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Forums / Treatments, health professionals and therapies / A normal counselling session?

Topic: A normal counselling session?

7 posts, 0 answered
  1. EeeDee
    EeeDee avatar
    11 posts
    27 April 2022
    Hi, I am feeling very overwhelmed at the moment and can't stop crying. Some background my husband & I are seeing (skype) a marriage counsellor. I suffer with anxiety, had some traumatic experiences (with men mostly) which the counsellor is aware of but not discussed in any depth. I've had a loving but very strict, almost suffocating upbringing & witnessed domestic abuse, I still flinch even though my current situation is not abusive. Painfully shy I've worked hard at finding my voice and some confidence, but I'm still hyper sensitive & fragile. Today the counsellor focused entirely on my husbands feelings of frustration with me, as the session ended I was in tears, I feel completely invalidated, like a spoilt child for even daring to ask about my needs. As we signed out I heard the marriage counsellor say loudly a swear word. She phoned my husband to apologise, said we shouldn't of heard that but she was frustrated with herself & not at us or specifically me. I don't believe it, I feel silenced, I feel that to speak out & ask for something in return only ends in ugliness, I feel that I am the difficult one & should just learn to shut up & suck it up. I'm crying telling myself I'm horrible, selfish. unlovable and nothing is to be gained for asking for help. My husband says its not about blaming anyone & my turn will be next month, I know he is just trying to help in his way but it just feels that he was given the opportunity to communicate how he feels about me when we run into issues and I had no opportunity to give my side. I feel narcissistic or even like a spoiled brat for even thinking I should have had my turn to get heard & when I heard the counsellor swear at the end it confirmed everything I was feeling. Is it normal to focus on one partner for a session while the other is made to keep silent except to mirror back what they are hearing? I would of felt very uncomfortable if the roles were reversed and my hubby had to mirror back what I was feeling and experiencing without him having the opportunity to respond for an entire hour. Should we continue with these counselling sessions? I just don't know what's normal but something is telling me that I shouldn't be crying like this & feeling worse, its bringing up past traumas of 'keeping quiet'. But if I'm the one asking to pull the plug on these sessions then I will be seen as the difficult, selfish one. Any insight into what would be the healthiest course in this will be greatly appreciated. Thankyou.
  2. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    6597 posts
    27 April 2022 in reply to EeeDee
    Hi EeeDee,

    Thank you so much for posting on the Beyond Blue forums today. We can hear you’re feeling overwhelmed. We’re so sorry you’re feeling this way, but want you to know that by posting here, and sharing your story with our community, you’ve already taken an enormous step and shown such bravery and strength.

    It sounds like an extremely difficult time, so if you'd like to talk things through, please don’t hesitate to give the lovely Beyond Blue counsellors a call on 1300 22 4636 or speak to them on webchat here. You could also speak to Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277.

    We are here to support you and you are not alone. Thank you so much for sharing here. Please feel free to share a bit more and let us know what is going on for you, and what might help, if you feel comfortable.

    Kind regards,

    Sophie M
    1 person found this helpful
  3. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    10917 posts
    27 April 2022 in reply to EeeDee

    Dear EeeDee~

    I guess your husband took the session as an opportunity to let his hair down and the councilor was not savvy enough to make him be more restrained. This is probably why she swore - and she was probably telling the truth, unhappiness with her own performance which did leave a lot ot be desired. Trauma informed counseling does take skill.

    You and you husband are most probably different types, you have spent a lot of your life not being comfortable -or allowed - to say your point of view. He sounds different. Still he himself has to exercise judgment and not say things he will know hurt you, no matter what his first instinct is to say.

    Every couple has things they are unhappy about in each other, it is how you deal with them while cherishing you partner that is the important thing.

    You really do need - and are entitled - to put forward your point of view, which I'm sure you would try to do in a gentle manner. To bottle it up long-term is a horrible thing, and ends up with one doubting if one is worthy to voice such things - an unfortunate and completely wrong tendency.

    There is no way you are a narcissist or selfish.

    Can I suggest that if you are finding being in the same counseling session is upsetting and stifling you might consider having a couple of sessions on your own? Firstly to lay the groundwork so when you resume couple counseling the councilor knows to treat you with extra consideration and care, and also so you can put out your own point of view without fear of upsetting your husband.

    Actually this last will probably be difficult enough anyway, it does not sound as if you are used to doing that.

    So what do you think, it might go against the grain but might pay dividends?


    1 person found this helpful
  4. geoff
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    16197 posts
    28 April 2022 in reply to EeeDee

    Hello EeeDee, when a couple or even a single person has counselling, it's highly inappropriate for therapist to make a swear comment, to me, it seems as though they have lost control of the situation or don't know how to handle it and certainly wouldn't make either of you feel comfortable.

    A session shouldn't allow only one person to control the floor without their partner/spouse being able to talk, and if this does happen, then it's the counsellor's fault in allowing this to happen.

    'Should you continue these sessions', I can't tell you what you should be doing, but I can suggest that it might be better for you to find a therapist for yourself and perhaps your husband can also talk with them but by himself.

    You could just tell your husband that you didn't like the way how the counsellor ended the last session and that you think it may be a good idea to see someone individually.

    You have every right to respond to what your husband has said at that session and are not allowed to have your own say, I wouldn't call this 'couple counselling.

    My Best.


    2 people found this helpful
  5. EeeDee
    EeeDee avatar
    11 posts
    2 May 2022
    Hi again, I want to thank you all for your incredible and sound support. So many valid suggestions, it makes my heart happy. My husband came home from work that day and found me curled up in my chair with a blanket over my head. Sounds odd, but it's something I do, I don't have autism but sometimes my mind body and soul can become overloaded with emotions and outside influences. From beneith the blanket I was able to communicate my feelings about the session so much better to my husband and he listened patiently and not defensively. He said that he himself didn't feel great about it either and apologised to me for not ending it when he saw me getting upset, he said she wanted something and an hour me mirroring back to him his frustration about things in a dozen different ways made him feel uncomfortable aswell. He said he will also contact the counselor and end our sessions so I didn't need to and asked me to find a new one if or when I was up to it. I'll see how I go I just get so tired talking about it all. Once again though, a massive thank you for taking the time to reply and offer such heartfelt comments xx
  6. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    10917 posts
    3 May 2022 in reply to EeeDee

    Dear EeeDee~

    I'm realy glad you ended up being able ot talk with you husband frankly, and that he did not get defensive or see it as a criticism, but simply considered you feelings and offed a very thoughtful response.

    I cna understand being under that blanket. When my mind is full of anxiety and depression following my PTSD it is already full of those things, and it is terribly difficult to deal wiht more. -I'm overloaded.

    I think you did a marvelous job in being able to talk it out, rather than just being overwhelmed and stuck.

    I'd realy like it if you let us know how you get on as time goes by


  7. LJpd81
    LJpd81 avatar
    251 posts
    12 May 2022 in reply to EeeDee
    How are you? Was just ready our post. Hope you are doing better. Did you find a new counsellor?

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