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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 5, 2009
    Posts
    68

    Default Relationship Counseling- Have you done it and did it work?

    I'm sure I will get both sides, but I'd love to hear from those of you who have been through relationship/marriage counseling on if it worked or not.

    My SO and I are not married (yet), but we do live together and are in a committed relationship. We've been struggling lately and a few big arguements have cropped up. We're both willing to go to counseling to try to fix them, as we care about each other very much. Some of the issues stem from his parents/his issues and some from mine, and some just from us both being very independent stubborn people lol.

    We picked out a counselor and have an appointment for Jan 14th!

    So let's hear it, anyone want to share your experience with counseling? Good or bad!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 16, 2008
    Location
    AB
    Posts
    609

    Default

    I've been. It didn't work for me and I'm in the middle of a divorce as we speak. But in my case i don't think it worked because my ex refused to even try any of the things the counsellor suggested. All he wanted to use it for was apparently a safe place to vent about everything I've done wrong in the past 10 years. That said, if you are both willing to work on your relationship, I imagine it would work. I actually liked the process and learned a lot despite it not working in my case. Good luck!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 16, 2006
    Posts
    799

    Default

    It depends on how you define "worked".

    Yes:
    It taught us new ways to communicate with each other
    It allowed us to be more open and honest with each other
    I really grew from the experience

    No:
    We did not end up staying together

    In my ex's opinion he would say only no. He believed the goal was to stay together (read change me) while I viewed it as another tool in the tool box.

    A good therapist will call you both out on your baloney so be prepared

    ETA: we stayed together for another 5 years post therapy and I don't think we would have had that extra (mostly decent time) without the help.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2008
    Posts
    2,123

    Default

    Yep, and yep.

    DH and I have been together for 13 years, married for 9. We have gone through couples counseling a total of 3x since getting together. Most of them have just been brief, 2-3 session "tune-ups," but the last one we went for about 8 sessions over the course of 6 months following a major relationship disaster last winter.

    I have always found counseling to be helpful... not so much because either of us learns anything NEW in the process, but there's something about the dynamic of having a neutral 3rd party being involved that seems to make the lines of communication flow much more smoothly. We usually get done with the appointments with a sense of, "well duh, why didn't WE think of that?!" but I've always found it to be a helpful experience.

    Fortunately my employer's EAP program has always covered the couples counseling appointments (up to 3 appointments per person, per year, so me + DH = 6 sessions/year), so it's been free. I believe most EAP's have a similar benefit.
    *friend of bar.ka

    "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2006
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    252

    Default

    I tried extensive counseling with my ex-common law, we had about 10-15 sessions, either me alone, him alone, or us together. He was also battling a recent diagnosis of ADHD and I think this was a huge factor in our arguing.

    So I would agree with west5. Yes, it did help us learn to communicate and break down some walls which lead to brief periods of hope. Best of all it helped me learn how I was contributing to the arguments, and how my own issues and insecurities were being fed by his behaviour, and vice versa.

    We broke up, and looking back at it, going to therapy was almost the beginning of the end, because while she did help us at the time, it helped me realize how inappropriate we were for each other.

    Good luck!
    Member OMGiH I loff my mares clique!!!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    39,989

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    One of my best friends has her own practice in family counseling.
    She gets referrals from doctors and different churches and some from individuals also.
    Most insurances pay for it.

    She also holds seminars, some secular, some contracted with different religious affiliations, for "couples day/weekend", where many just go to learn how to understand each other better, not necessarily because they have problems.

    I wonder if maybe couples should not have some basic counseling before they marry?
    That may help giving the couple a good start and a familiar place to go when some problems may crop up, individually or together.

    Definitely give counseling a try, if nothing else, if things can't be sorted out to stay together, at least you can learn from this enough not to do what didn't work again, once you are aware of it.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec. 11, 2005
    Location
    Southern California - Hemet
    Posts
    1,645

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by honeychile View Post
    We broke up, and looking back at it, going to therapy was almost the beginning of the end, because while she did help us at the time, it helped me realize how inappropriate we were for each other.
    Coming to that realization can be every bit as valuable as finding the way to stay together. It's better to know you're dealing with a bad fit for whatever reasons than to flail around in frustration for years.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2010
    Posts
    668

    Default

    Tried it twice, didn't work both times, but I think it was just too late to save anything.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 27, 2004
    Location
    Yonder, USA
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    2,561

