Post # 1
I am a fairly regular poster on here if I see something that I want to give me measly two cents worth of input in I will go for it. As I have read some of the posts.. I see a lot of the same or fairly similar responses when people ask questions about issues in their relationships, problems, etc.. the response often times is “counseling” in some form.
Let me start this thread by saying that I am in NO WAY suggesting that counseling doesn’t work or that it is “overrated”. I am very familiar with counseling, as I have had many family issues with it. My Fiance is also very, very familiar with counseling. I just see the response a lot and want some feedback from the Hive on what your experiences were or what your thoughts are?
Bees who have seen a counselor.. did it help? Bees ( married, engaged or unmarried) who have not seen a third party… would you try it? Do you think that marriage/relationship counseling is a “taboo” subject? Just curious!
Post # 3
Fiance and I went to a couples counselor when we got engaged, partly because a recurring problem flared up around that time and partly as a sort of pre-marital prep thing (not through anything organized, but a general agreement that we might want to see someone who would be able to prepare us for common issues and to help us communicate more effectively).
We found it extremely helpful, and it helped us determine what some of the underlying issues were; Fiance is continuing counseling on his own since he found it so helpful, and I am trying to do more journaling and be mindful of the things I learned during my own one-on-one counseling sessions when I used to go regularly.
I vote an emphatic yes!
Post # 4
Sometimes it is suggested too often imo, when just talking to each other honestly would be sufficient.
However, my Darling Husband and I did do (required) pre-marriage counselling. It was a good experience and I think we got something out of it. We didn’t go in with any particular “issues” though so I can’t speak for it in that respect.
Things would have to get pretty dang bad before I asked my Darling Husband to see an actual trained counsellor with me, but I would definitely seek the advice of several couples that I consider mentors if things got tough. We’re really lucky to be in a small close knit church with several couples (married between 15 and 35 years) who, before we were married, offered any help or advice we need down the road. Very sweet of them. I hope we never need that but it’s nice to know they are there.
Post # 5
I’ve never gone specifically for relationship counseling, but i’ve done quite a bit of therapy in my life. I think it is really important in drawing you out of yourself, and letting you see patterns and habits that are damaging. For couples, I think it can help them see their dynamics and why those dynamics may or may not be good, and also gives a neutral party to point things out. It can be such a good tool!
Post # 6
I have never been but Fiance and already said that if our marriage got to the point where counseling was needed we would go. We will try everything we have to if for some reason our marriage was in need. This is for life.
Post # 7
FH and family say it’s a ‘must’. Although I don’t understand why this is. The only reason we will be doing it is becaue our officiant requires it.
FH and I have a very open, honest relationship and I don’t feel the need for adding a third party, but maybe that will change in the future.
Post # 8
I said no but I’d be open to it even though we went through the Pre-Cana process through the Catholic Church. I don’t believe this was actual counseling. However, I think it definitely helped open up a dialog to make sure that we were on the same page on things. There were a few items that we always meant to talk about but kept putting it off. On the other hand, I would have no problem getting counseling should one of us think that we need it.
Post # 9
I haven’t been, but I would definitely do it if necessary. I’ve had individual counseling that has been absolutely key in maintaining my mental health and giving me some important insights into my own patterns of thought/behavior. So if there were a recurring pattern that was troubling our marriage, I would most definitely seek help.
Post # 10
@Mrs_Amanda: I’m similar to a lot of people who’ve commented here in that I’ve been to individual counseling but not couple’s. However, I’d go in a heartbeat if fiance & I were going through a rough patch. I know individual counseling helped me work through a lot of issues and patterns that were unhealthy. I’m also a huge proponent of learning healthy communication techniques, and I know that straightforward communication does not necessarily come natural to people. It takes work, and sometimes guidance, which is why I so often recommend couple’s counseling.
Another reason I am quick to recommend counseling is that, regardless of how wonderful this community is, there is no way for us to know all the details and complexities of any given situation. I offer advice based on my impressions of whatever issue is raised by the OP, but know full well that my window into the real issue is limited and colored by one perspective. I would hate for someone in crisis to make a decision based solely on the advice of anonymous people in an anonymous forum, particularly when a lot of the issues raised may be addressed or resolved by a few counseling sessions.
Post # 11
*steps on soap box*
Thank you for raising this topic!!!
