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Marriage counselling

(26 Posts)
Oleanderrules Tue 11-Jun-19 18:02:30

Have had about fifteen marriage counselling sessions and it feels now that we are going backwards not forwards.
I have decided to call it a day with the counsellor ( who is a COSRT member ) as It all feels a bit direction less and some things have been dug up which I had already dealt with with a one to one counsellor and should really have just been left there . She insisted on digging and I feel terrible now

I am at the point now I just feel like calling it a day with DH and moving on - moving on to live as I want and not have to deal with his crap

Any thoughts on marriage counselling ? Did it work for you ? We have avoided Relate trained counsellors but maybe that is where we should go next . I liked our counsellor but I do wonder if she had just qualified as every session seemed a bit all over the place and had a different slant / theme -
Maybe we were just a tricky couple to manage

FrankT Tue 11-Jun-19 19:14:16

Going to Relate saved our marriage. But it is so individual. Not every marriage can/should be saved I think.

Oleanderrules Tue 11-Jun-19 19:29:32

Do Relate have a particular style of counselling ? Did they remain objective ?
I am not sure if I could cope with the whole cheating husband having unmet needs and it all being my fault

OliviaBenson Tue 11-Jun-19 19:46:39

Sometimes you need to accept that you can't fix the unfixable. I find it interesting you are blaming the counsellor. Could it simply be that as a couple you've reached the end of the road?

Oleanderrules Tue 11-Jun-19 20:00:01

Yes maybe we have reached the end of the road
I just wondered re the counsellor as she seemed to jump around in style each week
Then when I looked at her qualifications again she seemed to have a lot fewer than other local counsellors
and seemed to have done fewer courses. It seemed in a way that she was looking to develop her own style
Maybe it just wasn't right for us and we need to try someone else

AgentJohnson Wed 12-Jun-19 08:49:49

some things have been dug up which I had already dealt with with a one to one counsellor and should really have just been left there . She insisted on digging and I feel terrible now

If this thing is impacting your marriage then why wouldn’t it be on the table.

I went to a relationship counsellor with my Ex and after several sessions I felt the same and she did question if we were compatible enough. I wish I’d listened because she was right.

Oleanderrules Wed 12-Jun-19 12:37:18

AgentJohnson did the counsellor actually tell you that you weren't compatible? Surely that's your decision not theirs ?

It was something that happened in the past and had been dealt with - it was like a scab being picked at and made me very upset

She then lectured me at the next session re living in the present and leaving the past behind .

AnastasiaBeverleyHills Wed 12-Jun-19 18:04:50

some things have been dug up which I had already dealt with with a one to one counsellor and should really have just been left there . She insisted on digging and I feel terrible now

If you had dealt with them then they wouldn't make you feel terrible. It sounds like, rather than the counselling not working, that you weren't willing to do the emotional work required. Or, maybe you have already made your mind up that you want to leave, which is perfectly ok BTW!, and you weren't really "there for it". Counselling is difficult. Sometimes you feel way way worse after a session. That's totally normal. A counsellor usually works with what is in front of them so if you (as a couple) were all over the place then the session s may have felt this way.

At the end of the day if you feel you would be happier out of the marriage go with your gut.

category12 Wed 12-Jun-19 18:41:48

Really, a painful thing becomes no longer a painful thing after counselling? I find that unlikely to be honest. You learnt to cope with things, but I don't think some things are ever permanently de-fanged.

AnastasiaBeverleyHills Wed 12-Jun-19 19:05:16

@category12

I have been through a lot of painful things and A LOT of counselling. If something is still triggering you then it still has a hold on you then it has not been completely worked through. This is one of the reasons counsellors sometimes have to take breaks, because something unexpected triggered them and also why they need to have masses of personal therapy while training. It doesn't become less significant but it removes its power over you

ShagMeRiggins Wed 12-Jun-19 19:12:22

We did a year of couples counselling, plus 2 1/2 years individual for me, and 1 1/2 years individual for him.

It didn’t work—we reached crisis point and found a couples therapy retreat with a therapist who doesn’t muck about. It cost a fortune for the weekend and we had to travel to him but it was eye-opening and it saved our marriage and our family. Good luck.

Oleanderrules Wed 12-Jun-19 19:50:37

ShagMeRiggins re the couples retreat may I ask if it was in Germany ?
I read about one today and thought it might be an option for us
At the moment I feel I need a break from it for a few months anyway
To be honest I think there will always be things that trigger me to be honest and that's not just issues with DH I think it is just part of my genetic make up . I have worked and am still working on overcoming this

ShagMeRiggins Wed 12-Jun-19 20:28:59

Aargh! Posted then lost it.

www.therapyretreats.com/ It’s in England, a few locations from which to choose.

ShagMeRiggins Wed 12-Jun-19 20:30:22

Aargh! Posted then lost it.

www.therapyretreats.com/ It’s in England, a few locations from which to choose.

ShagMeRiggins Wed 12-Jun-19 20:43:00

No, it’s England. www.therapyretreats.com/

It really was a last resort for us but neither was willing to throw away two decades without exhausting our options. Marriage is hard, y’all.

