Sunday, March 20, 2011

Commitment to Marriage Counseling

    Kim Leatherdale

    I enjoy Kim Leatherdale’s, LPC, ATR-BC, NCC  blog, Creating Rewarding Relationships

    In a recent post she lists some of the signs of a lack of commitment to couples counseling. I think this is an excellent list and hope you will also check out her signs of commitment to couples therapy.

  • Not doing your "homework" between sessions
  • Only thinking about and processing the issues while you are in session
  • Avoiding true participation in session and keeping everything "light"
  • Trying to run the therapy yourself by determining what you "can" and "can't" talk about
  • Being a sporadic visitor to counseling
  • Hiding information from your counselor
  • Undermining counseling by picking fights, minimizing what the counselor teaches, and bad behaviors
  • Being a "yes man" - saying yes to what your counselor teaches and then not doing it
  • Refusing to make behavioral changes
  • Being disrespectful of the counseling directly or indirectly when not there
  • Blaming (overtly or covertly) your partner for everything
  • Not allowing your couples' counselor to speak to your individual therapist
  • Dropping out of therapy without processing the end with your counselor

A lack of commitment can reflect one partner’s power being the deciding force in seeking therapy. Take time to agree on seeking therapy, even if this means delaying choosing a therapist.

2 comments:

TherapistInOrangeCounty said...

Marriage counselling continues to be identified by many people with different points of views. Some are brought with the concept that marriage counselling is made for couples who have problems in relationship or are on the brink of splitting up. Additionally, a number of people believe that getting any kind of counseling isn’t a necessity in that people ought to keep their problems to themselves and do not want to have their soiled laundry strung out in public places. Some consider it an embarassment as sensitive information about the partnership of both partners is given to a stranger. Nonetheless, when does a couple need to go to their marriage therapist, and is it necessary in order to endure the difficulties of marriage?
therapist in orange county

Kim Leatherdale, LPC, ATR-BC, NCC said...

TherapistInOrangeCounty,
Having just revisited this post after a few years, I note you weren't answered. I hope you found some resolution, but in case you haven't I'll answer your two questions:
1. "When does a couple need go to a marriage therapist?"
Unfortunately, troubled couples wait in average 6 years before asking for professional help; a ton of damage can happen in 6 years! I'd rather see couples go to therapy early in their marriage (ideally when engaged) to find out what relationship skills they need to learn or polish to help their relationship thrive. Go before trouble to avoid future issues. My coaching practice is geared to help new couples learn great skills so they don't need me as a therapist years down the road.
If a couple is in pain, thinks they have tried the things they know, and feels the pain isn't lessening, then they should seriously consider therapy. Today.
I highly recommend committed couples who are considering a breakup go to a therapist to clarify where they are and if they feel they are on the right track. At the very least they can use therapy as a forum to help them untangle everything in a civil way. If they both truly want it to work out, therapy can help them realize they can heal the relationship and HOW to do it.
2. "Is [therapy] necessary in order to endure the difficulties of marriage?"
I'd answer no, but I don't see marriage as full of difficulties to endure. However, I do believe smart couples understand the better their relationship skills, the better their chance to have a good strong long-lasting marriage filled with love. Therapy isn't a necessity, but it can be a blessing.