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3 Bumps

Relationship Counselor with a Bias

My boyfriend and I have gone for two sessions with a relationship counselor. It seems to me like she has a strong bias toward my boyfriend and his feelings. For example, we started talking about how I want to have another baby and he doesn't, and the counselor went off on a tangent about how at my age, having a baby was a big risk--I'm 41. Or we were talking about how I didn't feel the financial arrangements we had were fair to me, and she asked if I'd paid the bils and helped out with his kids of my own free will. I said well, nobody was holding a gun to my head if that's what she meant, and she said I had to get to a place where I could see that nobody owes anybody anything in a family. But then he was saying how much more work it is to live with a blind person because of running extra errands and stuff, and having only one driver in the house, and she said she could see how that would be true. So what about nobody owes anybody anything; that's just what families do? He brought up how I wasn't all that interested in sex, and I said I couldn't help it that I didn't want it three times a week. She said well, he can't help it that he doesn't want another baby, either, and then she started getting in my head and asking if I'd always set up my relationships where I would give and give and give and then feel I was owed something in return. What about getting in his head and finding out why he has such a crazed sex drive, to the exclusion of all else? Or we were talking about how we have diffrent expectations of how to keep the house. His idea of keeping house is to kic a path that we can walk through, and that's it. My idea is closer to everything in its place, so she went into this whole spiel about how not everybody had to be as structured and detail-oriented as I am because my disability has shaped my way of setting up my world.

So, is this what counseling is supposed to be like? We don't go back till the first of December because of Thanksgiving, but I'm not sure I want to go back at all. He pretty much just sat there and didn't say anything, while the counselor picked me apart. Will it be his turn to be picked apart next time?


Asked by Ballad at 1:07 PM on Nov. 14, 2012 in Relationships

Level 45 (193,996 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (13)
  • That's not what I would expect from a counselor--not in individual therapy, for starters (too directive), but especially not in couples therapy! That would be true if the "bias" were in my direction, too.
    What sticks out to me is the directive aspect, the injection of personal opinion. Wow. (The comment about having another baby being "a big risk" at your age, in particular.) I do not believe that influencing clients toward your values/beliefs or convictions, or toward some "right" conclusion/resolution, should be the goal of therapy. The process is about helping people clarify their OWN wishes, beliefs & goals for themselves. Therapist "agreement" with those is irrelevant!! (The exception being areas that require mandatory reporting.) In my experience, good counselors make this explicit; they also embody it.
    Mistakes are human but to me that would have been a comment to catch & apologize for!!
    The therapeutic alliance is key.

    Answer by girlwithC at 1:37 AM on Nov. 15, 2012

  • It may be... or may not be. Some of her observations were right on target, though; the risk to having another child in particular. That's one of those issues that needed to be settled before you moved in together: Will we have kids? How many? If that's changed, then you look at the reasons why.

    Three times a week isn't a crazed sex drive. Three times an HOUR is a crazed sex drive. The housekeeping issues call for compromise. The money issues? That calls for a real agreement and a written budget. What the counselor meant about "nobody owes" was that you have NO obligation to be putting out the money you do... yet you're doing it anyway. You're not married; there's no reason for you to do it so if you don't feel it's fair stop doing it.

    Answer by gdiamante at 1:20 PM on Nov. 14, 2012

  • Some of it sounds like valid stuff. Sometimes in counseling, we hear things we don't like - but they're true. The fact that we don't like them doesn't make them less true. For example, the baby issue - it is a fact that there is a larger risk in having a baby at your age. Her pointing that out doesn't necessarily mean she's biased. It also doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't have another baby.

    But some of it does Telling you he owes you nothing, but then validating his "oh, poor me, I do so much more because she's blind" side doesn't really sound like she's trying to help you guys find balance.

    Maybe you could try one more session and see how it goes? If you still feel it's going badly, maybe switch to a new counselor and see if that goes any better.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 1:51 PM on Nov. 14, 2012

  • I'm sorry it was such a bad experience for you. Do you and your bf have separate sessions or only sessions together? I went to marriage counseling with my ex and the counselor was definitely more on my side - she recommended I leave! I think it would be hard to not be biased, but that's their job. I would be tempted to find someone else.

    Answer by missanc at 1:16 PM on Nov. 14, 2012

  • I think she may just be trying to get you to understand his point of view from an outside perspective. You are already naturally biased yourself because you are in a relationship with him and naturally you feel like you are right and his is wrong on these issues. I think she's just trying to get you to see it from a different perspective and at the same time giving him credit fot his feelings since he probably already feels like he's "losing" these battles with you.

    Also, I don't mean to be offensive really I don't but I am curious to know how you read Q&As and type? I'm honestly just curious do not mean to offend....

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:16 PM on Nov. 14, 2012

  • she sounds bias to me.. she wants you to understand and see his side, which is fine.. but what about having him see your side? she cant have one of you compromise and the other not have to give in at all.. if your not happy with the counselor you should go to someone that BOTH of you are happy with and maybe takes a different approach in making u see eachothers sides..

    Answer by kp0469 at 2:10 PM on Nov. 14, 2012

  • Do you feel like she is paying attention to your needs and issues? I would go to the individual appointment (if you are supposed to have one) and wait to see if she addresses your concerns in a future joint session. If she neglects your concerns then find a new therapist.

    Answer by QuinnMae at 2:34 PM on Nov. 14, 2012

  • "A lot wasn't settled when we moved in together because wwe didn't do it for particularly good reasons. He needed a place to go when his marriage ended. My family was wanting to take my then unborn baby away from me because of my visual impairment, and I knew that having a sighted person in the house would greatly improve my chances of keeping my child if the matter went to court. So it was convenient for both of us. Now we're working out the snags, five years later, I guess."

    You make it sound more like roommates than anything else; it's as if you're together out of convenience rather than true attraction and mutual goals. I can't say I blame your boyfriend for not wanting to bring a baby into the mix. If the relationship is already rocky, a baby will only make it rockier.

    Answer by gdiamante at 1:55 AM on Nov. 15, 2012

  • It may be she is seeing obvious discomfort in your boyfriend and she's trying to start with him so as to make him feel more comfortable. It may also be she's uncomfortable with you. Or it could be that she has some valid points. Give it some time.

    Answer by adnilm at 2:08 PM on Nov. 14, 2012

  • I can understand that because of an unplanned & unexpected pregnancy (you've shared some details about that before) and the larger situation, you ended up making a household together the way you did. It made practical sense to move in together (feelings, relationship & commitment aside) and the circumstances meant that, as you said, some things weren't worked out very well & some unresolved conflicts exist.

    Heck, this is true in my relationship (which is a 12 yr marriage, which was not rushed & in which our oldest child is 8) simply because some things about communication & managing conflict you learn over time, as you grow. We're pretty compatible individuals, and that has been helpful, but still we are growing & learning, and becoming more healthy/mature, and this extends to how we manage our feelings & handle conflict (I'm not even talking about "fighting," just simply feeling differently or wanting different things.)

    Answer by girlwithC at 1:57 PM on Nov. 15, 2012

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