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Relate - positive or negative experiences

(33 Posts)
makedoandmend Mon 29-Jun-09 12:28:53

There seems to be a lot of people here who have a fairly negative view of Relate - I wondered why and if anyone had positive experiences? I ask because dh and I need to do something. Are there any alternatives that people have found to help their marriages?

Have got to go out for the afternoon now but will be back on later. Would be really interested to hear other people's experiences.

MamaLazarou Mon 29-Jun-09 12:37:11

We had a brilliant,
experience of Relate. We went when we first moved in together 3 years ago and were having quite a few blazing arguments. We also had very different views on marriage and children (i.e: I wanted both, he didn't) which we could not see eye-to-eye on.

We saw the Relate counsellor for an hour each Saturday. She was very calm and wise. Not only did she identify and resolve the issues that were keeping my husband from wanting to commit, she also taught us some valuable communication methods which we still use to this day.

After three sessions, we felt that we had sorted everything out. We are now very happily married and expecting our first child... and I can honestly say that we NEVER argue - we talk about things like adults instead. We have agreed that we will go back for more sessions if we ever run into relationship problems again.

Sorry to sound like an advert, but I think Relate is brilliant! grin

mamas12 Mon 29-Jun-09 13:14:04

I went on my own mistakenly sent for psycho sexual reasons (because I didn't give outhmm)but turned out he was an emotional abuser.
They were lovely, non judgey and heard it all before, but at the same time making it personal.

makedoandmend Mon 29-Jun-09 18:42:21

They both sound really positive. I suppose it's down to the counsellor. Are they always so good does anyone know?

brightwell Mon 29-Jun-09 19:30:01

I went with the now ex for 1 session, at the time it felt like a supervised slanging match. But I felt it gave me a forum to air my grievances. And like mamas12 made me realise he was an emotional abuser.

makedoandmend Mon 29-Jun-09 20:59:35

This is very interesting as I've yet to hear any negative experiences and yet I read two yesterday advising someone not to go to Relate. Do the counsellors intervene in the conversations or lead in any way? I'm worried that dh and myself would be too polite with each other in public (actually I wouldn't but he would). Also whether it would cause more problems when we got home.

newgirl Mon 29-Jun-09 21:10:10

we had a very positive experience - fantastic to be honest - i would recommend it

you go for one session anyway to see if it is for you and to talk about how it might work, and then you book in for more sessions so you can check it out without committing to much - if you think you need to, then this first appt is prob a good idea

we had 7 sessions and it was great. lovely woman. highly intelligent. she used strategies to draw us out including simple worksheets and she asked some questions eg why are you here, what would you like to get out of the session. And then took the conversation from there. It was not awkward at all. In fact it was a huge relief.

She gave us strategies and made us look at things in lots of new ways. eg how to communicate better/more regularly/to avoid escalating rows and to find the real reason, discussing hopes and dreams - how to make things great rather than ok - honestly it was helpful and not judgemental.

my dh was really pleased with it too - even more so I think. he really opened up as the sessions went by and we came out each time much happier.

DebiNewberry Mon 29-Jun-09 21:16:07

we went with a split agenda. the counsellor couldn't stand me but it was ok. and we did end up getting back together and being properly happy. tbh it helped my dh a lot more than me but ultimately that helped me too!

Maveta Mon 29-Jun-09 21:23:30

like debi I didn´t get the feeling the counsellor liked me (he probably got the same feeling from me). (now ex) dp was depressed and pretty shitty to live with but i felt like it was all heavily skewed in his favour during the sessions. Made me feel like I was going mad. Also leant heavily on talking about our parents/relationship with our parents that neither ex or I felt was really pertinent to the matter at hand.

It was a mutual agreement that it was a load of tosh that stopped us going, we stayed together for less than a year after that.

I think we were in an unhappy place and it would have taken a better counsellor to draw us both out about it. And we just didn´t gel with him, I imagine that is pretty important if you are going to open up to someone. I would still consider going again in the future with dh if I thought it necessary.

makedoandmend Mon 29-Jun-09 21:27:16

Thanks newgirl - that makes it a lot clearer.

DebiNewberry - why did your counsellor hate you?!

makedoandmend Mon 29-Jun-09 21:30:27

Maveta did you go for many sessions? I'm interested that you would still try it again.

