Re: First Session of MC
I'm sorry to hear about your horrible experience with marriage counseling. It sounds from what you wrote that you saw the counselor by yourself and that there were two counselors (as you referred to them as they). There are different approaches, but I generally feel that it is counterproductive to see a marriage counselor without your spouse. If the counselor feels sorry for you, it may be difficult for him/her to be impartial when your wife joins the therapy, which may make her feel that the therapist is on your side.
No real change will happen instantly and it may get worse before it gets better, but if your therapist is good, it need not be torture. Although my sessions with couples can get intense, they usually walk out of the room feeling better than they came in. That's because we focus on them connecting and relating to each other as opposed to me giving them a bunch of advice.
In order to save your marriage, you will need to go to the root of the conflict. Expecting the other to change because you did will not solve the ultimate problem because it's usually not really about the issues, it's about what you are both triggering in each other. While suggestions to show interest in each other, etc... can be helpful, it's only a band-aid. It won't change the core issues that are preventing you from making progress. Of course, not knowing all the details of your situation, it's difficult to comment specifically, but this is a general overview of what I personally have found to be effective working with couples. Best of luck and hang in there.
Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, LCPC, Founder of
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"Marriage Counseling from Our Home to Yours"