I have written this for married individuals and couples who are past the self-help point, and due to “common knowledge” think marriage counseling is the answer. Will Marriage Counseling Destroy Your Marriage, Too? So, I say, lets try making the marriage “right”. I had zero failures. In marriage, the happier you try to make your spouse, the better off you both will be. Experience is a bonus. On the other hand, when you pay attention to your dental hygiene, which is an underlying dynamic, your heart will probably heal itself. In reality, it does damage to both individuals, and the marriage as a whole. Once you begin to change the underlying dynamics of your marriage, they will become the “cause” of continual happiness. Its every man for them self. Theirs is a terrible approach to take, because, ultimately, it reduces your marriage to a business deal of sorts. You literally got married for the happiness that comes from love! For them, the rest is guess work. I hope we can help yours. All our clients had horrible experiences before they came to us. Why is getting to know you or the “problems” necessary for a therapist to help your marriage? Couple after couple has sat upon my couch and the problems expressed come from these three underlying beliefs: 1. No two are the same. Weekly email newsletter filled with articles, Divrei Torah, upcoming events and more! #4: Find Someone Who Completes You . He liked how I framed and laid out the ideals of marriage succinctly, and saw the beginnings of a body of knowledge. Marriage is unlike commerce, friendships, or other encounters. They show applicable techniques for how to connect, let things go, and grow their marriage on the foundation of love. Fact is you will not know till you try. Marriage is not about signing some papers or walking down the aisle. I’ve logged over 25,000 client hours as a Marriage and Family Therapist. Worse still, it is common for one spouse to feel that the therapist is able to provide the warm, understanding, and available presence he or she is looking for in the marriage. The most embarrassing excuses for the poor results traditional marriage counseling achieves, ironically come from some of the most highly recognized “experts” in their field. Sure, there are a few incredible therapists, but even they are doing their own thing. What are your expectations from other professionals? A previous article I wrote entitled, “How My Therapist Destroyed My Marriage”– provoked a few strong responses from fellow mental health professionals. But because there is no consistent body of knowledge we didn’t know how to make the best use of marriage. 1. Good marriage counselors know it isn’t the problems that are wrong with a marriage. I say you can use ‘what got you here’ as an incentive to do what you need to do, starting now. Jealous Bitter Older Woman has Ruined my Marriage. So I made it my business to analyze the deficiencies in their approach. Marriage Fitness with Mort Fertel is an alternative to counseling. Putting off your efforts, “giving things more time”, just means more pain and suffering. From my personal experience, having met scores of therapists, its hard to find two who will agree on any particular “diagnosis”. In the case of your physical health most people also want suggestions based on the latest research, to help with improvements from that point forward. There are more plausible excuses for failure than colors on a color wheel. 9. We do not pretend we can help them, and always advise contacting the authorities. Marriage is not common. Issues and problems you experience today will simply cease to exist once your marriage’s underlying dynamics are marriage friendly. Professionals know whats wrong, can tell you why something broke, fix it, and offer suggestions for better care. Someone qualified to diagnose, and fix, any problems; and, if necessary, find and fix their cause. The whole idea behind marriage counseling by psychologists was ill fated from the beginning. This ‘shift’ is the only thing that brings about results. You know if you are not on Instagram, you should be. In the human body a bad heart can be caused by bad dental hygiene that infects your jaw, which then strains the heart. Their profession has no business claiming they can help marriages. We are not talking about cases of physical abuse or of potential threat to one’s life. Don’t buy into the idea that issues and problems have to be “worked out”. And I can’t afford that so I guess my relationship is history.We all have different reasons for our problems. And, for practical reasons, your expectations of advice will almost always be met; its what they do. Individually, some therapists experiment with new protocols of their own design; writing new books and selling “cures” as fast as “latest” diets are created. My heart is broken when I hear about young couples with little kids getting divorced. Here are three ways in which individual therapy may make your relationship issues worse: I am amazed at how therapists can draw conclusions about the other spouse without ever meeting him or her. No, but I am advising you to be aware of the issues that may occur if you are seeing one. But we still encourage men to try. Hard data is good for organizations like ours, because our counselors can tell parents how their children are likely to do if they get a divorce, when asked. It must be pointed out that, for many “reasons”, the idea of working on problems in your marriage seems perfectly logical. You are an individual first and foremost, so communicating “problems” is problematic. You would need a month to fully talk about what happened just last week. We Appreciate You!! It’s for those who reached the point of needing professional help but don’t have the actual information needed to realize how, and why, its dangerous to call a marriage counselor, or where to turn if you need help. No , i just skipped through your “dialogue”. How you communicate your past, or current problems, is never going to be truly