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Speaking As A Former Marital Counselor

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Stillstings posted 2/24/2014 02:23 AM

I am very sorry so many people here were given bad advice. Some things I've read here are horrifying and would never dispense to clients. I firmly believe cheating is an individual problem. Not a marital one.

I also want to say that while there is so much ire for counselors, most do not go out of their way to hurt you. Therapists are told the only reason they go into the field is to treat their own problems. Yes, people who enter the field do want an understanding but many are weeded out. Thankfully. I sought therapy for some of my own issues and met a very toxic individual. I quit him after one session because I was wanting to get up and run away physically.

Most counselors want to help. We are not given tons of advice or support when it comes to marriages. It's hard. We can't do it on our own. Mental health is disregarded in general. Helping 2 people with their issues? So hard. As I mentioned in a previous post, people lie. How can I help if there is no honesty?

I'm a betrayed. I just want people to think about how they speak to their therapists and the advice they give. We don't know everything. Speak up. If you're not getting what you need say something. If you're judged they are not meant for you.

My best therapist? He said thank you for pointing out what he wasn't hearing.

[This message edited by Stillstings at 2:30 AM, February 24th (Monday)]

Jrazz posted 2/24/2014 04:18 AM

VERY well said.

Neverwudaguessed posted 2/24/2014 05:50 AM

Thank you for posting that; eloquent and to the point.

Justgreatnews posted 2/24/2014 07:09 AM

We both agree our marriage counselor is a great woman. Nice, smart, and insightful. Can't imagine a better source to help us handle the issue.

She generally follows the standard lines of reason, probably just due to logic/success, but always is able to adapt it to our situation.

I can tell she fully understands me, despite the fact that I'm likely as stubborn a case as she's seen. She's empathetic, but tries (gently) to push me toward the best path for recovery. Doesn't sugar coat things.

MovingUpward posted 2/24/2014 07:09 AM

Thank you for sharing this. Especially the encouragement to speak up. I had always expected the MC to be the expert and that I should follow them but I failed to speak up to clarify the situation and all that was going on. An MC can only guide you based on the knowledge of your specific situation and the destination you want to reach.

JanaGreen posted 2/24/2014 11:25 AM

My husband's IC told him he was glad he (my H) was coming to him individually because, as he said, "I suck at marriage counseling." I imagine it IS hard. Especially if, as you said, people aren't honest.

Kajem posted 2/24/2014 11:28 AM

The best therapists I have had are those willing to learn about (from and for) me. They've gone to websites and read, been enlightened, and learned.

hikingwithkoda posted 2/24/2014 11:39 AM

I've been an IC for years, and long ago realized I didn't have the skill set or the temperament for MC. Part of it is the nature of the beast; for many, MC is a last-gasp effort when a marriage is already dead. If you gauge your success by number of marriages "saved," then you will be very depressed. Also, you have to have a lot of tolerance for conflict taking place right in front of you. Very uncomfortable for me.

Also, it seemed like I could resonate with whatever issue couples brought in. Much like the medical student who imagines herself having all kinds of exotic illnesses while learning about them, I would find myself talking to couples who had similar (although usually more intense) issues as my wife and I. Of COURSE I did; most marital issues are pretty similar, right? Sex, money, affection, trust, etc.

Our current MC is pretty good, but I feel it's tough to balance "fixing" the marital issues with addressing the affair.

Stillstings posted 2/24/2014 11:46 AM

Thank you for the kind replies :).

I felt the need to say something, as I see a lot who act as if their therapist is out to get them. I know there are quacks out there. Same can be said with any profession. It also makes me wonder what is being said because some of that "advice" is plain wrong. Is someone not listening? If not, who is it?

Depending on the stage some people just want cheerleaders. Others want to work. Others don't know what they want. All are okay.

Counseling is not easy for anyone involved. I gave credit to anyone who made that call or walked through the door. That first step is scary. Spilling yourself to a stranger can be terrifying or helpful. None of us pay $30K+ to be assholes I'll say that much.

solus sto posted 2/24/2014 12:10 PM

Please don't take personally comments about situations you are not a part of.

As a medical professional, I believe it's a egregious breach of ethics to participate in any therapeutic activity for which one is ill-prepared. Lack of expertise is a piss-poor rationale for poor quality of care. Making excuses for bad MCs is ludicrous; it does nothing to mitigate the enormous human damage they cause.

I have empathy for almost everyone. But I will not defend poorly prepared professionals who break the first commandment of patient care.

Stillstings posted 2/24/2014 12:30 PM

But I will not defend poorly prepared professionals who break the first commandment of patient care.

Unfortunately there are huge differences between medical and mental care. Mental health laws are terrible. While there are terrible decisions made or neglect in mental health care, I've often seen it as a result of being limited by regulation or lack there of.

Here is an example. Let's say I have a BS and a WS in front of me. WS is angry and says he knows where the OP lives, has a baseball bat in the trunk and will go over there and will beat him to death. Depending on the state, I would be under no legal obligation to report that to the police or warn the victim. I could be punished if he were just blowing off steam and didn't actually do it and the cops were called. I'd be punished if he did kill someone.

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