldn't try a little harder to sort out the situation (it involves the family member putting our daughter at risk of sexual abuse via her partner), and pushing family counseling sessions with the family member. We had long since made the decision for no contact and it just re-hashed the whole issue and made us feel really upset, instead of moving towards ways to find some closure and move on from it, which is what we were hoping. I don't think that's the norm though and I think if your needs were different, it could be really helpful. I still think maybe we could benefit from some individual sessions to process how we feel about this situation, but maybe the problem isn't our relationship (which is good), so wasn't the right situation for us (especially given the cost). I definitely think it's worth a go though and I'm glad we at least tried it so we could know if it was the right path for us, even though it wasn't.

Longdistance Tue 17-Oct-17 13:42:23

We went for counselling in 2015, we’re together and a lot happier.

The background was to do with me being resentful for giving up my job and becoming a trailing spouse to Oz. We lived there for 2 years, but I never settled. It was his dream, my nightmare.

Long story short, came back to Uk, he became resentful, so we were in a rut.

I did suggest going to a counsellor in Oz, but would have had to pay. We had ours through the NHS as I had depression from it all, and it was a vicious circle.

Hermagsjesty Tue 17-Oct-17 15:20:58

Thankyou for the replies - that’s really useful. We have a specific issue we want to discuss - basically we made the decision to terminate a pregnancy 2 years ago. It caused a lot of resentment and distance between us - particularly exasperated by discussions around whether we should now try for another child or not (we already have 2 DC who were very young at the time). I’ve had counselling on my own but we felt it was time for us to try and work through it together. Am quite nervous of what it might throw up as on the surface we “get on” pretty well. We’re doing it through Relate, so it sounds like tomorrow will just be the basics.

Hermagsjesty Sun 22-Oct-17 18:09:57

We had our first consultation and it went well, I think. But we only spoke about the particular issue that brought us there (the termination and my struggling to come to terms with not having a third child). But I’ve come away feeling there are other issues that we didn’t talk about - that maybe we were on “best behaviour” and gave a picture of the rest of our marriage being rosier than it is. Is that normal?! Does it just take more sessions do you think?!

junebirthdaygirl Sun 22-Oct-17 18:15:39

It could take a good few sessions so just take it one step at a time. It might also be helpful to get individual sessions too. We had both and they were helpful. Worth noting that sometimes things get worse before they get better. As stuff is aired it is tough but it was there anyway.

Hermagsjesty Sun 22-Oct-17 18:35:44

I think that’s what it is, I’ve felt really tired and sad since the session but maybe it’s just that one step forward, one step back feeling. And also finally confronting all the undercurrents is hard. We like each other- I think- and want to be kind but there’s so much going on underneath that getting it all into the open is painful (and will maybe take time)

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