Therapist/Counselor Backgrounds

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Therapist/Counselor Backgrounds

Post by Flasher » Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:48 pm

My brother and sister-in-law are have some issues in their marriage.  Nothing big like an affair or addiction or anything like that.  It's mostly communication.  Their kids are pre-teens now, and really require very little of their parents attention.  So my sister-in-law is trying to "adjust" to not being on constant "mom duty".  My brother is just executing his life as always, just glad to have more time for golf and television.

Anyway, my brother's company has a marriage counselor/therapist on site at his job.  They can see this person free of charge.  They also can see a counselor/therapist of their choosing using their insurance, having to pay the copayment.  Their insurance also has a limit of 20 sessions per year.

They went to see the on site counselor.  She is a woman.  At first they were both very comfortable talking to this woman, but after the second visit, my SIL said she didn't want to see her anymore.  You see, while they were all getting to know each other, it was revealed that the counselor has been married twice, and is currently in another relationship.  She also has a son from a previous relationship, neither of which is one of her marriages.   My SIL cannot figure out how someone with two marriages under her belt, and potentially a third, not to mention another unsuccessful relationship which resulted in the birth of a child, can give anyone advice about marriage.  My brother thinks that training and techniques are different and work differently on different people, and that just because she couldn't make her marriages work, doesn't mean she can't help them.  He says maybe the husbands weren't willing participants in the process.  Either way, she wants to find another therapist and is refusing to go back to this woman.  He is refusing to pay for a therapist when he can see this one for free. 

They are both talking to me about it and I'm sick of it. 

Just out of curiosity, what do you Cherries think about this?  Do you think her personal history of marriage and relationships should speak for her professional abilities?  Don't we already make decisions like this in everyday life?  We don't pick an unsuccessful doctor, surgeon, or even a mechanic?  I find myself agreeing with my SIL.  I think it does matter. 
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Re: Therapist/Counselor Backgrounds

Post by butterfly843 » Wed Oct 14, 2015 7:44 pm

I'm with your SIL on this and would want to see someone else. Not saying she isn't a great therapist who can help many couples, I've found with seeing a counselor you need to find someone you feel comfortable with. I didn't mesh with the first therapist I found after I lost my twins, for me it really helped seeing someone who also had a loss and dealt with infertility. While your therapist doesn't have to have the same life experiences for some things it's really hard to relate unless you've been through it.

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Re: Therapist/Counselor Backgrounds

Post by oceanbreezes423 » Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:30 pm

I can see both sides here. While you would think the best therapist would be one whose own life was a role model, not knowing the circumstances of those relationships makes it tough. Was a spouse unfaithful, was there abuse, did the man walk out? I know my failed marriage taught me many tools that has made my current one 25 years and going strong. For me it would be hard to judge not knowing the whole story. Maybe she is very good at her job, which for a couple in trouble should be the main concern. JMO
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Re: Therapist/Counselor Backgrounds

Post by mommyribs » Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:36 pm

My first thought was to agree with your SIL, but at the same time Susan makes a good point as well. I would say that your SIL just needs to go with her gut feeling.

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Re: Therapist/Counselor Backgrounds

Post by meljustcole » Thu Oct 15, 2015 7:19 am

I would hate to be in a profession where if I wasn't "perfect" in my personal life I would be judged by that, and my professional life may suffer.  I also wouldn't want a marriage counselor that had 2 failed marriages and 1 relationship that created a life and ultimately failed as well.  So, I can certainly see both sides of the spectrum here.  I'm not sure of your brother and SIL's financial situation, but my co-pay for therapy isn't that much ($25 per session).  I realize that it adds up over time though and everyone has different co-pays.  If they CAN afford it, he should just agree to seek another therapist.  Problem solved. He has to ask himself...If HE was the one uncomfortable with her; would they continue to see her??? In my opinion no cost is too great to save one's marriage if they both want to save it!  He sounds a lot like like my DH...if it'll save us money and it's free to see this one, why pay to see another?  He's very frugal, but sometimes frugal just gets you cheap results!!   Good luck to them!!

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Re: Therapist/Counselor Backgrounds

Post by karensay » Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:45 am

No matter what the reason, if your SIL is not happy with the Counselor, it is time to move on.  Like Meljustcole said, isn't the marriage worth it to pay for a different Counselor?
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Re: Therapist/Counselor Backgrounds

Post by beachlover » Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:11 pm

I see both sides as well, but mostly am concerned that her personal life is so messed up, and she did bring her personal life into your session...  the main thing is though, BOTH parties need to feel comfortable with the choice of therapists otherwise there is no trust, no open communication...  and if they are truly seeking help, unless they are really strapped and money is a trigger point, your brother should not balk at the cost for an outside therapist...  besides, its a tax write off under medical expenses!
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Re: Therapist/Counselor Backgrounds

Post by Ayla » Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:00 pm

I"m not sure her background would be a "definitely no", because who knows? We all learn from experiences, and the counselor could have learned through hers as well. Maybe that gives her the experience and insight to help. But more importantly, I think confidence in your care provider in any situation is so important that I might have to just trust in my gut as well.
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Re: Therapist/Counselor Backgrounds

Post by nigur712 » Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:38 pm

I see the two sides too, yet generally, am worried that her own life is so failed, and she brought her own life into your session.  

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Re: Therapist/Counselor Backgrounds

Post by JillinIN » Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:24 pm

I see both sides and I remember when the moment came and I felt like I didn't belong or have a "place/purpose" in my family because my kids were growing and didn't need me in the same way any longer. My whole life changed.

I also know growth and change are hard. Sometimes seeking therapy brings up bad feelings that we don't want to deal with and we find an excuse to stop going even if we're not consciously aware of the real reason.

I'm not suggesting this is what your SIL is doing, but it bears some thought and some questions.

If they go to another therapist will it just be a matter of time before there is something "wrong" with that one?
Is the therapist's personal life important to your brother and SIL outcome?
The therapist is not the one seeking help, she's not the one doing the work. She's guiding them, but they have to be the ones to make the changes, to work through the tough moments.
Therapy is going to be uncomfortable.
Are there more reasons why she feels this therapist is not a good fit?
Is she willing to go once more and talk to the therapist about how she's feeling?

I can see your SIL's point. I just feel like it might go deeper than she's aware and may have nothing to do with the therapist's personal life.

Just some food for thought.

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Re: Therapist/Counselor Backgrounds

Post by 1scrappymom » Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:34 pm

I see this is an old post, but as a therapist myself, the fact that they know this much personal information about the therapist throws up HUGE red flags to me. BOUNDARIES PEOPLE!!! This therapy session is not about the therapist or what she has been through in her life. She shouldn't need that to build rapport and it really has no place in the session. I think it is totally possible to be objective and do therapy and still struggle in your personal life, because it is just that...your PERSONAL life. There are other variables, so which are out of your control and you are certainly a lot less objective. Therapists are not there to tell you what to do, we are there to help you decide what you really want and give you tools to help you get there. I was taught in grad school a wonderful acronym. WAIT - WHY AM I TALKING? Is it for me...or do I have something to offer my client? It's good to know the difference. Also for couples...someone who is trained in Gottman-style couples therapy is always a good choice. It's a great method. So there you go. My 2 cents on a 4 year old post! LOL

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Re: Therapist/Counselor Backgrounds

Post by karensay » Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:36 pm

OMG, this subject is from 2015.
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