6 Reasons To Avoid Marriage Counselors Like The Plague

September 12, 2010

We have the highest divorce rate on the planet. Judith Wallerstein did a groundbreaking study on the effects of divorce on children, even into adulthood. She notes the following effects on children:

The children Wallerstein studied were more likely to struggle with drugs, alcohol, and sex. Fully half the children she studied were involved in serious abuse of alcohol and drugs, some as early as age 14. And they tended to become sexually active early, particularly the girls.

• Expectations of failure, based on an “internalized image of failure;”
• Fear of loss, due to earlier anxiety about abandonment by one or both parents;
• Fear of change, since experience has shown them it is usually for the worse;
• Fear of conflict, because it leads to explosions or the impulse to escape;
• Fear of betrayal, because they have seen so much of it;
• Fear of loneliness, sometimes leading to self-destructive choices in partners.

Naturally, we want to protect our kids from divorce so people attempt to resolve their problems by going to a marriage counselor. The dirty little secret in the industry is that you are likely to be worse instead of better after going to a marriage counselor. Here are some reasons why.

1. Marriage counselors have a horrendous 75% failure rate. That is defined as couples coming to them for counseling to save their marriage and get divorced in spite of the counseling.

2. Marriage counselors are not required to have any specific training in couples counseling, some of the most difficult counseling that there is.

3. Marriage counselors don’t really deal with problem resolution, they talk about feelings. This is about as effective as a reporter shoving a mic in front of a grieving relative and asking them how they feel.

4. Marriage counseling takes place one hour once a week. This is not effective. No other helping discipline works this way. If you went to a doctor to find that you have strep throat, you would not expect a doctor to give you just a little antibiotic and have him come back for months giving you just a little more antibiotic to cure the strep.

5. The reason that most couples divorce is the lack of conflict resolution skills. Traditional marriage counselors don’t teach this vital skill.

6. Too often marriage counselors are not marriage positive but take sides with one of the couple and suggest that they go ahead and get divorced. They don’t tell them about all the negative ramifications to children that the divorce will cause them.

The Solution
The answer is to search out marriage coaches. Marriage coaches deal with resolving problems in a short period of time. They are marriage positive. They tend to take a moderator or mediator role assuming an authority role and telling couples where they are doing it right or wrong. Marriage coaches have a much better success rate of 75%.
Many traditional marriage counselors are abandoning traditional counseling methods and instead are adopting a coaching paradigm in their practices. People like Michelle Weiner Davis of Divorce Busting and Dr. Harley of His Needs, Her Needs.

You can punch marriage coaches into Google to locate one. They will deal with you on the phone or on Yahoo IM. Barring that you could just email me at marrriagecoach1@yahoo.com .


What Is A Pro Marriage Counselor and How Do You Find One, Another Great Guest Post

July 25, 2010

Life Gems is a solid blog that continues to excel.

Here is the link to the blog:
http://us.mc1128.mail.yahoo.com/mc/welcome?.gx=1&.tm=1280035745&.rand=ef6cluhtq

July 23, 2010 · 4 Comments
I had the pleasure recently of interviewing a pro-marriage counselor whom I know personally and respect immensely. Timothy Heck, PhD, is founder of Family Counseling Associates in Indianapolis. He’s a Christian counselor with a pro-marriage perspective. What’s a pro-marriage counselor, and what’s the alternative? A pro-marriage counselor is a therapist who is not neutral about the marriage—one who actively advocates for the marriage, not for one or both individuals.

If I were going to choose a marriage counselor, I would insist on someone who would fight for my marriage, not just convince me that I deserve to be happy. Too often in the U.S., that is not the type of counselor you will find.

The mental health field has been strongly influenced by the sociological movements of the last 50 years, says Dr. Heck. Some of the influences have been helpful, such as the balancing of power and respect in the relationship between males and females. Other influences have been negative, he adds, such as the widespread belief that marriage is a dispensable commodity that merely serves to meet an individual’s needs. “It has been reduced to a cost/benefit analysis,” he adds. “A lot of therapy buys into that quid pro quo.” Dr. Heck says while this strategy may work in some cases, it doesn’t work when both spouses are not motivated to do what is needed to meet the other’s needs.

Dr. Heck says when choosing a therapist, it’s important for couples to know the counselor’s value system up front. “Every therapist has a value system that needs to be considered an announced, so the client may go in with informed consent,” he explains. Many—surveys say most—therapists in the U.S. have a value system that prioritizes the health of the individual over the health of the marital relationship. Within a Christian/Catholic worldview, Dr. Heck says the marriage relationship would be every bit as important as the individuals’ wellbeing. “That’s the position I take,” he says.

Non-Christians are welcome at Dr. Heck’s Family Counseling practice, and while his faith is normally part of his work, it can be behind the scenes when the patient prefers. Most patients prefer to integrate faith into their sessions, but his worldview always shapes his work with couples, and he integrates psychology with his faith. “I’m going to work very hard to maintain and reconcile the relationship, believing that it is to the benefit of the partners and their children. It’s even best for the community—socially and economically,” says Dr. Heck.

