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When To See A Marriage And Family Counselor?





When to see a marriage and family counselor?

Couple crisis, communication problems, sexual difficulties, family conflicts… Marriage and family counselors offer listening to all those who suffer from marital, emotional and family difficulties. And help to take stock and restore dialogue. The explanations of Caroline Kruse, marriage and family counselor.


Who are the couples who usually come to see you?

We have a lot of young people. Before making a commitment, having a child, or later, when they feel that something between them is cracking, they come to talk, to try to understand. They no longer hesitate to get help. Some have suffered from their parents struggling in heart-wrenching conflicts; to separate, sometimes violently, or, on the contrary, to spend the rest of their life locked in a false life as a couple. They don't want that for themselves or their children. Coming to consult is, for these young adults, to testify to the importance they place on their relationship. But this request for help also concerns other ages of life. Spouses come to consult when the children leave, at the approach of retirement or when the illness of a parent who has become dependent or his death, come to question the couple again on the place of each other, on transmissions, debts and conflicts of loyalty.


Who are the couples who usually come to see you?

We have a lot of young people. Before making a commitment, having a child, or later, when they feel that something between them is cracking, they come to talk, to try to understand. They no longer hesitate to get help. Some have suffered from their parents struggling in heart-wrenching conflicts; to separate, sometimes violently, or, on the contrary, to spend the rest of their life locked in a false life as a couple. They don't want that for themselves or their children. Coming to consult is, for these young adults, to testify to the importance they place on their relationship. But this request for help also concerns other ages of life. Spouses come to consult when the children leave, at the approach of retirement or when the illness of a parent who has become dependent or his death, come to question the couple again on the place of each other, on transmissions, debts and conflicts of loyalty.


Do you receive single people?

Yes. It is possible to come and speak on your own about your relationship. Because the other does not want to take the step, is afraid of it, does not see the problem or thinks it is not his. Even in this way, we can get things done. By analyzing the mechanisms of the couple, the way in which the roles of each have not been able to evolve. Understanding oneself better, esteeming oneself better, being more confident in one's choices, is a powerful factor of change for oneself, but also for others. If one of the two partners moves, the whole couple is forced to move on. You can also live alone and meet with a marriage counselor. Not living as a couple does not preserve the turbulence of relational and emotional life. Difficulties in meeting someone, fear of being rejected because of their sexual orientation, complicated relationships with parents who are too close or too absent, relationship to contraception and abortion, children to be raised alone after a separation ... are all subjects of consultation.



What is the difference between marriage counseling and couples therapy?

First of all, the marriage and family counselor has a broader training than the couple therapist. Some counselors have also been trained - this is my case - in couples therapy. Another difference: couples therapy involves a long-term commitment and in-depth psychotherapeutic work on the development of conflicts. Like the psychoanalysis to which it leans, it works less in the here and now and more involves the analysis and interpretation, in the transference, of the unconscious group processes that run through the couple. Marriage counseling, at least as I see it, while taking into account individual and group unconscious phenomena is also situated in a pro-active support function and in the concrete difficulties of the relationship.


So how do you choose who to go to in case of difficulty?

If the crisis we are going through seems punctual, if it is a well-defined difficulty on which we need the insight of a professional, if we do not wish a priori to engage in a long-term job, recourse to marriage counseling is perfectly indicated. It will then be up to the counselor to assess, with the consultants, whether they deem it useful for them to go further, either with this same counselor - if he has been trained in couples therapy - or with a colleague in who will send them.


Is marriage counseling a form of therapy?

Marriage and family counseling is not defined as therapy but, like all work of reflection and introspection on oneself, on otherness, on the relationship that unites us to others, it has therapeutic effects.

My role consists of active listening. It is not just about letting hardship or suffering express itself. But not to advise on an educational or directive method to make one choice rather than another. The idea is through the dialogue that is established, to bring out an interpretation, a decision.

A better understanding of what leads to a crisis can be a powerful lever for change. For that, we have to work on two levels. First, that of the past, of each person's personal history, of its repercussions in current relational life, and, if the two members of the couple come to consult, how their stories are intertwined to make them meet. , love each other and, when they come to consult me, hesitate to continue their life together. Then, you have to work concretely in the here and now of their life. There is in all human history a social, family determinism, which made what we are but there is also in us a part of freedom that we must allow ourselves to live.

Contrary to those who would still think that the "shrinks" are not there to "do good" to those who consult them, I hope that at the end of the journey made together, the people that I receive will feel more in agreement with them themselves, more clear about their choices and ultimately happier. Precisely because their decisions will have been informed, understood, chosen, and no longer suffered or imposed.

It often happens that patients I haven't seen for a long time come back for a session or two. They tell me that they are fine but they would like to come and talk to me about something that is embarrassing them. A bit like we come back to see a family doctor from time to time in whom we really trust. This confidence that is built over the years is an aspect of my job that really touches me.

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