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  1. #1
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    A sample from our Couples Counseling Session

    Say I'm called Sue (S), and my husband's called Pete (P) and the therapist is (T).

    A little background before I start: after our first session, our therapist said that I need to be turned down, and Pete needs to be turned on! Pete's very unassertive, of average intelligence, distinctly unemotional and very laid-back. (I am highly emotional, intelligent, and when it comes to our sessions I sometimes feel like I'm much more engaged and 'into' the session than Pete is.)

    So here's an example of a session.

    We walk into the room and sit down on the couch, and the therapist sits down opposite us.

    S I'm really fed up with Pete. I ask him soooo many times, to lock up the house, and go and check all doors and windows at night. You think he remembers!?!? Maybe once a week he'll remember. I need him to do this every night! How long does it take already!?! How incompetent can a man get!?! Why is it soooo hard for him to remember!?!? This morning I came down and noticed that the kitchen door had not only been left unlocked - it wasn't even shut properly!!!! That means it was open - just left open all night!

    P Excuse me, I do remember to lock up, most of the time. Just not all of the time! You're just remembering all the times I don't lock up.

    S Well - it only takes one time for a burglar to enter! There's no point in sometimes locking up and sometimes not - it has to be done REGULARLY.

    T Can I ask you Sue, why do you rely on Pete to lock up? If you always remember, why don't you just do it yourself?

    S Because! I feel like it's what the man of the house should do at night! I don't know! It just makes sense!

    T Maybe it's because you need to feel that Pete's looking after you....?

    S No! It's just his job! It's what the 'man of the house' does. My father always locked up at home. And how long does it take anyway!?! Why is it so difficult for him to do it? I feel like I'm married to a moron who can't even remember a simple thing!

    [yeah... you get to see me in all my glory... Look, I never said I was nice...]

    T But what would it feel like to know that you're being looked after...? How would you feel if Pete remembered to always lock up the house at night?

    S It's not just about me and the 'way I feel'! It's the children too! And all the other valuable things we have at home.

    T Yes, of course it's other things too. But Sue, lets try to think about how would you feel if he'd remember?

    S ... OK... I suppose I'd feel much more safe... and yes, I would feel like I'm being looked after.

    T And you would feel that Pete loves you, and remembers to take care of you... ?

    S ... well, yeah... Now I feel like he totally doesn't care, so if he'd remember I might feel in this respect that he does care about me a little.

    T So what do you think Pete? Sue would feel that you loved her and she'd feel like you're taking care of her if you'd remember. Why do you think you don't always remember?

    P Well - I do remember to lock up a lot of the time. Especially more recently, I'm remembering much more.

    S Yeah - so he used to lock up once a month, now he's doing it once a week! I NEED TO BE ABLE TO RELY ON HIM TO DO IT EVERY DAY! WHY CAN'T HE JUST DO IT EVERY DAY?!?

    T But I'm just wondering, Sue, at your intensity and your anger. It seems to me that you have a very strong need here... Do you think, perhaps, that this need could stem from something else...?

    S NO! We've been married for YEARS! It's frustrating that after all this time - HE STILL CAN'T REMEMBER A BASIC THING! It's not like we live in a 4 storey mansion with hundreds of doors and windows to check! I'm angry and frustrated because I can't believe that Pete can't even do such a simple, basic thing!

    T But maybe it's not about the locking up...? Maybe it's more about your need...? Maybe you have a very very strong need to feel that you're being looked after...?

    S I think it's normal to feel that the house should be safe and securely locked up at night! I think it's normal that after YEARS of me asking for the same thing, day in, day out, that I'm very angry that HE STILL CAN'T REMEMBER TO DO IT.

    T But if we could just go back a little... And talk about some of the things you've told me about your childhood... It is true to say that you felt that your parents didn't look after you the way you felt you needed it...?

    S .... yes.

    T And maybe you could think about the possibility, that, maybe, this isn't really all about Pete locking up, or not... Maybe it's more about your need to feel looked after. Since you weren't looked after enough as a child, you have a much stronger need than you would have otherwise had...

    _________________________

    And so, the session continues...


  2. #2
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    Re: A sample from our Couples Counseling Session

    That is really fascinating. First I want to say that I am amazed at how open and upfront you are with the therapist. I cannot believe you can just air an issue like that and then everything gets so deep and personal. I definitely give you props for being able to do that--there is no way I could. That was also interesting how the therapist zeroed in on that right away. That is really wild. Do you think she took that angle so quickly because of the fact that she is your personal therapist also, she already knows about your issues? I could see where that would be of benefit, where the therapist wouldn't have to spend as much time probing around for the real issue.

    My second question is, that it seemed like she focused a lot more on you than she did on your husband. Does that switch back and forth depending on the issue or does it focus more on you for some reason, like maybe because you are the one getting upset or something?

    Thanks for posting that. It was really interesting. You should post more of these scripts. A script is worth a thousand words to describe the session!

  3. #3
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    Re: A sample from our Couples Counseling Session

    i too found this a most interesting post. very insightful. it shows how we as human beings just focus on a side issue while the deeper real issue is kind of covered up. we do that with everything. i'm becoming more and more fascinated by psychology as time goes by. never had any idea how interesting it really is. thanks for the post.
    ~ our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising each time we fall - confucius
    ~ it is the journey, not the destination, that matters
    ~ keep hanging on, the sun will come shining through for you again

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    Re: A sample from our Couples Counseling Session

    Yep... when I come to the session angry, I totally show it, and don't pretend anything. I'm not paying her a fortune to cover up the real issues! Also I feel better 'letting loose' in front of her, otherwise the arguments with my husband escalate worse and worse at home, and the kids sometimes hear us... and it gets very unpleasant... so I like to wait, and save our arguments for our sessions where they're kept under control.