Dr. Heck’s advice is exactly in line with the advice found in Take Back Your Marriage by William J. Doherty, PhD (one of my favorite marriage books). You can download two chapters from his web site for free here. Dr. Doherty doesn’t come at the topic from a faith-based approach, but he lands at the same point. Dr. Doherty says in his book, “If you talk to a therapist in the United States, I believe that you stand a good risk of harming your marriage.” His caveat is that is he a therapist and encourages therapy, but the right kind of therapy with the right kind of therapist—one who is committed to excellence in practice and who believes in marriage.

Dr. Doherty warns there are several big problems to watch out for in therapists: incompetent therapists who are not trained and experienced to work with couples, neutral therapists (which the majority of marriage and family therapists report themselves to be) who only help you weigh gain and loss, and therapists who see only pathology. In other words, they diagnose without helping, leading you to hopelessness or fatalism. He says a fourth type of therapist actively undermines the marriage by subtlely or overtly encouraging you to end the marriage. (“I can’t believe you’re still married to him.”) The last type of problem therapist he mentions is the one who gives direct advice, which is against the code of ethics. (“I think you need a separation.”)

Following are some of the tips for choosing a therapist from Dr. Doherty’s book:

• The therapist does not take sides, but is caring to both of you.
• The therapist actively tries to help your marriage and communicates hope that you solve your marital problems. This goes beyond just clarifying problems.
• The therapist offers reasonable and helpful perspectives and specific strategies for changing the relationship.
• The therapist does not allow you and your spouse to engage in repeated angry exchanges during the session.
• The therapist is alert to individual matters (addiction, illness, abuse, etc.)
• Although the therapist may explore your family backgrounds, the focus is on how to deal with your current marital problems rather than just on insight into how you developed these problems. (There are more tips, but that gives you a few. I highly recommend chapter 6 in Take Back Your Marriage for more complete advice.)

Have you had experience—good or bad—with a marriage counselor? Are you open to seeing a therapist if you feel your marriage could benefit?


Marriage Counseling Versus Marriage Coaching

April 7, 2010

                  

                                                      COACHING VERSUS COUNSELING

 

     There is a dirty little secret in the marriage counseling industry.  75% of all couples who go to marriage counseling end up being divorced.  There is a quiet revolution taking place in this country where  some forward thinking counselors are abandoning the traditional counseling methods and adopting a “coaching” style.  A couple of well known counselors have made the transition like Michelle Weiner Davis, author of: DIVORCE BUSTING and Dr. Willard Harley, author of HIS NEEDS HER NEEDS.

     Part of the problem is how services are delivered.  One hour once a week is insufficient to do the job.  Another part of the problem is philosophy of treatment.  Counseling concentrates on couples talking about their feelings.  Coaching concentrates on resolving the problem.

     Think about this for a minute.  If couples seek out marriage counseling, the marriage is likely in deep trouble  where the stress level is such that they are considering divorce.  Now think about the “medical model” for a minute:  If you had serious heart trouble, would you want to go to a cardiologist whose record is that 3 out of 4 patients under his care die?  If you had a very serious life threatening cut, would you be happy with a doctor who said, I am going to put one stitch in you now, and you come back in week and I will put another stitch in you and keep coming back once a week for the next 20 weeks and we will have you all stitched up?  If you had Strep Throat would you be happy with a doctor who says that he will give you a little antibiotic and keep coming back for 20 weeks until the infection is cleared up? Would you want accept any of those treatment plans

     Would you accept firemen coming out to your house and telling you that they are going to put a little of the fire out and that they would come back the next week and put a little more of the fire out and keep coming back until the fire is out? There is no other profession that attempts to resolve a problem utilizing this paradigm.

     The reason that it is done this way is not because it is what is best for the patients, but it is what is best for the insurance industry who will only reimburse for one hour once a week.  Actuaries  (these are guys who are the bean counters for the insurance companies) have figured out that couples will abandon the process long before they resolve the problem thus saving the insurance company money.

     Another part of the problem is the philosophy of counseling style where the counselor assumes a neutral position. Mediation services don’t follow this style.  The mediator takes two opposing sides and takes charge and is a referee suggesting alternative solutions to both sides and maintains order during the process.  They also roll up their sleeves and over the course of several hours resolves the problems or makes great strides in resolving the problem in a minimum of sessions in a very short period of time. Couples don’t need to talk about their feelings, they need to resolve the problems.  They need to be taught relationship skills.  There is an old Chinese proverb which states:  “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.  Couples need to be taught conflict resolution skills which do not come naturally.  What comes naturally is fighting.

     Going back to the medical model, you don’t leave a patient with a high fever for weeks at a  time, you treat the fever and what is causing the fever in a short period of time.  Couples in crisis are having the equivalent of serious fever.  They are in stress because the “Fight or Flight Syndrome” causes huge adrenaline rushes which can’t be easily sustained over weeks of time.  The stress is very hard on the body and is a leading cause of heart disease.  The collateral damage happens to the children in the family.  The toxic mood in the house is equivalent to torture for them because they are helpless and can’t do anything about it.

