Menstuff® has compiled the following information on Marriage.
Marriage (MFCC) Therapists - Good or
Confessions of an Unabashed
Marriage (MFCC) Therapists - Good or
A recent New York Times article warned people about the potential
risks of seeking professional help for their marriages. It is without
question that many, if not most therapists are not trained to offer
marriage-friendly therapy. In fact, many therapists see divorce as a
rite of passage. Unfortunately, people in the throes of marital
problems aren't always able to recognize that they are being nudged
right out of their relationships in the name of personal growth. But
Nonetheless, it's important not throw the baby out with the bath
water. There are some therapists who really make a difference in
couples lives. Not all therapists are created equal.
Here are some guidelines to consider when seeking professional
help to improve one's marriage.
- Make sure your therapist has received specific training and is
experienced in marital therapy. Too often, therapists say they do
couples therapy or marital therapy if they have two people sitting
in the office. This definition of couples therapy is ludicrous.
You cant identify the type of therapy that is taking place
by doing a head count. Marital therapy requires very different
skills from doing individual therapy. Individual therapists
usually help people identify and process feelings. They assist
them in achieving personal goals. Couples therapists, on the other
hand, need to be skilled at helping people overcome the
differences that naturally occur when two people live under the
same roof. They need to know what makes marriages tick. A
therapist can be very skilled as an individual therapist and be
clueless about helping couples change. For this reason, dont
be shy. Ask your therapist about his or her training and
- Make sure your therapist is biased in the direction of helping
you find solutions to your marital problems rather than helping
you leave your marriage when things get rocky. Feel free to ask
him or her to give you a ballpark figure about the percentage of
couples he or she works with who leave with their marriages intact
and are happier as a result of therapy. Although your therapist is
unlikely to have a specific answer to that question, his or her
reaction will speak volumes. You should end up feeling confident
that your therapists primary goal is to help you work out
your problems so that you can remain together.
- You should feel comfortable and respected by your therapist-
that he or she understands your perspective and feelings. If your
therapist sides with you or your spouse, thats not
acceptable. No one should feel ganged up on. Good marriage
therapists understand both sides of the story and help couples
negotiate solutions. If you arent comfortable with something
your therapist is suggesting- like setting a deadline to make a
decision about your marriage- say so. If your therapist honors
your feedback, thats a good sign. If not, leave.
- The therapists own values about relationships definitely
plays a part in what he or she does and is interested in when
working with you. Since there are few universal rules for being
and staying in love, if your therapist insists that there is only
one way to have a successful marriage, find another therapist.
Also, although some people think that their therapists are able to
tell when a person should stop trying to work on his or her
marriage, therapists really dont have this sort of
knowledge. If they say things like, It seems that you are
incompatible, or Why are you willing to put up with
this,? or It is time to move on with your life,
they are simply laying their own values on you. This is an
unethical act, in my opinion.
- Make sure you (and your partner) and your therapist set
concrete goals early on. If you dont, you will probably meet
each week with no clear direction. Once you set goals, you should
never lose sight of them. If you dont begin to see some
progress or start to feel somewhat better within two or three
sessions, you should address your concern with your
- Its my belief that couples in crisis dont have the
luxury to analyze how they were raised in order to find solutions
to their marital problems. If your therapist is focusing on the
past, suggest a future-orientation. If he or she isnt
willing to take your lead, find a therapist who will.
- Know that most marital problems are solvable. Dont let
your therapist tell you that change is impossible. Human beings
are amazing and they are capable to doing great things- especially
for people they love.
- Most of all, trust your instincts. If your therapist is
helping, youll know it. If he or she isnt, youll
know that too. Dont stay with a therapist who is just
helping you tread water. Find one who will help you swim.
- Finally, the best way to find a good therapist is
word-of-mouth. Satisfied customers say a lot about the kind of
therapy you will receive. Although you might feel embarrassed to
ask friends or family for a referral, you should consider doing it
anyway. It increases the odds youll find a therapist who
will really help you and your spouse.
So dont give up on therapy, give up on bad therapy. You be
the judge. Theres a lot to be gained from seeking the advice of
a third party who can help you find simple solutions to lifes
© 2005, Michele Weiner-Davis
Source: To interview Michele Weiner-Davis, Author
of the newly released paperback, The
Sex Starved Marriage and Divorce Remedy,
call The Divorce Busting Center, 800-664-24353 or 815-337-8000
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The "Marriage Penalty" has nothing to do with taxes.
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