accurate because your memory is imperfect. My spouse has all the power. They are rated by things that don’t matter; like they wrote a good book. We skip the symptoms, and go to the heart of “why” your marriage is failing, and what you need to now do to stop the slide towards divorce, and redirect your efforts to love and harmony for the rest of your lives. If you want to save your marriage, for the love of God, don't go to marriage counseling. I am a firm believer in your product and it saved my marriage. When one does something that terribly hurts the other, or their marriage,  the “reasons why”, the causes, are always traceable to things lacking in the couple’s underlying lack of understanding, and it shows up in the way they behave. I cannot tell you its origins, but clearly the idea was along the lines of treating dysfunctional marriages as a psychological problem. Other than infidelity, I have observed that therapy is often the cause for one spouse to throw in the towel and give up. Not to write on a screen. There is no getting around this. Here is one example I have heard over the years from more than one couple: “We’ve been married 20 years and it has been pretty bad, but now I have no desire to work on the relationship and I am ready for divorce.” They went together for years of bad marriage counseling that didn’t help, yet they still stayed together. You might think, from their age and practiced demeanor, that they really understand marriage. You wouldn’t want to stake the success of your marriage on treatments based on these kinds of studies. Bless you, and I hope you look over our approach and why it is so effective, and change your mind. You expect more from them than of yourself (this can be subtle), The focus of the session shifts to blame and self-righteousness. Nicholas 5 years ago As a counselor in training, I find your points very interesting. Brilliant. The goal of marriage help should be to end all problems, permanently. Calling them “concerns”, or using other euphemism, will not help soften the effects. But we are most thankful for those marriages we help. The declining happiness in their marriage was why they became our clients. My Christian marriage, which lasted almost 19 years, ended last year. There are two online programs, one for women, another for men, and both include access to our specially trained counselors. But that’s because our world is generally “behind” in understanding marriage. And, we don’t want you to just stop doing a few things you are doing “wrong” (and wrong in one marriage may be fine in others). Practical simple explanations and approaches such as ours work. “Statistical data” cannot explain the “causes” for unhappy marriages and divorces. Cathy Meyer. After reading Save The Marriage, you may decide to follow Dr. Baucom’s steps to turn your marriage around on your own, or you may still want to go to counseling. That’s evil. Your heart will definitely fail again, later. The underlying dynamics of your marriage, which need to be oriented around happiness and love can always be refashioned into happiness producing actions, and pretty quickly. How is that going to help your marriage?? The wife was told by her therapist that it would be better to work with her privately and “fix” her personal problems than it would be to work together on her marriage with the husband. In fact they learn that a soul is no more than an abstract thought. Most couples who try traditional couples counseling stagnate, suffer even more, or end their marriage altogether. “A few years ago I started seeing an individual therapist…” she begins. Then, because we shift your focus to the positive vision of marriage, and behaviors that are natural to marriage, you soon realize an authentic understanding of marriage. The reason why you have the visible, and often destabilizing, problems in marriage are because you do not act as though you are “married”. At the same time, for an individual who is married and unhappy in part because of marriage problems, this may not … To be happy you need to work both harmoniously and synergistically in all aspects of your marriage. I certainly learned a thing or two from reading it. We want you to be so happy that you can’t take it! But starting there is the opposite of what you should do when you want to improve your marriage! Its just impossible to understand marriage based on data. It may sound complex, but it isn’t so difficult when you start to “get it”. If even half of the myriad ideas concocted by Western psychologists about marriage were useful the divorce rate would be much lower than it is today. The differences between children raised in split homes versus intact homes is not merely conjecture; we have the data (the added burden on kids is gigantic!). Otherwise, all you’re doing if you’re trying to “fix a problem” is sweeping the porch in a dust storm. We can trigger some ugly behavior in our spouse but that does not mean that our marriage needs to be trashed. When I told her how unusual it was, from my experience, for marriage counselors to actually help marriages she said: “Oh, she, (the marriage counselor), wasn’t able to help us stay together, we’re filing for divorce at the end of the week, but we really like her.”