ShagMeRiggins Wed 12-Jun-19 20:43:29

No, it’s England. www.therapyretreats.com/

It really was a last resort for us but neither was willing to throw away two decades without exhausting our options. Marriage is hard, y’all.

ShagMeRiggins Wed 12-Jun-19 20:43:37

No, it’s England. www.therapyretreats.com/

It really was a last resort for us but neither was willing to throw away two decades without exhausting our options. Marriage is hard, y’all.

ShagMeRiggins Wed 12-Jun-19 20:52:07

Bloody hell London hotel wifi blush

Oleanderrules Thu 13-Jun-19 13:24:12

ShagMeRiggins thanks for the info ! That looks really interesting and I am glad it worked for you

porger80 Thu 13-Jun-19 13:58:06

I'm a Relate counsellor. Trying a different therapist might work for you but I would also suggest being honest with your current therapist and telling him or her your concern over lack of direction and structure. Relate are integrative in approach, which means we use lots of different ways to work with clients - childhood attachment, systemic interventions etc, maybe this counsellor is the same but this comes across as chaotic? I would also suggest that if there is something you don't want to bring into couple work you can set those boundaries but you have to be honest with yourself about why you don't want to do that. If you feel that everything is being turned into 'your fault' then counsellor is not being neutral in the room and this also needs to be addressed. We talk about some hard things in the room, we can handle some honest feedback from clients about what they need and want.

porger80 Thu 13-Jun-19 14:00:15

Also @ShagMeRiggins would love to know how a counsellor who 'doesn't muck about' works? I'm so intrigued! I'd love to set up couples retreats in the future!

Jabbercocky Thu 13-Jun-19 15:27:08

I’m curious.

Scenario 1:
Client walks into your office on their own and tells you how their spouse drunkenly beats them or verbally abuses them on a regular basis.

Scenario 2:
Same client walks in with the same complaint but this time they bring their spouse.

In s1 only the abused spouse is your client. In s2, both are.

Q: Is your advice any different between s1 and s2?
Q: Do you take sides/apportion blame in s1 but not s2?

I ask because in my experience, counsellors are happy to take the line in s1 that the client is the victim and the spouse is the perpetrator and 100% in the wrong whereas in a s2 situ, the counsellor is reticent to apportion blame and instead looks for the mutual dynamics that cause the issue.

porger80 Thu 13-Jun-19 15:53:37

Relate don't tend to work with domestic abuse cases, they signpost on to specialised agencies. If DA is reported we move to some supporting individual sessions with the victim and very limited work with the perpetrator. We wouldn't do couple work when DA presents. A victim is never responsible in any way for abuse their receive. I would hope no counsellor would ever see it as a 'couple problem' to be solved.

ShagMeRiggins Thu 13-Jun-19 16:01:20

@porger80, the best description I can give is comparative.

Our first couples counsellor did give us what we needed In the sense that we met each week and my husband and I discussed the sessions and tried to “do better.” So it got us talking, but neither of our behaviours really changed overall. The counsellor spent an awful lot of time asking us “so, how was your week” and letting us ramble. There was also much mention of picturing a round coffee table and how couples need to cling together at the centre of the table rather than go to the edges (separately) and make the table tilt. After a year of this, there wasn’t much that was new, or pushing us forward, or giving us any practical advice or exercises that we might try. It became frustrating.

The individual therapy was good for me (I’ve since stopped and am seeking a different therapy—with the blessing of my personal therapist— because it’s clear some of my reactions are rooted in unaddressed childhood trauma). It helped me get much. better, but not yet whole again.

Still, for my husband and me, it was based on a “how was your week” approach. That only works to a certain extent. It didn’t address any potential personality disorders. It did provide insight—from us as individuals.

Certainly it’s possible we are different from other people with our unique set of circumstances (that are yet also all too common). But I spent more time talking about myself as a parent and a wife than I did about myself as a person, and wasn’t pushed. I needed to be pushed.

To answer your question, the retreat counsellor who didn’t muck about was direct, clear, not afraid to give his opinion about why we weren’t working as a couple, and gave us many, many options to work with.

Every excuse for bad behaviour was challenged, and we were given reasons for our behaviour to contemplate. It was essentially three months’ worth of couples’ counselling in three days.

I’d be happy to give more specifics about the approach, but in PM.

To be honest, I think this was a counsellor who had enough of hearing the minutiae rehashed, again and again and again. I think this approach is meant to be direct, for those who need it.

It might not work for everyone.

ShagMeRiggins Thu 13-Jun-19 16:34:55

I should add, we went into the weekend with the fear that it could “make or break” us, and with the conviction that if we did “break” we would come away with an understanding of a way to break with each other without breaking the children or the family (though changed) that we had created together.

I suppose it all sounds a bit Goop and wanky, but we were both determined to do what’s best for a) us, as a couple and/or as individuals if we can’t work as a couple, and b) for the children, again collectively and/or as individuals.

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