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Old 05-11-2012, 02:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Male or Female Marriage Counselor Best?

We took our troubles to a very good marriage counselor but he's a guy and I feel like he "just doesn't get it." Just as with my dh, I have to stop my feelings and EXPLAIN them! One time I brought in some pages from my journal for him to read because I thought, At least he'll understand if he READS what I'm feeling. He folded the pages up and tucked them next to himself in the chair and said, "Let's not interrupt the session." I felt so frustrated and embarrassed.
Another time was the morning after I had had a total emotional and physical meltdown the night before while trying to solve this major problem with the dh (which I talked about in another thread here). I kept mentioning about "something happened last night" and "it got so bad I got physical" and stuff like that and the counselor never got the hint! A week later the dh spelled it out crystal clear, and I had to chime in, which was embarrassing and overly analytical, like i had to separate my emotions from the telling of it, and he said, "That was last time? Why didn't you tell me???"
I like his approach in general but being with the two guys in the room is like being ganged up on by "guy think." They just don't get me. My original issue which I brought in at the beginning of counseling was, My husband does not listen to me no matter how carefully I get his attention and speak clearly, etc. But I feel sometimes as if the same thing is happening w/ the counselor.
What I want to know is, Is it me? Or would this be different with a woman listening and watching how we communicate? would a woman see the signs better about how upset I am and maybe realize that it's hard to describe things but you can see them written all over my face, if you LOOK??
Sometimes I am so upset by the topics that come up that I start to shake and feel sick and the counselor has never noticed. Except last time I covered my ears (the dh was describing his relationship with an ex, which made me feel sick), and he said, "Are you doing that for real or are you just acting?" Oh, brother!
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Old 05-11-2012, 07:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Male or Female Marriage Counselor Best?

You started by saying he's a very good marriage councillor ...then came the "but". I would consider taking this post to your therapist. I would let him know clearly that you feel disregarded and unheard. Then let him help you work on how you can communicate more effectively. That would be my 0.02 cents.

I was hesitant about seeing a therapist but hubs suggested it. I only had a couple of sessions and although gender shouldn't matter if they are a professional, I personally preferred he was a man. He was in his 40's and his approach spoke to me. That was the style I needed. Even now, some things I "heard" from him at the time have surfaced in my mind and I can comprehend them better now, now that I'm in a different place mentally.
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:37 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Male or Female Marriage Counselor Best?

I thought it was a plus for him to be a man, because I heard that husbands can feel ganged up on or verbally attacked when the ladies are in charge. So I think it's been a good idea that way.

It's just that I feel the problems are being kind of made worse, I'm feeling really split off from my emotions when they are ignored. The 2 men both miss important stuff that I'm trying to communicate, and then I feel like it's not really important so I try to get over it on my own, but i'm getting more and more upset, not less.

The thing is that this is exactly what's happening in the relationship so I don't know if it's me, if it's the H, or if it's the counselor. The H doesn't listen, I have to deal with stuff on my own, he thinks it's all my problem. that's why we're in counseling so why does counseling feel like the marriage?

It's like I'm getting the message that everything's more or less okay, I just need to handle my emotions on my own and all will be well. Which seems like something men believe about women.

Either that or my emotions really are the problem and I just need to deal with them on my own, and leave the H alone? Is it a bad idea to "bother" a husband w/ emotions? how do you deal with issues if the person you're married to doesn't want to listen or help you figure stuff out?
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:49 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Male or Female Marriage Counselor Best?

I'm not sure which would be better, to be honest. I haven't started MC yet with my husband. He is seeing a therapist due to depression and anxiety and agoraphobia. He has been established with this woman (the therapist) so now I am wondering if it would be unethical for her to talk with both of us regarding our marriage? I ask because he has issues with talking to new people... rather than subject him to that, if possible, I'd like to talk with someone who is already familiar with his problems. Would that be ethical though?
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:52 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Male or Female Marriage Counselor Best?

Questar, I think you need to bring this up to the counselor though. Tell him how this feels TO YOU. If he tries to minimize your feelings, don't let him. There is no way you will make progress if you continue feeling this way. And, if you bring something in for him/them to see...i.e. your feelings written down, then make sure your feelings are being stated. From the way you described, your husband is getting HIS feelings out... but you don't seem to be allowed. That is unacceptable.
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Maybe this counselor isn't a good fit for you guys. How many sessions have you had? Maybe you should try someone else, even another man if you think that would make your husband more comfortable. It's pretty counterproductive to go to someone you have all these negative feelings about.
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:56 AM   #7 (permalink)
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My therapist had a blog that I had followed for over a year. I liked the way she approached things and I wanted a women's perspective when I was discussing my wife. For me it was the right choice. I think the blog was the draw in the end.
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:10 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Male or Female Marriage Counselor Best?

I don't think it really matters the sex in general. We have a female therapist and I think for us that's been ideal.

I tend to be open and willing to talk to professionals about everything, no matter the sex.

My wife though I feel is more comfortable talking about how to be sexy, dress sexy and feel sexy with a woman. She feels more comfortable talking about pains and issues with sex with a female.

So in the end it's really about what works best for both of you.

