The truth about counseling
When clients tell me they have tried traditional marriage counseling and it did not work, I have a few hunches as to perhaps why. I started asking questions over seventeen years ago while working in the dating industry. I found that clients looking to be matched still had lingering feelings about their past marriage.
I would be curious if they went to counseling and how long. They would talk about their divorces — the vial circumstances surrounding it. There were still lingering feelings (even if it was anger) most of the time. Something unresolved. And often, they believed that “pulling up their big boy/girl” pants and getting on with it by finding another relationship was the way to go.
Broken dating models
For a while, I was convinced too. But when I started my own business, I wanted to take what I learned from the dating industry and build it to make it a better model. I wanted a model that included a latent period with a self-love driven program between the last relationship and moving on to the next. And one that helped people rekindle their romantic relationship because what if the real trouble was that they didn’t know how to have a relationship?
What if they learned from broken models, despite best efforts? And what if, also despite its best attempts, marriage counseling was not just antiquated but set up unintentionally to fail?
How much is too little?
Typically, when I ask how many times a couple tried conventional counseling, they’ll max out at five, and usually, they’ll have tried more than one. (Someone didn’t like this counselor or that one.) And that right there is a problem. How can anyone expect anything to change with such a small amount of time or effort? Most sessions with a counselor are 45-50 minutes.
So I may truly stink at math, but even I know that can’t add up. Approximately 250 minutes spent to change lifetime patterns. Try that out at the gym with weight loss. See how that works. 250 minutes of working out to change your body.
Longer counseling does not equal better results
And in case you think going longer will produce better results, let’s swing the pendulum to people I’ve talked to who have gone for longer periods. Turns out, many people confided in me that they hadn’t fully confided in counseling for fear of being judged. I also learned the stigma of going to therapy still exists for us Gen Xers. Thankfully, that’s changing with Millennials. But it’s still there. So without disclosure, it is very difficult to get traction for moving ahead.
The trust is not necessarily built with marriage counseling. Afraid to tell on yourself or your partner. Incoherent loops of communication between multiple counselors. Knowing you may be diagnosed with something if you use insurance. And that your private information will be one day be uploaded to a giant cloud in the sky just waiting to be hacked into.
There's a new way to have relationships
But why would you want to share when you have no clue as to how long your relationship is going to last anyway? Your relationship with your therapist, that is. Without a map or a plan of action with measurable impact, it can feel like waiting on a marriage proposal. How much time do you want to keep investing with little to no feedback or commitment?
If you can relate to this and would like to try something new, contact me today at (864) 270-9303. There is a different way to have relationships. My unique coupling education works and helps couples build stronger relationships that last.
You can also check out my page on Psychology Today here.