Post # 1
Me and my husband went to our first ‘proper’ counselling session last night, following on from an initial consultation. We are going to try and sort out the issues we have with intimacy and trust, and my husband’s online (sexual) chats with other women.
The female counsellor we have been assigned kept interrupting my husband, kept talking about the dangers of pornography and addiction, even if we’d moved on from those topics onto something completely different, and by the time we left he was really on edge and said he felt sick. She kept correcting things he was saying, and made him feel quite attacked. While the reasons for our counselling lie with him, he does have a tendancy to get defensive, and I’m worried that her approach may stop him from attending. He says he’s willing to try one more session, but if he’s made to feel attacked or helpless again he won’t be going back.
I don’t really know what to do. I do agree that she was abrupt, but I wonder whether it’s because he’s finally being confronted with the truth, and by someone he can’t just shout down (like me), and he’s not coping well with it. In which case, the hurtful truth will keep coming, and if he walks out then what’s the point?
He’s said he really wants to make our marriage work, and he wants to go to counselling, but maybe there’s no point if it makes him so angry. I’m just not sure what I’m supposed to do to help. Do we tell our counsellor next time that he felt attacked? Do we ask for a new counsellor? It’s taken us so long to get this appointment, and the waiting list is so long, that I feel like we’ll be waiting for ages for another counsellor to become available. And what if it’s the same, and he doesn’t like that counsellor too?
In desperate need of some advice!
Post # 2
sounds like you need to try another counsellor. She’s clearly not well suited to your situation, your problems or your personal needs. good luck, I’m glad he’s willing to keep trying.
Post # 3
Therapists are not all created equal. I’d shop around for a different therapist that you both feel comfortable talking to. You’re not going to get anything out of counseling with a therapist you can’t both open up to. Not “clicking” with a therapist happens all the time.
Post # 4
I would try her again. Its probably a combination of him being called out/her bluntness but it might be better the second time. He is going to need to get over it- he put himself in this situation and if he really wants to work it out, he needs to deal with his behavior and being called out on it.
You seem like you two need the counselling so don’t give up. Just ask him to try her one more time. They are professionals and have seen many many people like you and your FI- just remember that. He is used to being coddled and in control and now he is not- of course he doesn’t like it!
Also- if he is feeling angry…tell him to tell the counselor and they can determine if he is angry at HER or the situation..
Post # 5
Not all therapists are created alike. There are a variety of different theoretical orientations that they can take. I often tell people it’s like dating; sometimes you find someone you click with, and sometimes you need to try a few people out before you find someone you enjoy. I would say if he is interested, to try to find another therapist. I would also research a bit about them, and their theoretical orientation to see if it is something that appeals to both of you.
I also tell people that you can’t expect all of your issues to be solved in a handful of sessions. Typically therapists are still feeling you out for the first one or two, since they have no idea who you are or what you bring to the table. From there it’s mostly about the work you both put into it. Give it some time, and know its not an immediate thing. Therapy is tough, it’s not meant to be easy. It’s meant to push and challenge you in order to help make the changes that you want.
Edit: I would highly encourage him to also be seeing a (separate) individual therapist in addition to the couple’s counseling you both are doing. You may also consider seeing someone your self. Therapy is for everyone, and can help you improve upon yourself as well. Everyone has room to grow!
Post # 6
You probably need another counselor. You could go back to her and express your concerns and feelings from the first session, but if that’s her style then she just might not be the right fit for you. You shouldn’t even be questioning whether or not to bring up your concerns with her. Be as open as possible with your therapist, whomever you end up with. I will say that your husband’s reaction may be due to getting defensive now that he’s confronted with what he did wrong. I only say that in case he has this same reaction to the next five counselors you try. When my ex-husband and I went to counseling, he got very upset with the counselor when he dared to suggest that my ex had some unhealthy coping mechanisms. I think from that point on, he pretty much wrote off anything the counselor had to say, which rendered our attempts at counseling fruitless.
Post # 7
Get a new therapist. He shouldn’t feel attacked, and it definitely sounds like she was biased and wasn’t making him feel comfortable. He should be able to talk openly without worrying about being shamed. I would NOT go back, but if I was your hubby I’d be annoyed too. I don’t think it completely falls on him that it didn’t go well. He was probably nervous and embarassed to begin with, and her attitude made it 10x worse.
Post # 8
I would try another counselor. Therapy only helps if a patient shows up. If your husband feels so attacked right off the bat, it probably won’t be long until he is unwilling to go.
I’m all for (eventually) being direct with people about the problems in their lives. But it seems like there needs to be a trust bond with the therapist, first…
Post # 9
Thanks everyone, we have another two sessions, then she is on her annual leave for 3 weeks. So I will suggest to my husband that we keep at it for those two weeks, then if he’s still unhappy we can ask to see someone else.
She did ask us to come separately for a bit, then start coming together again, but my husband said he would prefer us to go together for now, and have individual sessions later on. I may try and suggest that we do individual counselling sooner rather than later.
Post # 10
Maybe it would help your husband to have a male counselor?
Post # 11
I think you are right to suggest individual conseling now, inconjunction with couples. I would highly recommend he see a different therapist than the one you do couples counseling with. Typically, its a no-no for a couples therapist to see someone on an individual basis and as a couple.
Post # 12
YES, sooner rather than later! It’s VERY important that your counselor get to know your sides individually and see how you two interact together so she can better assess where to start working with you both individually and as a couple. Many times, couples do not speak as freely and convey how much something is troubling them about their partner (for fear of hurt feelings, backlash, etc) as they do when they are alone with their counselor. You may say, “He’s not the most helpful with chores” when in his presence, but really mean, “He is such a lazy butt some times, and it drives me up the wall!”
Post # 13
Good luck. I go to therapy a few times a month and my therpist is great, but I am so scared to brign Fiance with me.
I hope you find another one that can better suit your needs and good luck!!
Post # 14
After reading your previous post
I would say that your husband absolutely needs to acknowledge the dangers of pornography and addiction to pornography, and certainly should not avoid responsibility by changing topics.
If he feels bad during the counselling, well so he bl***dy well should, considering his past behaviour.
The whole thing is not just about whether he likes the counsellor but also about whether you like the counsellor and find her helpful. (Your husband should stop thinking about himself and start thinking about you.)
Also it seems to me that already your husband has refused to take the counsellor’s advice of having individual sessions before having joint sessions. Why? You say he doesn’t like being ‘corrected’. By this do you mean he doesn’t like being challenged or his statements clarified? Is it just the fact that your counsellor is a woman and he has problems seeing women in anything but a highly sexualised way? Clearly unless he is prepared to admit he has a problem then the counselling cannot go any further.
There is nothing to stop you saying what you want to happen. There is nothing to stop you insisting on going to individual as well as joint counselling.
You’ve put up with much more than most people. I think that it is time for you to decide what you are going to do. You don’t have to be a door mat. You don’t have to keep suggesting things. Just state what you want and what you are going to do.
Post # 15
I strongly urge you to find another counselor. If he comes away feeling the same, or the “advice” is the same… then maybe it’s not the counselor. The issues he exhibits would be concerning to any counselor. However, style is very important. If you don’t click with the counselor, you’re not going to have effective treatment.