1. Myers
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    Myers Member

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    Couples therapy

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Myers, Jun 27, 2013.

    I'm looking to write a novel about a guy who is going to couples therapy with his wife. My idea of what is discussed in these sessions is solely based on what I've seen on TV and in film, so I'm looking to get a real picture of what its like.

    Has anyone here been to couples therapy? What are you encouraged to talk about? How is it structured (eg. is there a different aspect of your relationship you are supposed to focus on each week?) and are the counselors themselves easy going on the couple or are they brutally honest with you?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I have, but I think you'll find every therapist is different, and the same therapist may take different approaches with different couples.

    In my case, we only had a few sessions as a couple, and our therapist quickly changed it over to individual sessions.

    Our therapist left most of the talking to the client or clients. She would let silences drag out until the client felt a need to fill them. But she would also suggest a topic to discuss, oftento start off a session.
     
  3. UnrealCity
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    UnrealCity Active Member

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    I don't know anything about couples therapy, but I can agree that every therapist is different. A therapist I know of has a very scattered approach at collecting information asking questions in different directions and writing down anything she felt was important. I thought this was an interesting approach and keeps people on their toes and may reveal information you don't even expect, or information that may be important but you didn't think it was.

    If there are aspects that need improvement I'd imagine that they'd be asked to focus on specific things for longer than just a week - It takes time to break habits and develop better behaviours. I'd imagine that issues between couples can arise from the individual habits and behaviours for both of them.

    A therapist may have both individuals establish goals, as well as values, and have both individuals working towards bettering themselves and as a result, the relationship.

    Hopefully this is somewhat helpful to you.
     
  4. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    We saw two therapists. The first was a poor instigator of conversation and did not seem to much more than listen, she even began taking a side. We switched to a much more proactive therapist who was a catalyst for conversation and encouraged us to follow paths of thought and explore feelings. When things got heated, he calmly switched topics. he even told us one week not to do anything until the next session because he saw our communication sucked so much. A good therapist (in my opinion) is not there to decide right or wrong, but to change your perspective on how you view things, might be from your spouse's POV or for both parties to shift their reference point to a new single one.
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It's not always a constructive process, and frankly, the individual nature of every couple is going to paint a vastly more varied concept from this side of the lens than if you were to speak to actual therapists where I think the answer might be slightly more uniform. Slightly.

    When I went with my now ex, Steven, one of the issues was his drug use and, what I felt was his strangely damaged Theory of Mind. I felt very hostile toward the therapist because he was always looking for that "in" of rationality on whatever we spoke about, and this seemed to always be with me. This made me feel like I was the one constantly asked to make concessions, which felt very unfair. I lashed out at him during one session where he told me, "you live too much in your own head," to which I answered, "where the fuck else am I supposed to live?" and we got into a discussion of a solipsistic bent because one of the main topics I wanted resolved was Steven's inability to see that others know what they know, do what they do, think what they think, want what they want for reasons other than is own (his damaged Theory of Mind). I think the therapist saw me as being "academically abusive" to Steven, "nerd bullying", if you will. There may have been a grain of truth to that. Regardless, it was a toxic relationship and within just a few sessions I used the format to manipulate myself out of the relationship. Did we resolve anything? No. Did I resolve something? Yes.
     
  6. Myers
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    Myers Member

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    Thanks everyone, very helpful. I had tried searching the internet for a typical structure that these sessions take but from the feedback I've seen here it seems the sessions are tailored to suit the individuals.

    I know this is deeply personal so you may not want to share but would anyone be able to say what was explored in the first session you had?
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The first session? The first session is exploratory. The clients discuss what they perceive to be the key problem or problems in the relationship, and what each expects to gain from the sessions, and from the relationship. That give the therapist the opportunity to assess the health of the relationship and how reasonable the expectations are, as well as the dynamics of the relationship. For example, does one partner try to dominate the discussion, or does one keep glancing at the other for approval/permission, is there overt hostility, signs of an abusive relationship, etc.
     
  8. Myers
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    Myers Member

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    Thanks Cogito, that's very useful. Much appreciated.
     

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