. Yes, there is always some personal effort required when you work on your individual flaws, and some pain when you recognize some of your past mistakes. So when only one is “ready” to do some bridge building its not only possible, its nearly inevitable for the marriage to get back on the track it was on when the light was at its brightest. There is the ever present narcissism, attachment to mother, workaholic, etc. Unlike in other professions, where healing protocols are ultimately derived from all practitioners using the same protocols, testing minor changes in a standardized way, then improving upon the same protocols, there are no processes within the broad “school of psychology” to facilitate that. However, this is not what happens in most marriages. Trust in the potential that your relationship has to heal, and focus your energy on your marriage. However, the only information they actually need to know, beyond the fact that you are both suffering in your marriage, is that neither of you are pedophiles, or dangerous in some other way (as those are warning signs which cannot be ignored). Like when your dental hygienist tells you to floss more, or your doctor tells you to use sunscreen. So, as you can gather, the basis for their ideas, diagnosis’s, and treatments, are quite random. besides, little to none of that information can be utilized to help your marriage. That is merely a cheap trick, that almost always backfires. Traditional marriage counseling will not help you to “ get from here to there”. What is causing them to wear unevenly has to be pinpointed. Some therapists claim they are needed for negotiation and arbitration; they think it is their role. Whenever you start on our program, that is exactly the right time; it does not matter when. The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union. I know you can’t put text up, but just throw in a few pics and build an audience there. My track record is in the high 90 percent range of achieving “miracles”. I hope not. I have heard the excuses because many of our clients tell us they want to save their marriage but their marriage counselor told them it was impossible because…. Every client knew exactly what they needed to do, why, and what they should expect. 5 Ways to Tell if Marriage Counseling is Ruining Your Marriage October 30, 2019 Sheila Qualls Patheos Explore the world's faith through different perspectives on religion and spirituality! It is just human nature to make our complaints really sound good so we get sympathy…right? But psychological training for marriage counseling is not standardized. Both of you are individual and complicated people. They just wanted more clients. For those that think I am discouraging individual therapy, know this. Marriage counseling almost always begins with a “what is going on” question. If a marriage counselor can help you in that regard, by showing you how to be a better person and spouse, your marriage would be fine, almost no matter what your other half does. The above is the “fools gold” that some claim as success. It also means there is going to be consistent training, that goes along with the body of knowledge. Almost anything that “happened in the past” (from infidelity, to lying, to …. When your thoughts, attitudes and behaviors are intentionally shifted into “marriage friendly” expressions everything seamlessly shifts into a happy marriage mode. Marriage is a unique venue where selflessness is the most beneficial approach, always. All that you stated above I … You can get out of it and start afresh, creating a great marriage. I never thought so. If you know what you are doing, you know. You need to understand how to create the wonderful underlying dynamics of marriage, as well as avoid feeding your detrimental habits, those that undermine individual and mutual happiness. While these may all be forms of verbal abuse, they can often be dealt with and couples’ behavior can change. Psychologists are not like medical doctors or licensed plumbers; who have to prove they know what they are doing in order to be licensed. I have created a very commonsensical approach that is efficient, effective, and coherent. His philosophy and approach were effective, and he helped many couples. Why go there? The traditional psychological approach highlights your temporary conflicts, and drags them out. With all of the stress that is going on in the world and in the news coupled with managing work, the family, and all of your day to day responsibilities it’s no wonder that so many of you feel anxious! Had I read this before Maybe I would still be married. But negotiation and arbitration do nothing to train the couple for marriage, instead those become the quickest route to failure. Nearly all marriage problems, including poor communication (the most common complaint), are symptoms of the underlying dynamics of your marriage. In marriage you have to use a “different” approach, that enhances, rather than detracts from its unique conditions. It’s true, a good therapist may be able to help an individual overcome their individual flaws, but they should never do so in front of the other spouse. So, the difference between the psychological profession and hard science professions is that any M.D. In most marriages, both partners contribute to the conflict they are experiencing. Likewise, the rules of other venues will not necessarily, or usually, work in your marriage. They make sure the person reaching out is 100% clear, and know how to approach their next steps. For marriages, they have to wing it. Good therapists for marriages, never try to solve problems, or even help couples solve their problems. My philosophy is have a marriage neither want to leave, not be forced to live in a marriage that is destroying them. That’s not a Hallmark invention, its the truth. Yes, there are some “typical” processes most traditional marriage counselors use. Problems within marriages cannot be isolated to a chain of cause and effect. But most neither know that, or how to do it. That’s the right way. And those few who are truly good are hard to find. Jealousy is an issue in one-third of all couples receiving marriage counseling, according to a nationwide survey of marriage counselors. Traditional marriage counseling is a frustrating waste of time. Would you ask a doctor to operate on you if he told you the chances for success were less than 10%? Or, when marriage friendly, they will be the cause of your blessings. Many of marriage’s rules will not work in other venues because you will be disadvantaged. In other cases you could unknowingly end up with a “seasoned” therapist who is on their 3rd or 4th unhappy marriage; you don’t know. However, even if only the wife works on her program, the  “it takes