Post your experiences with professional counseling - Talk About Marriage
Experiences in Counseling Have you been through professional marriage or relationship counseling? Are you considering it? This section is for topics related to seeing a therapist.

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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-14-2008, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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Post your experiences with professional counseling

This new section is for people to post their experiences and Q&A's regarding professional counseling. While I started "Talk About Marriage" as a way for people to get feedback from others and support others going through relationship problems, I'm still someone who strongly believes in the counseling profession.

At the same time, I recognize that not everyone's experience is always positive, and my experience is limited to individual therapy - not relationship or marriage counseling.

For me, seeing a professional therapist has been an incredibly rich experience where I learned a lot more about myself and my family. It helped me to see "the big picture" of things that were going on in my life, while at the same time helping me to change simple behaviors that were not conducive to my happiness or becoming the person I wish to become.

I hope others will post their experience as well.

Chris Hartwell, MSW

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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-16-2008, 01:05 AM
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Re: Post your experiences with professional counseling

Individual counseling has had its ups and downs for me. I actually had one counselor tell me if I held a rock he found in a 'sacred' grove that I would start to feel better. Needless to say, I did not go back. I had another counselor introduce me to boundaries, though, which I think is what saved my marriage.

I really like the counselor I have now. She puts it in perspective for me. I was telling her of an incident between my H and I and how he was being such a jerk but by the end of the story she just looked at me and said, "Ok. So who was really being the jerk?" She was right.

Counseling has really helped my H. He's starting to make really good progress dealing with his anger and depression.

"I'm a lover of what is, not because I'm a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality."
- Bryon Katie
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-18-2008, 06:28 PM
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Re: Post your experiences with professional counseling

Marriage counseling is helping us to communicate. We seem to dredge up old stuff and go round and round in circles on our own. Our counselor is able to help us stay on topic. She has helped us push past our personal limitations. She challenges us to come out of our safe/comfort zones. It took us a couple tries to find the counselor that worked for both of us but it has been well worth it.
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-19-2008, 10:36 PM
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Re: Post your experiences with professional counseling

marriage counciling was worthless for us. the therapist only either read from a book, twisted our words around to make us fight, or accuse my husband of being an alcoholic. now he won't even consider going to a different therapist
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-01-2009, 11:32 PM
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Re: Post your experiences with professional counseling

We have just had a telephone conversation with a councilor. He asked me where I was in the marriage at this time. I told him that I am ready to move out. He asked us both to write down what we feel is wrong in our relationship, email it to him and then we will make a date to see him. I thought I knew what our problems are/were, but seeing it in writing makes one feel so stupid! My views differ so much from my husbands. The councilor told me that he has a 100% success rate... and I should wait for our session before I make any further decisions. I am wondering if councilling works. I really do not want to go on with this partnership. I will be better off all round getting a divorce. Financially, emotionally and physically.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-02-2009, 09:15 AM
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Re: Post your experiences with professional counseling

I never knew quiet how much i needed grief counseling after a stillbirth until my brother passed a way to ,It made me realize just how much i wouldnt allow myself to share how i was feeling inside i cried for 4 complete sessions.
family counseling has been fantastic for me and my husband our 2 boys and now my brother 2 girls showing us how we can move fowards together,
id say give it a go you have nothing to loseand so much to gain

Not looking back again
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 02:40 PM
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Re: Post your experiences with professional counseling

Has anyone tried counseling to help with a controlling issue and if so what have some of the common factors in making someone a controlling type of person?

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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 05-04-2009, 06:09 PM
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Re: Post your experiences with professional counseling

I have never had good experiences with counseling in the few times I tried to get some during my life. It always turned up of the therapist wanting to share their lives with me and all their problems... I found more help in self help books and that is where I found the most help. In person one on one counseling I found the therapists to mostly be unhelpful and I was not going and paying to hear about their problems , I was seeking help with mine.
Also, once about 15 years ago when I went for some counseling, the therapist asked me if I would date him or go on a date. I was mortified.
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 05-04-2009, 09:37 PM
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Re: Post your experiences with professional counseling

I've had a wonderful experience with my current therapist. I wish I had met her years ago! It is just a matter of finding the right counselor for you! Heck, my counselor is available to me all the time. I'm free to call or e-mail her also. She has no office staff, so it's always a warm and personal feeling at her office.
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-21-2009, 10:09 PM
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Re: Post your experiences with professional counseling

Originally Posted by mommy22 View Post
It's amazing the difference the right counselor can make. I went for grief counseling years ago. I just cried through every session and she gave no feedback to help me through.

However, my marriage counseling was much different. We went to a different center. He thoughtfully listened to each of us and gave us homework. He gave us constructive and objective advice . He didn't hold back in his opinion of what was best for us. He was unbiased as well. He didn't pit us against each other and seemed most concerned in focus on the future and how to make our marriage stronger. He really didn't focus on our past mistakes all that much. He gave us tools to work through hurdles and trudge forward. He helped save our marriage in many ways (although we were already determined to do so (which makes a big difference)).