I am worried about finding a counsellor we'll both like. Also as I think my DH has aspergers, or is at least on the scale, I'd be worried about a counsellor making me feel more insane than DH sometimes does already!

pickyvic Mon 29-Jun-09 21:33:49

we also had a positive experience of Relate - cant recommend highly enough tbh.

DebiNewberry Mon 29-Jun-09 21:37:10

Because I'm argumentative. If I didn't ask for what I wanted, he said I was predicting failure, and not taking responsibility for having my needs met. If, on the other hand, I did, he would say I was acting like a parent and taking responsibility away from oh.

I pointed this out and he said he had to speak to his supervisor, then came back and said we had a complicated relationship... I may have rolled my eyes.

makedoandmend Mon 29-Jun-09 21:51:48

LOL at 'I may have rolled my eyes'.

I have to say you sound like me - frankly I'm worried grin

hambler Mon 29-Jun-09 23:06:30

I found it worse then useless but it is great to hear other stories of positive experiences

makedoandmend Mon 29-Jun-09 23:15:42

Why was it so useless hambler?

whatanothernamechange Mon 29-Jun-09 23:18:18

Well I found our first appointment harrowing but helpful. I did feel it was helpful to DH as he was able to say a lot of stuff that he'd not said to me.

kikid Mon 29-Jun-09 23:29:31

'Our' experience was quite one sided the counsellor was an older woman who dismissed me & favoured my ex, she also overtly flirted with him.
I found her overpowering & belittling, she was unprofessional. I was alot younger then & if it was now, i would report her..

cestlavielife Tue 30-Jun-09 14:57:56

"I read two yesterday advising someone not to go to Relate. "

it is not recommended to go for couples counselling where one person is abusive or controlling or manipulative. (domestic violence/abuse)

makedoandmend Tue 30-Jun-09 19:42:15

ceslavielife - thanks for the explanation.

Have booked up a session so finger's crossed. Still interested to know other's experiences - including the men if there are any around??

YanknCock Tue 30-Jun-09 23:33:08

I went with XH for a few months. I think it helped for a while, in that we managed to stay married for another two years. We also went to a private sex therapist before we finally split.

Initially when we went to Relate, we had different agendas. I wasn't sure I wanted to stay, and XH said he wanted to make it work. At the end we were on the same page about trying again, but it took me a while to get there, and it probably wouldn't have happened if we hadn't been to Relate.

At least when we finally did split, it was because we'd had problems from year one, and we felt like we'd done everything we could to fix it. If we'd split without going through all that, I might have wondered later if I'd been too hasty. (Nope, as it turns out!)

commeuneimage Wed 01-Jul-09 07:29:02

My husband refused to go, but I had half a dozen sessions on my own with a Relate counsellor and they helped me a great deal. the counsellor was sympathetic and non-judgmental. I'd confided in lots of friends but it is different talking to an experienced counsellor. Also she said usually people only need about 6 sessions to sort out where they're going - it's not like committing yourself to years of therapy - so very well worth trying. Let us know how you get on?

makedoandmend Thu 02-Jul-09 20:45:36

Thanks everyone for your comments - they've really helped make up my mind to try it - have booked up for the initial session so am just waiting for a date. Feel at least I'm doing something - whatever the outcome.

Commeuneimage - will post again on here when I've been to the first session (or if it goes badly under AIBU wink) . Just hope dh and I don't go into polite mode in front of the counsellor - a distinct possibility hmm

aRLcat Fri 03-Jul-09 01:00:00

I went to Relate alone because I needed counselling and the issues were relationship specific.

The counsellor was crying by the time I'd finished 'sharing' details of my situation. The next time I went I found myself telling her I was feeling just fine, etc (I was far from it).

Didn't go again upon the realisation that I was spending blah knows what to reassure the counsellor hmm and in that, unsurprisingly my own need of objectivity and support wasn't being met.

I understand the place of empathy in a counsellor but I couldn't endure her level of emotion on top of my own, besides, I already had plenty of emotionally involved people to talk with!

Tortington Fri 03-Jul-09 01:08:36

it was brilliant - in that the things that dh had normalised - the way he spoke and acted - were so very utterly not with a stranger in the room

imagine saying some of the shit you put up with regularly to a stranger - but somehow its normal in your house.

and dh had to face that.

he did comment that it felt like a dh bashing session and the counsellor was trying hard to get him to talk about things that pissed him off about me - but he struggled.

we were taught some techniques - but we don't use them now.

its the recognition of whats normal and whats not by virtue of there being a third person in the room.

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