WHAT SHOULD YOU DO WHEN COUNSELING IS GETTING YOU NOWHERE?
You’ve been having trouble in your marriage for some time now. Instead of quickly pulling the plug on the relationship, you and your spouse tried marriage counseling. You’ve been going for a while, but things do not seem to be improving. What should you do next?
Marriage counseling does not work for every California couple whose relationship is in a bad place. There are several reasons for this, according to a member of the Council for Relationships. An article published in mid-2018 discussed five of the common reasons why marriage counseling may not work as hoped.
Reason number one: One spouse feels forced to be there
If you have a spouse who does not want to go to marriage counseling but is going anyway, he or she may not be willing to do the work necessary to repair the marriage. No one likes feeling forced into doing something he or she does not want to do.
Reason number two: Individual therapy may be beneficial at first
If you or your spouse experienced abuse or trauma in your past, it could easily affect your marital relationship. Couples work may help spouses deal with how those experiences have affected their relationship, but things may not improve unless individual work to recover from those traumas is done.
Reason number three: No clear goals
A therapist can give you and your spouse things to work on, but if you cannot clearly define why you are there, what you think needs improving and what you think it is going to take to fix things, you may not find counseling worth your time. If you and your spouse set clear goals that you are both willing to actively work to achieve, then counseling may prove useful.
Reason number four: Don’t like talking to a stranger
Some people love going to counseling because they can talk about all of their problems in a judgment-free zone. It can be freeing. Others simply do not feel comfortable sharing the intimate details of their lives with complete strangers. If you or your spouse ends up holding back, you cannot do the work necessary to repair the marriage — at least not with a therapist’s help.
Reason number five: Bad therapist
It may not be that the therapist is terrible, it is just that he or she just may not work well with you. If you stay with a therapist who you do not like, or who has biases that are affecting the work you and your spouse are attempting to do, it is not likely to end well.
If counseling fails
If counseling fails for any reason, it is okay. You tried. You have to decide if it is time to walk away or try other methods to revive your marriage. No one can tell you what to do. If you do decide that moving on is in your best interest, filing for divorce may be the right option.