If you can't agree on one, perhaps see two different therapists in the same office (so they can share notes between sessions with your blessing). Then you can both get whatever gender you want. Individual counseling is great.
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I don't think it really matters the sex in general. We have a female therapist and I think for us that's been ideal.

I tend to be open and willing to talk to professionals about everything, no matter the sex.

My wife though I feel is more comfortable talking about how to be sexy, dress sexy and feel sexy with a woman. She feels more comfortable talking about pains and issues with sex with a female.

So in the end it's really about what works best for both of you.

If you can't agree on one, perhaps see two different therapists in the same office (so they can share notes between sessions with your blessing). Then you can both get whatever gender you want. Individual counseling is great.
OK, so, I told the dh that I would like IC w/ a woman and he said, well then I want to do MC with a woman, I don't think we should do it individually. What's that about? I get the feeling he's afraid of the "ganging up" thing if he's not in the room w/ 2 women talking about him! But I am feeling terribly lonely and unheard at this point and I think that happens BECAUSE the dh is there and has all these listening/talking issues. (He's a math geek and language is not his strong suit and he really does not listen well.)
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Well my experience has been that no I've not been ganged up on at all. Our therapist is clearly a neutral party when we are doing joint therapy.

Just because she's a woman doesn't mean that she doesn't understand where men come from. This is her field of study, and she's educated herself on issues/perspectives men typically have.

Well perhaps you can ask for an outline from the therapist of what will be expected during the next session? Maybe he would feel more comfortable if he could prepare himself for what's going to be discussed each time?

As for IC vs MC, we mix in both. Some weeks we do IC, others MC... but mostly we do IC so that our therapist can focus on issues that each of us need to deal with and have time to get some resolution.
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:04 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Male or Female Marriage Counselor Best?

Just one thought... a couple of times you said you mentioned something indirectly or that you reacted in some way (shaking) and you expected the counsellor to notice or get the hint.

MC is not the time to p*ssyfooting around...if something upsets you and makes your body shake...SAY SOMETHING!

Don't expect your H or the MC to read your mind or just know your upset because you dropped hints.

This is not the way to clear and open communication.
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:44 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by waiwera View Post
Just one thought... a couple of times you said you mentioned something indirectly or that you reacted in some way (shaking) and you expected the counsellor to notice or get the hint.

MC is not the time to p*ssyfooting around...if something upsets you and makes your body shake...SAY SOMETHING!

Don't expect your H or the MC to read your mind or just know your upset because you dropped hints.

This is not the way to clear and open communication.
I agree.

This actually might be a good reason to stay with this particular councilor. My H and I had combined sessions with the male therapist. I didn't want a woman figure to empathize with me - I needed to first vent, which I did in an extremely open way, then once I was heard and felt validated in feeling what I was feeling and had things to consider amongst that, I then wanted to gain insight into understanding why I/we/he were at the point that we were. I didn't go in expecting the validation or anything that came, but reflecting back I realize this is what happened. No doubt it's part of the process of trust being earned with your therapist.

I had preconceived notions, naively and perhaps immaturely, of a therapist with a 'stuffy' mindset and/or a woman not really "getting" what was happening between us/with him. I admit that that is likely off the mark in most cases - a professional is a professional.

My thoughts for the OP: this could actually be a really great therapist for you if you decide to hang in there. This could be challenging you in the all the ways that you actually need. Another option could be, yes, to try a female therapist to see if you feel any differently or perhaps you talk more comfortably with women? But personally, I think it might be worth expressing that you aren't feeling heard - just say it plain and simple with no apologies - and see what happens from there.
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:48 PM   #13 (permalink)
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P.S: kudos to you for working on yourself and your marriage.
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:54 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Male or Female Marriage Counselor Best?

Quote:
Originally Posted by questar1 View Post
Another time was the morning after I had had a total emotional and physical meltdown the night before while trying to solve this major problem with the dh (which I talked about in another thread here). I kept mentioning about "something happened last night" and "it got so bad I got physical" and stuff like that and the counselor never got the hint! A week later the dh spelled it out crystal clear, and I had to chime in, which was embarrassing and overly analytical, like i had to separate my emotions from the telling of it, and he said, "That was last time? Why didn't you tell me???"
The above might be a huge clue to the problem you are having with your husband and the counselor. You are doing what a lot of women do. You are not spelling things out crystal clear.

ďsomething happened last nightĒ --- this is so indirect that it tells a person nothing.

ďit got so bad I got physicalĒ --- thatís a bit clearer. But itís not clear enough.

Donít hint. Counseling and marriage communications is not a guessing game. If you donít say clearly what you mean, no one is going to start trying to guess what you mean.

Sometimes we use a lot of words and say very little.

Some individual counseling on how to communicate might help you a lot.
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Old 05-12-2012, 01:45 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Male or Female Marriage Counselor Best?

It sounds like you are on one side of that great male/female communication divide and your husband is on the other.

You are expecting the males to understand you solely through your body language. Thinking of us as being totally and absolutely blind to it is the place to start.

You need to bridge the divide. It really is a very simple bridge to build.

Just be direct. Thatís all you need be, direct. Just speak what you are thinking, donít hold back. Thatís all you need do. As a math geek you will get through to him by being direct.

It really is simple. We cannot read your mind!
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