    I definitely DO feel that she focuses more on me than my husband, and I even had the guts to mention that to her once... She made more of an effort afterwards to talk to Pete as well. But she also explained, that as far as Pete's concerned, he's fairly happily married, and he's not the one who's angry about this, upset about that, fuming about this etc... It's because I'm always the one who's bringing up the issues that bother me, that she does seem to focus on me more. Also - I'm the one with the messed up upbringing, eating disorder etc.. altho Pete DEFINITELY has his own issues to sort out, he's generally speaking more emotionally healthy than me.

    have loads more to say, but will continue another time...

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    Re: A sample from our Couples Counseling Session

    <<That was also interesting how the therapist zeroed in on that right away. That is really wild. Do you think she took that angle so quickly because of the fact that she is your personal therapist also, she already knows about your issues?>>

    Well, I've been seeing her since last September... so she does know me quite well... Actually, this issue came up quite a while ago now... it could be that I hadn't started seeing her privately yet - I dunno...
    But anyway, that's a typical thing she'd do, zero in on something which I'd think at first - that's nothing to do with it!!! stop changing the subject!!! But of course that is really the essence of the problem...
    And a typical quote of hers is, "But maybe it's not about.... Maybe it's about..."

    My husband and I now joke and make fun of her sometimes (in a fun way!) saying "But maybe it's not about..."

    It's also obvious if you think about it retrospectively... for me anyway...
    The most likely reasons there'd be marital problems, must be, that one or both of the parties don't feel like they're loved, and cared for by the other...

    Like, after that particular session with the locking up issue, I felt that she was just pulling the rug from under my feet, and saying it was MY FAULT, rather than Pete's... In my mind, HE should have been the guilty one, and she should have tried to get him to remember to lock up... But after a few days, (during which I ate absolutely everything in sight... I was so disturbed...) I started understanding what she was saying...

    Now, our whole relationship doesn't hinge on whether or not Pete remembers to lock up. Then, at the time, his not locking up was just another reminder to me that he doesn't care and doesn't think about me... Now, I'm aware that he does, and that he's just human and doesn't always remember that particular thing... It still bothers me sometimes, but nowhere near the extent that it used to bother me and upset me.

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    Re: A sample from our Couples Counseling Session

    << I cannot believe you can just air an issue like that and then everything gets so deep and personal. I definitely give you props for being able to do that--there is no way I could. >>

    Thanks! Altho when I'm angry - it's easy!!! Maybe you never got angry enough which is why you think you can't...?!

    Anyway, I don't wish you to be as frustrated as I can get... It's one of the worst feelings in the world.

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    Re: A sample from our Couples Counseling Session

    Wow, really interesting post Lost. Your script was telling and very personal. I appreciate your honesty.

    I don't have much to say at this point but I just wanted to say that I found your post helpful and informative.


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    Re: A sample from our Couples Counseling Session

    <<Thanks for posting that. It was really interesting. You should post more of these scripts. A script is worth a thousand words to describe the session!>>

    Thanks... yeah, it would be interesting being a fly on the wall watching how other sessions go...

    Quote Originally Posted by just mary
    Wow, really interesting post Lost. Your script was telling and very personal. I appreciate your honesty.
    Thanks Mary.

  9. #9
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    Re: A sample from our Couples Counseling Session

    i really liked reading it too
    you husband seemed kind of quiet in the session, lol. Is that common? I used to have a similar complaint about my ex. (we parted on good terms, so I'm not bashing him) he was completely forgetful, and we would discuss things (Like the topic you mentioned) time after time after time after time, until i wanted to pull all of my hair out. I felt like I wasn't important enough to listen to. And I got sick and tired of hearing 'I forgot'. Even though he started to do things to try to remember, sticky notes, etc. poor guy couldn't win, because he was trying bless him.
    [yeah... you get to see me in all my glory... Look, I never said I was nice...]
    ... and I used to say alot worse,... i don't think that means your not a nice person, just that your at your wits end...

  10. #10
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    Re: A sample from our Couples Counseling Session

    Quote Originally Posted by ^^Phoenix^^
    i really liked reading it too
    Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by ^^Phoenix^^
    you husband seemed kind of quiet in the session, lol. Is that common?
    Yep, as our therapist says, I need to be turned down, and he needs to be turned ON! I've probably taken up 70% of all our joint sessions...

    Quote Originally Posted by ^^Phoenix^^
    he was completely forgetful, and we would discuss things (Like the topic you mentioned) time after time after time after time, until i wanted to pull all of my hair out. I felt like I wasn't important enough to listen to. And I got sick and tired of hearing 'I forgot'. Even though he started to do things to try to remember, sticky notes, etc. poor guy couldn't win, because he was trying bless him.
    yeah - wanting to pull my hair out in frustration is a very familiar feeling... And sorry it didn't work out with you, he does sound similar to my husband...

    And thanks for not thinking that I'm not a nice person!!!! That's nice to hear!

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