So the Other Day at the Marriage Counselor . . .

November 1st, 2013 by Dionna | 4 Comments
Posted in Consensual Living, Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, My Family, natural parenting, Strive for Balance

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I’ve been debating whether to publish this post for awhile. For some reason, sharing that one is in counseling – personal or marriage – is fairly taboo. Or it sets off a wave of sympathy from friends and family:

“Oh, we’re so sorry. Are you guys thinking about divorce?”

Um, no. We actually really love each other and want to build our relationship. Hence, the counseling.

Our relationship is not even particularly rocky right now. Instead, we saw where things were going, realized we needed some professional intervention to remind us how to communicate and connect, and took steps to improve.

When our counselor asked us why were there, we had a ready three-fold answer:

  • To learn better communication skills, so that we would not get so frustrated trying to talk to each other (and, sometimes, to our kids);
  • To learn healthier ways of managing frustration and anger, when we do have problems communicating; and
  • To find more ways to connect with each other and as a family, so that love and respect will always be the solid foundation of our lives.

Our counselor uses a cognitive behavioral theory in her approach to changing behavior. In cognitive behavioral theory, counselors help individuals recognize maladaptive behaviors and patterns in thinking. Together, they create a plan to help the “individuals challenge their patterns and beliefs and replace” their maladaptive thoughts and behaviors with “more realistic and effective thoughts, thus decreasing emotional distress and self-defeating behavior.”1

We’ve only been going for 3 weeks, so I can’t tell you whether or not I’m a fan of cognitive behavioral theory yet. I’ll let you know.

Have you every done marriage or family counseling? What was helpful? What was not?

4 Responses to:
"So the Other Day at the Marriage Counselor . . ."

  1. Momma Jorje   mommajorje

    I think going to therapy is a very good sign. My ex-husband wanted me to go to therapy, but I was already gone. I had no faith left that things could ever be realistically be corrected for any amount of time.

    Best of luck to you & yours!

  2. Paige @ Parenting Gently   parentinggently

    I love that you say counseling is not for people “on the verge” of divorce. My husband and I have enjoyed counseling and marriage retreats. It is so strengthening and refreshing! We do preventative maintenance on everything in our lives but we wait till our marriages are in the death throes before we seek help? Just doesn’t make sense to me.

  3. tree peters   momgrooves

    we just started couples counseling with a therapist who uses CBT too! Only two weeks in, but I’m interested and curious.

  4. Amy Phoenix   presenceparents

    I’ve been meaning to comment here, Dionna. Yes, we’ve done marriage counseling (and still do as needed), and family counseling (and still do as needed). Michael and I made the individual and collective decision to put our mental and emotional health as top priority – instead of some aspect of our lives that we just leave to the wind. Counseling or coaching can definitely be a help with that.

    Cognitive behavioral therapy can be very successful with people who want to change their mind so they can change their actions. I feel this is a very helpful way to actually make changes since our actions are based in our thoughts and feelings. I know there are people who will argue this, but there’s a basis of thought and/or feeling beneath all choices and actions. Once we decide to dig in there and choose to retrain our minds, the world is wide open – and so are the possibilities for our relationships.

    Interestingly, Michael just wrote a little bit of a post about his experience with anger and rage here – He plans to follow it up at some point with how he’s working through the conflict. CBT continues to be useful for everyone in our family.

    I also appreciate narrative therapy and solution focused therapy. Both are solution focused of course and narrative therapy helps people rewrite the stories of their lives, which can be profoundly transformational. I imagine your therapist will offer a blend that works for you. If you have questions or need support along the way, you know where to find me.

    I commend you both for your commitment to putting in what it takes to learn and apply effective communication. Not only are you giving a gift to yourselves, but also to each other and the children. I hope you celebrate this gift – it really is something special.

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