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    I didn't find it useful, but for two avoidable reasons: First, the counselor wasn't terribly professional and really gave me the impression that I was paying lots of money for her to enjoy the end-of-relationship drama as a spectator rather than a therapist. Second, my ex-fiance tried to game the system by saying whatever he thought the counselor and I wanted to hear and would keep everything going along as it had been. On the plus side, I did eventually realize I was stupid for putting up with them and dumped them both.
    ---------------------------



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 25, 2012
    Location
    Montana
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    2,216

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    I have both been in couples therapy as a client and of course offer marital therapy myself. Having been in a client has been really helpful! In my case (as a client) like many others, it really helped clarify things for me nda got me "unstuck" (we did not stay together)

    But....I wonder if we would have had she been a Gottman trained therapist. I love their stuff (they have a dillion books out, tapes, CDs and its all good). When I work with a couple, they come in for the first session together, talk about the issue, then I watch them argue for about 10 minutes. No therapy. then I meet with each one individually (get a good pic of any substance abuse, domestic violence, affairs, and so on), then they fill out a HUGE raft of paperwork on their levels of commitment, mental health issues, family of origin stuff, how they see the role of emotion/feelings, trauma history and so forth. THEN we all meet together to talk about a plan.

    Yes, tedious, but that way I don't wind up jumping into an issue when I don't have all the details.

    At the very minimum your therapist should be warm and supportive of both sides (no beating anyone up), confident enough to interceded but comfortable enough with strong emotion to let 'er roll if it seems warranted.

    Good for you! Premarital counseling can be such a great thing and can avoid a lot of shit later.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2008
    Location
    Dutchess County, New York
    Posts
    4,025

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    Yes, counselling saved my marriage 17 years ago (we've been married 22 years). We were at the point where we didn't even want to be in the same room together, that's how much we weren't getting along! And now we rarely fight and have a great marriage.

    The thing that made a difference for us was that we had a child. If we didn't I'm sure we would have divorced; but we were willing to do whatever it took for him, so he could grow up in a happy family with a Mom and a Dad.

    I think it is great you are going for counselling ahead of time. If we had we might not have gotten to the low point we did. Good luck!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 9, 2009
    Posts
    146

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    My ex and I went to several different counselors. Most helped talked things out and life went on as before - so really no net benefit or loss to going. Two instances stand out, however.

    One counselor made a flip, off the cuff remark during a session that had the consequence of significantly escalating the verbal and emotional abuse in our relationship. In retrospect, what she did was extremely unprofessional and I probably should have reported her to her governing body.

    Despite the abuse, I still believed in trying to preserve the marriage, so we went to another counselor. To make a long story short, at one point she simply told him "You can't treat her like that". That was the end of our marriage. He simply could not take any responsibility for his behaviour. She was a very good clinical psychologist and was incredibly helpful.

    My recommendation would be to find a clinical psychologist who is TRAINED in a proven therapeutic technique.
    Last edited by arghhalter; Dec. 31, 2012 at 04:44 PM. Reason: spelling



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2010
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    Horse Heaven
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    1,840

    Default

    west5 said it perfectly.

    It depends on the couple and the counselor. Not all counselors click with couples. Sometimes one party also doesn't want to play (work through things honestly) and in those cases, counseling provides even more evidence of the dysfunction.

    At its best marriage counseling should be coaching and all couples should go through premarital counseling to establish and discuss the biggies: money, kids, jobs, responsibilities, expectations, and FUN.

    I have learned more about myself through our marriage "coaching" and it has helped me be a better person in all my relationships. I feel very fortunate to have had the coaching.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb. 25, 2012
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    Montana
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    2,216

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by arghhalter View Post
    My recommendation would be to find a clinical psychologist who is TRAINED in a proven therapeutic technique.
    Very true. Which is why I like the Gottmans, also because they are research based and not based on someone's idea of a good relationship. I would add that again, one reason why individual sessions are scheduled is to find out if there is domestic violence/abuse going on, because usually that means a referral before doing couples counseling, just isn't safe (not always but usually). Also, again not always but generally, it can be very helpful to let a therapist know if some remark was not well received. In many cases it can be cleared up pretty easily and can lead to some VERY produtive clinical work (assuming the therapist isn't defensive), although of courrse egregious behavior should be reported.



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