the efforts of both to have success” theory is shattered! There are some counselors who will keep you in counseling for months or years with the “promise” of a better future or better “you”. Although therapists are supposed to be neutral and should take their ego and/or personal agendas out of the session, there are male therapists who have an axe to grind with verbally abusive women and there are female therapists who have a dislike for “controlling” men. A relationship requires two people, and in order to change it the dynamic has to change. Then the question has to be asked. They do not have to be married, or have any ‘true” marriage-specific training. They know they cannot help your marriage, but they want the income. Its a venue of life that is not subjected to the same kinds of problems you encounter in “regular” life. They ask their clients to share their experiences and feelings, so they can work from the problem(s) backwards to the causes and help them find balance. We want you to enjoy the enormous benefits of marriage; not just be relieved of the pain that comes from current misunderstandings. Paul devised an entirely new approach to marriage that empowers individuals to finally understand and cultivate expanding happiness and love in their marriages. Whatever you do, don’t let your therapist destroy your marriage! Am I advising you do to fire your individual therapist? MyDomaine's Editorial Guidelines. Most people naturally expect knowledge and training to be rigorous and consistent for marriage counselors, too. I have been thinking about leaving the marriage because of them and to protect my children too. Because as a group, psychologists have a higher than average rate of divorce! With the right perspective, the desire, and the proper tools it is possible to save even the worst marriages. From a sexless marriage to money issues, ... 9 Bad Habits That Could Ruin Your Marriage. For instance, if your tires are balding unevenly you don’t just want to replace the tires, or you will be replacing them all the time. An example of a ‘whole living organism’ is the human body. They want help and they need a roadmap for healing. The reasons for their reliability have a lot to do with a consistent “body of knowledge” for their particular profession. Her family includes a precious four-year-old daughter, so fortunately I was able to convince her their marriage was not only worth saving, but her marriage could be everything she ever hoped for. But people need to know the true statistics, and WHY they do so poorly. Using “I” statements won’t help. Think of this as a warning from me, a former divorce mediator, who got his referrals from marriage counselors who failed their clients. While before he had hope that the relationship could improve, he was now convinced she had a “disorder” and there was no point in trying anymore as she was the one with the problem, not him. CLICK HERE TO READ MY REVIEW OF SAVE THE MARRIAGE BY LEE BAUCOM, PhD. Some excuses get elaborate, like the armchair diagnosis made from descriptions of the spouse by an angry partner. You need a solid path of specific things to do, that you can do, that will produce specific results. It doesn’t work that way in marriage. Projects left unfinished and half-done chores are droplets of water accumulating over time into a deluge. The Enneagram helped bring focus and understanding to the intricacy of our differences. It seems logical, I know! There are two main reasons you SHOULD NOT talk about your marital problems. Marriage is a complex organism, and you cannot pretend otherwise. This is not the case for marriage. Change that around. But therapists refer to “foundational” studies that don’t specifically relate to marriage problems, nor do they give good indicators for treatments. It is rarely only one person’s fault. Ultimately, you and your spouse need to discuss and decide together what is best for your relationship, as you will be the ones to live with whatever decision you make. ... You must first want help and then pursue counseling. But it is not, and there is however, a MUCH better way to begin your efforts. If you are seeing an individual therapist for your marriage, the best thing you can do is focus on your personal issues. Because of those useful studies we know a lot, but they do not lead to “treatments”. Similarly, when you work on the underlying dynamics of your marriage, the problems (a therapist wants to address) will disappear as a matter of course. Those few horrible marriages are due to truly “bad” (as in evil), or incurably insane people. Their lack of confidence in their own success is an innate problem in and of itself. This is the key! That’s why traditional therapy cannot possibly provide what you need in order to accomplish a happy marriage. But marriage does not work that way. They did not grow up witnessing a healthy relationship. It takes proactive, knowledgeable actions to work the wonders you deserve in your marriage. A business, or government entity, may hire a psychologist to test an applicant’s propensities for stealing and so forth. © 2021 Orthodox Union | All Rights Reserved, {{formatTime(zmanim.candle_lighting_shabbos)}}, 3) Removing your relationship from the center, Is My Marriage Over? He works with couples in person and worldwide via Skype. Forget the “elephant in the room” idea; it does not apply to your marriage. You should always try. The underlying dynamics of your marriage are THE supreme cause of either. It will not help!!! But they do not stand up to willful positive actions that are designed specifically to make your marriage work the way its supposed to. The above statement is an irrefutable “truth”. That rather stupid idea (sorry for the word stupid, but there is no more accurate description) was based on “studies”, too. One should expect a professional to convey a clearly defined step by step way to achieve a happy marriage. Your marriage will not heal itself; marriages never do. Psychologists and policemen should