     Clearly the treatment model for counseling needs a paradigm shift.  We need to first resolve the problems in a short period of time, teach couples conflict resolution skills and relational skills and to lobby the insurance industry to adopt a different reimbursement model.  Insurance companies need to pay for hours of service rendered and not dictate to the counselor how he structures the time element in the therapy.

     As a couple, you need to seek out a marriage coach to help you resolve your problems.  You will have to pay for it out of your own pocket, but it is a much more effective therapy and far cheaper than divorce. 

    Most coaches will deal with couples by phone or on the internet by Individual Messenger (IM).This saves time and money.  Many couples don’t like to drive to an office.  This way you can deal with your problems in the comfort of your own home .

The author of this article can be reached at marriagecoach1@yahoo. John Wilder can help you with your problems and reach a happy harmonious relationship.  Mr. Wilder has a BA degree with a double major in Behavioral Science and Bible.  He has also attended Nursing School and Graduate School for Clinical Psychology. He offers a money back guarantee and a half hour free consultation.  He treats clients holistically, dealing with mind, body and spirit.


Coaching Versus Counseling

January 22, 2010

     There is a dirty little secret in the marriage counseling industry.  75% of all couples who go to marriage counseling end up being divorced.  There is a quiet revolution taking place in this country where  some forward thinking counselors are abandoning the traditional counseling methods and adopting a “coaching” style.  A couple of well known counselors have made the transition like Michelle Weiner Davis, author of: DIVORCE BUSTING and Dr. Willard Harley, author of HIS NEEDS HER NEEDS.

     Part of the problem is how services are delivered.  One hour once a week is insufficient to do the job.  Another part of the problem is philosophy of treatment.  Counseling concentrates on couples talking about their feelings.  Coaching concentrates on resolving the problem.

     Think about this for a minute.  If couples seek out marriage counseling, the marriage is likely in deep trouble  where the stress level is such that they are considering divorce.  Now think about the “medical model” for a minute:  If you had serious heart trouble, would you want to go to a cardiologist whose record is that 3 out of 4 patients under his care die?  If you had a very serious life threatening cut, would you be happy with a doctor who said, I am going to put one stitch in you now, and you come back in week and I will put another stitch in you and keep coming back once a week for the next 20 weeks and we will have you all stitched up?  If you had Strep Throat would you be happy with a doctor who says that he will give you a little antibiotic and keep coming back for 20 weeks until the infection is cleared up? Would you want accept any of those treatment plans

     Would you accept firemen coming out to your house and telling you that they are going to put a little of the fire out and that they would come back the next week and put a little more of the fire out and keep coming back until the fire is out? There is no other profession that attempts to resolve a problem utilizing this paradigm.

     The reason that it is done this way is not because it is what is best for the patients, but it is what is best for the insurance industry who will only reimburse for one hour once a week.  Actuaries  (these are guys who are the bean counters for the insurance companies) have figured out that couples will abandon the process long before they resolve the problem thus saving the insurance company money.

     Another part of the problem is the philosophy of counseling style where the counselor assumes a neutral position. Mediation services don’t follow this style.  The mediator takes two opposing sides and takes charge and is a referee suggesting alternative solutions to both sides and maintains order during the process.  They also roll up their sleeves and over the course of several hours resolves the problems or makes great strides in resolving the problem in a minimum of sessions in a very short period of time. Couples don’t need to talk about their feelings, they need to resolve the problems.  They need to be taught relationship skills.  There is an old Chinese proverb which states:  “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.  Couples need to be taught conflict resolution skills which do not come naturally.  What comes naturally is fighting.

     Going back to the medical model, you don’t leave a patient with a high fever for weeks at a  time, you treat the fever and what is causing the fever in a short period of time.  Couples in crisis are having the equivalent of serious fever.  They are in stress because the “Fight or Flight Syndrome” causes huge adrenaline rushes which can’t be easily sustained over weeks of time.  The stress is very hard on the body and is a leading cause of heart disease.  The collateral damage happens to the children in the family.  The toxic mood in the house is equivalent to torture for them because they are helpless and can’t do anything about it.

     Clearly the treatment model for counseling needs a paradigm shift.  We need to first resolve the problems in a short period of time, teach couples conflict resolution skills and relational skills and to lobby the insurance industry to adopt a different reimbursement model.  Insurance companies need to pay for hours of service rendered and not dictate to the counselor how he structures the time element in the therapy.

     As a couple, you need to seek out a marriage coach to help you resolve your problems.  You will have to pay for it out of your own pocket, but it is a much more effective therapy and far cheaper than divorce. 

    Most coaches will deal with couples by phone or on the internet by Individual Messenger (IM).This saves time and money.  Many couples don’t like to drive to an office.  This way you can deal with your problems in the comfort of your own home .

The author of this article can be reached at marriagecoach1@yahoo.


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