Marriage Counseling Can Do Harm In Four Ways

October 17, 2009 by

Couples counseling or marriage counseling in Portland is probably not a step to take without thinking it through well.  There are four basic ways that some Portland marriage counselors (or anywhere really) can do more harm than good:

  • By Being Unskilled: Although 80% of marriage counselors say that they work with couples, only 12% have ever had even one course in couples counseling. Helping couples requires skill, tools, structure and a different approach than individual therapy. Research shows that unless relationship advice has tools, structure and education, then it is only as good as no counseling at all.
  • By Failing to Create Safety: Couples who are caught in their patterns and are behaving defensively create an unsafe relationship.  If a relationship counselor fails to create safety through structure and tools, the therapy is no more helpful than what the couple is doing on their own.  The counselor needs to teach you how to talk without shame, blame or criticism, and to listen without interrupting, showing contempt or being defensive.
  • By failing to teach you what is “Normal”: Conflict is normal in an intimate relationship.  All relationships that begin with romantic feelings eventually move into a power struggle. Once the chemicals of romance fade, it is normal to feel hurt, angry and hopeless. When we feel this way, we begin to act negatively toward our partner. In order to help you marriage counseling needs to teach you the stages of relationship and how to make your relationship happy, healthy and positive in every stage.
  • By Accidentally Undermining your Relationship: Relationship advice should never include telling you to break up. In fact, dispensing such advice is against the code of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Nevertheless, many marriage counselors do it anyway. When a counselor agrees that “if you are not happy then you should leave” they are not helping you. No one knows if your relationship is unfixable other than you and your partner. Sometimes untrained couple’s counselors don’t know what to do to help, so they give up on your relationship. If you are both willing to work on your relationship, it can be greatly improved.

Portland Marriage Counseling or Couples Counseling Calls For A Specialist

You would seek a specialist if you had cancer and you wouldn’t expect your family doctor to treat such a serious condition. If your relationship needs help (and almost all at some point do), find couples or marriage counseling in Portland that will help you have a “full recovery”.

Your committed relationship is the biggest investment and the most important asset in your life. Be sure to make regular deposits into the relationship and when necessary seek a specialist who can help your investment grow. 

For more information on marriage counseling or couples counseling go to our free resources page now.