We sought a counselor who specialized in marriage counseling. It's good to seek someone with credentials who specializes in your specific needs.

I almost didn't go to marriage counseling because of my previous experience and horror stories I had heard from others. I'm glad I gave it a go.

Views on Marriage Counselling:

Just a word on "couple counselling" and how it can be divisive. Views of others on the forum both receiving counselling as well as professional counsellors would be welcome as I really can't understand what this counsellor was thinking of - read on!.....

We used a famous national UK service which declared itself as a marriage/couple counselling service. In total we had 4 sessions, of which two were as a couple and two were just my wife.

The first solo session with my wife was by mutual agreement between all three of us and only because I was due to go up to our old house and organise removals and we didn't want to lose the slot so agreed my wife would meet up on her own. Indeed, the counsellor said that solo sessions were really not what they were about but this once, give our circumstances, she would do it.

At this solo session, for some inexplicable reason, my wife and the counsellor agreed to meet up again without me. This was despite the fact that at the same time, my wife was taking separate and individual professional support sessions at a similar cost to the "couple counselling" sessions. It was arranged despite the counsellors earlier cautions about seeing one partner on their own, and seemed entirely inconsistent and inexplicable. Didn't help that in this organisation, you couldn't communicate with the counsellor directly, but only via a pretty abrupt desk clerk.

The fact that this 4rth session was arranged completely without consultation with me made me lose faith completely in the counsellor. I asked my wife if she felt fearful which not surprisingly she answered "no" to as we have never had shouting match type arguements, and of course there has never been any violence of any sort whatsoever.

My wife still can't explain why she agreed to the second solo session - indeed, it only occurred to her that I might feel it unfair when I mentioned it specifically - but how could it be fair for one side of the couple to be getting two professional sessions a week, and the other partner to be getting no support whatsoever?

We're still on shaky ground, but seeking support from a different counsellor - and trying to get money back from the original one to help pay for it.

But both parties should be aware that if a supposed "couple counsellor" suggests seeing the same one partner more than once in a row, it can make the other party feel pretty hard done by and unless for a very good reason (eg. good reason to fear for safety) should be viewed with caution.

E-mail replies aswell as posts very welcome!

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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-22-2009, 02:43 PM
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Re: Post your experiences with professional counseling

I've had mixed results with counsellors. I went to one once for a month or so, and it was mildly useful, but very expensive.

I've just recently stopped couples counselling. I found that she just didn't have the gumption to tell us what we needed to hear. She was so busy being impartial and non-confrontational that she really was no good to us whatsoever. Either/both of us needed to be told what we were doing wrong. We were basically paying for someone to witness our arguments.
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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-30-2009, 12:36 PM
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Re: Post your experiences with professional counseling

Me and H started couple therapy last week with an ACSW and she described me as a person who needs control over everything around me so I wont fall apart. Is it right for her to point that out in first session. H totally agreed that I was that way. Will this help or further separate us permanately
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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-15-2011, 10:19 AM
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Re: Post your experiences with professional counseling

Not all counselors are good, there are more bad one's than good. My wife and I have been going to marriage counseling for over 3 years and I have been in group for the same amount and one on one. My wife started one on one also about a year ago after I asked her to go.

I know that 50% of our problems are my fault. I know that God gave me my wife so I can find out about all the lousy stuff about myself. I know that I married a woman whom has the best and worst of what my Mother and Father were like.

Counseling has taught me that you fight tooth and nail to keep your marriage. If you have to stand buck naked in counseling and throw spit wads; then you do it!

Counseling has made me understand that intimacy was never on my radar and why. And now it is on my radar and I understand how important this is in a marriage.

It was with counseling I was able to talk about my abuse as a child with my wife and my therapist. I would of never shared that with anyone without seeing how important trust is in a relationship.

Without counseling, no doubt I would be on my 3rd or 4th marriage instead of my first or worst I might be dead.
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-20-2011, 02:48 PM
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Re: Post your experiences with professional counseling

Originally Posted by Debby View Post
The councilor told me that he has a 100% success rate... and I should wait for our session before I make any further decisions.
I hope your counseling works out for you. But I really wonder about a counselor claiming a 100% success rate. Not trying to dim your hopes here, but that sounds unrealistic to me. Unless the guy has only counseled two couples and they're both doing fine.

It just seems to me that anyone who's been a counselor for very long at all is going to run into that one couple that just can't be helped. No fault of the counselor's but the partners in the marriage have to want to change, and not all do.

I hope I'm wrong. But a 100% success rate sounds a little fishy to me.
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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 11:55 AM
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Re: Post your experiences with professional counseling

Maybe 100% means that both parties ended up happy. Maybe not with each other, but happy. ???
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