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!.....
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.
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!