Choice of Marriage Therapist is CriticalWritten by: Cameron Print This Article
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The choice of a marriage therapist is a very serious matter. Some of them are pro-marriage, capable of maintaining civility during sessions, and push both parties to try to work out their problems but in a neutral, unbiased fashion and without ordering the patients to take drastic actions. Such therapists can be a great asset. They will listen to both sides objectively, tease out inconsistencies, get people to open up about their real problems and issues, and enable progress towards resolving the problems. The best of them even gradually teach their clients how to do these things themselves.
However, if you pick a poor therapist, you may rapidly find that not only will your marriage be destroyed, you may also end up with losing contact with your children and/or false criminal allegations against you. This is particularly a problem for men, but can happen to women, too.
A poor marriage therapist can destroy your marriage and create a “death spiral” out of your life.
There’s an excellent article on how poor marriage therapists can cause great harm at:
This particular article focuses mainly on destruction of marriage by incompetent and even anti-marriage therapists.
Incompetent therapists are unable to maintain control of a conjoint session. They may allow it to be turned into a shouting match. They may take sides with one of the participants against the other. One or both of the patients might come out of such sessions feeling sick and overwhelmed, like somebody kicked you in the gut and threw you down the stairs. If you have such an experience, especially if it happens in the first few sessions, then don’t see that marriage therapist again. Find a better therapist instead.
Marriage-neutral therapists act like there is no value to marriage and the commitment doesn’t mean anything. Divorcing and remarrying is like selling your old house and buying a new one. If your therapist doesn’t care about your marriage, why are you going to that therapist to save your marriage?
Anti-marriage therapists think marriage is a bad thing and encourage divorces. They may even go so far as to give direct advice to get divorced. Some do this on the very first marriage counseling session! If your therapist wants you to get divorced and you want to work on your marriage, switch therapists right away.
Other therapists try to make the whole relationship sound bad or one of the partners is so sick. “Why would you stay in such a relationship?” “What’s wrong with you to put up with that?” “He or she is such a loser, you could do better!” They undermine the marriage with their back-stabbing and questioning, as if marriage means nothing and commitment is irrelevant. The really bad ones then start telling you what to do. “Get a divorce!” “Do it, I can give you references to attorneys!” “If you don’t agree with what I say, I will kick you out of therapy sessions and continue to meet with your spouse.” Again, if you have such a therapist and want to work on your marriage, fire the therapist and get a new one.
However, that is only the start of the problems that therapists like these may cause. If you have such a therapist and your spouse, especially your female spouse, wants to continue seeing the therapist and you do not, you may be in for a world of hurt.
Many of these poor therapists are gullible, buy into the “women are victims, men are perpetrators” attitude falsely believed by many, and will “help” their female client destroy the male client. It’s certainly possible for the reverse to be true, but seems far less common. So what you may find is that they will buy into fictional stories about spousal abuse and child abuse and then report you to the police and Child Protection Services. Such therapists show blatant disregard for the facts and objectivity. They may fail to question their clients on the statements they make. They may fail to notice inconsistencies in their statements. And so they end up believing lies and help spreading those lies via the “mandatory reporting system” (often connected with Child Protective Services) to cause extensive damage.
Not only is this hugely destructive to others, it is even a disservice to their clients. Rather than getting them the help they need, they reinforce dishonest and destructive behaviors, harm children and innocent spouses, and waste taxpayer dollars on efforts to persecute people who haven’t done anything wrong.
Ultimately, if you are going to have a change to saving your marriage, you have to make a good choice on marriage therapists. Knowing who to hire in the first place may not easy, so you must be willing to fire one (or two or three) and hire a new one if in the first few sessions the therapist is showing signs of incompetence, bias, a neutral or anti-marriage stance, or the other warning signs discussed above.