We don’t talk anymore
We don’t talk anymore. Calling therapist to help you in your relationship is a big step to take. Inviting a third party to join you both as you try to work out a more positive way forward takes courage, ingenuity and strength.
Unless there is clear and present danger within the relationship in the form of physical or emotional coercion from either spouse to the other spouse or to children then therapists clearly should not take sides with either of you and there are number of quite obvious reasons for this.
Firstly, the view a therapist has of a relationship is based on what is presented during the fifty minutes that a couple is with them. So much else happens within a couple’s relationship outside of this fifty minutes, within the privacy of the couple’s relationship, that believing the truth lies in what is shown within this brief fifty minute window is flawed and dangerous to the therapy process.
Secondly, each person within the relationship is doing their best to keep their head above the water and possibly to keep the relationship together. By taking sides the therapist will probably leave one person from the couple feeling judged and unseen. This will most likely reinforce the feelings that the other partner has of them.
Thirdly, taking sides and believing one party over another will send the therapeutic process down a blind alley. It will make each party keen to be understood and heard, less to save the relationship but more so to gain the therapist’s approval so that when therapy is over the “winning” party can say to the other, “I told you I was right, even the counsellor agrees with me, you must change and be the person I want you to be or our relationship is doomed!” Therapy is a two way process not a one way street.
Therapy is more about the healing of wounds, the accurate understanding and interpretation of each other’s behaviour and the removal of the sense we have when our relationships are struggling that the other person knows we are in pain and is making our pain worse on purpose.
Therapy is also about learning to signal distress in a reasonable way that can be understood clearly by our partner. It is also about enabling our partners to learn how to comfort us in a timely, appropriate, fashion that signals to both of us that we are each committed to each other and look after each other in such a way that shows to each of us that we have a healthy future together in mind.
If for any reason a couple do not get benefit from working with a counsellor then I advise them to come together as a couple and think about what they need as a couple. Maybe what they need is to not work with that particular counsellor but to move on and find another therapist to help them.
In coming to this realisation they may be protecting their relationship by seeking more useful help for the future and, in so doing, reaffirming their commitment to each other.
Please contact me if you would like to find out how I can help, there will be no obligation for you to book an appointment, you will just be researching your options.