I am absolutely furious with the women on this board that the first time another bee and her SO have a fight and the first thing they yell is either “leave him” or “you need to seek counseling”. Now, don’t get me wrong… I’m all about counseling. I’m all about therapists and psychologists and anyone who does something to help another human being. But have you been to therapy? Do you know what it’s about?! It’s about admitting that BOTH of you have a problem and BOTH of you want to work it out. Therapy/counseling/whatever does no good when the other person has no desire to change and is unwilling to see there is a problem.
Counseling is a tool… it’s not a magic wand that is going to fix everything just by showing up. I think a lot of the time, people can work through their problems just by talking about things when they’re not upset, or angry, or drunk, or tired, or whatever other circumstance leads them to fight. Which, lets be honest… most of the time is why couples fight. Things in life aren’t always going to be peachy and we’re going to do or say things that we’re not always going to mean or know how to communicate with each other. Which is where counseling comes in… because it’s a middle ground and a ref that we don’t always have in ourselves to play.
Post # 12
@TamiN: Not trying to be rude, but I don’t fully understand your point, here. Your first couple of sentences make it sound like you are very frustrated with people who suggest counseling (because you outright say so), but your second paragraph basically makes the perfect case for recommending counseling to bees. Am I misunderstanding something? In any case, I’ll respond to your points separately since I’m not sure how exactly they fit together :).
For one thing, telling someone that she should look into counseling in a forum where she is asking for help from a bunch of anonymous women who have, at most, a 500-word description of the problem at hand is not at all comparable to telling a poster to leave her fiance or husband, IMO. Like, at all. The latter is assuming a complete enough understanding of the situation to pass (severe) judgment on it. The only times I pretty much always advise someone to leave a relationship without reservation is in the case of physical or emotional abuse, and I’ve found that to be the case for most of the advice threads in here.
Furthermore, I agree completely with your sentiment that “Therapy/counseling/whatever does no good when the other person has no desire to change and is unwilling to see there is a problem.” Isn’t that all the more reason for us to recommend counseling? I mean, if the fiance/husband/wife (maybe I’ll just say “SO” for significant other) or even the poster herself is so checked out of the relationship that he/she is unwilling to put any effort into working on it, then the poster has invaluable information about the state of her relationship.
I love what you say about counseling being a tool and not a magic wand. I agree completely–that is exactly why I recommend counseling so frequently. Because, in my opinion, all couples could use tools to better communicate, particularly when they’re going through rough times (which all bees who look for advice here tend to be, otherwise they wouldn’t be asking for advice on a message board). I don’t get the impression that any of the bees claim that therapy is a magic wand, but rather a catalyzer for communication. Frankly, most of the (more minor) issues that I see on here I feel can only be worked through/resolved by the poster and her SO communicating with each other.
Post # 13
We went through pre marital counceling. It was awesome. We were strong communication wise before that and now we are even better. I think it helps you talk about things. I was not a fan of the idea before we did it, but now Iwould recommend it to anyone getting married!
Post # 14
@mckernae: My post was directed mostly towards people who suggest counseling as a “cure all” to relationships. I certainly don’t scream “counseling” everytime I hear a girlfriend and her SO get in a fight.
It’s a tool… a good tool. But you don’t need to go to that everytime you and your SO have a spat.
I guess the point I was trying to make was, counseling can be good. But sometimes just talking it out between the two of you can be just as good… if you can talk it out when you’re in a rational state of mind. Sometimes having a ref (counselor) is what you need to make it work. Sometimes a counselor can’t help you fix your problems, either.
Every situation and person is different. I don’t think seeking help (in the form of counseling) is going to “fix” everyone’s problems in their relationships. I also don’t think everyone’s relationships should be “fixed”.
Post # 15
I’m similar to others in that we’re doing pre-marital counseling. I think it’s amazing and every couple should do something like that before they get married. We’ve been together for 6 years and there are things we haven’t brought up before (although few) and things we’ve said there that have brought us closer.
I’ve also done counseling on my own when I needed it.
I agree with Tami that communication should be tried before counseling. I think many times, things can be solved if people sit down with a level head and just flat out say what they’re thinking instead of expecting someone to “get it.”
If that’s not working, then yes, counseling is a good next step.
Post # 16
After we were engaged for about 6 months, we decided to go see a counsellor. It wasn’t a requirement by our officiant, but we bouth thought it would be a good idea to talk about any potential issues we may have. Darling Husband also paid for us to both complete a relationship profile survey to see where we fall on our opinions of money, religion, children, personal goals etc. We took it to our first appointment and she was shocked that we were so proactive about our commitment to our relationship. She felt that our relationship was strong and that we fully communicate with each other. She met with us only once more after that but I think it was a good idea to discuss those important issues together though.