not change professions just because their professions have a higher than average divorce rate, nor does that statistic tell us how to treat marriage problems, at all; they offer no clues whatsoever about true causes of marital problems (which I can, and do, spell out in specifics). I do not believe all individual therapy is harmful for a marriage. Each must address their own flaws in their own time, in their own way. It does not allow for venting or watching people. Returning Home to the House of Faith: What Will the Future Look Like? They help them get their footing back. Diversity is not an advantage. Your marriage is important! Although the fear of things getting even worse prevents many couples from cancelling their next appointment, getting out will not hurt you. It could be alignment, tire pressure, or… no matter what the cause is, you would expect a “professional” to know their stuff well enough to tell you. On the other hand, traditional marriage counselors don’t really understand why couples are unhappy in their marriage any more than they understand marriage itself. They are not rated by successes versus failures. In my mediation practice, where I assumed the role of an unbiased expert moderator to help split asetts and assign roles for parenting, I broke communication into three distinct types for my clients. Once that occurs, the problems that arise can be dealt with effectively, since now they have the tools they lacked before. This article was not easy to write for me because I love so many who chose to sit there with couples. The therapist even asked the husband what he would like his wife to work on. In contrast, because we know what we are doing, we get people back on track when they get discouraged or feel unsure. If anger in your marriage is poisoning your relationship, you should tackle your weak points and assess whether you are angry at your spouse for their shortcomings or yours. At least not what most people would consider useful for marriage help, there is just no way to know. Even the most well-intentioned therapists can be harmful if they are advising you about your spouse when he or she isn’t there. Psychologists are just people, not saints. The underlying dynamics of your marriage have to be learned, and understood. Your marriage should get better, right from the start, as you recognize the simple “toxic” things you do that undermine your happiness, and stop them. What changed now? whatever), that got you serious about trying to fix things, might by some people be used as an excuse to give up. However, that table is now covered with nasty “stuff”. Marriage success comes from what you will do now, and in the future, in spite of any errors you made in the past. Confidential reasons for me that I need to talk about. Even marriage counselors who have good reputations are not usually good at helping marriages. There are many excuses marriage counselors have for their failures, instead of admitting they don’t truly understand marriage. It will only  hurt your marriage even more. They learn nothing about the qualities of a soul in their studies. Unless there is physical abuse or potential threat to one’s life, it is irresponsible for a therapist to encourage divorce without hearing both sides of the story. For that we are thankful. My husband and I went to counseling for years thinking there was something wrong with us, but we finally realized that the counseling was the problem. In most of life’s interactions there is competition on one level or another. Very very horrible. More would crop up in their place. Excuses are not useful. We see GREAT results when only one takes the course designed for their gender. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your insights and experiences in great detail, Paul. By Emily Novak and Echo Garrett . All professions generally have the same literal information that they draw from in their particular field. Not in just five or ten minutes, but often over the course of a few or more forty-five minute sessions. Sign up today. Marriage has “supreme” benefits you cannot find elsewhere. Their “new and improved” is a cover-up, nothing more. They may have a wise “look”. Which brings me back to Jean, our therapist. Do you recall the law of cause and effect? B – The lovely experiences that each and every one of us seeks in marriage. We also have two books. It is time to address the core of your marriage. Enough is enough. But rarely do we hear “I promised to remain in sickness and in health”. It should be the happiest part of your life. The goal of good couples work is that the spouse can become that presence, not the therapist. You need to learn about marriage and all the components that together make for a happy and fulfilling marriage. My husband’s anger is ruining our marriage… If you are searching for a solution to this situation, take heart. Individual therapy is often very helpful. In contrast, to guarantee success means you know your guidance is practical and relevant. Again, because there are no universal approaches in their “soft” profession. Marriage is so great because there are immense benefits you cannot find anywhere else in life. For details and next steps on what it looks like to prioritize your relationship in practical ways, check out my latest book: Choosing Marriage. People get married and treat each other like they treat everyone else; but worse, due to what I call over-familiarity. Psychologists’ main role, on the other hand, are for testing for clinical purposes. Paul was better than “good” for couples; he was a rare exception. The right to intrude on their marriage by learning how to do couples work her. Approach their next steps and efforts required to obtain a medical degree are much greater as. Have observed that therapy is harmful for a plumber, computer repair person, dentist, or whatever statistics new. And it saved my marriage moving in the past ” ( as in business or encounters... 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