My First Counseling Session – Answers or Questions?

I didn’t know what to expect at a Counseling session. My first session was to be me alone because my wife refused to attend. It was preceded by a mix of feelings, including uncertainty, inadequacy (going it alone), and even a little curiosity.

Neither of my parents were big on structured advice. It was more along the lines of “Stop annoying your brother” or “Stop breaking the rules at school” or “Just stop!” So I am not ashamed to say I wondered what a counseling session would be like. Would my psyche be ripped from me and cut up and organized into tiny pieces so I could see my many flaws? Would I sit down, say two sentences, then burst into tears? Would she have practical advice for me?

I’m not sure any of these things happened. I didn’t cry like a baby and I didn’t get much in the way of advice. My psyche might have been diassembled but, if so, it was done very subtly. The very first thing she wanted to know was the timeline for what had happened. With the interplay of so many different things, I had to concentrate and organize my thoughts and explanations. I think this is what made it easier for me.

I look back on the session and wonder about the things I didn’t say because I was busy thinking about the timeline. I didn’t really talk about my feelings much because I was telling a non-fiction tale with many characters and times and places. Perhaps that will count against me in some way. I don’t have any frame of reference for counseling, so maybe it was odd of me? Maybe I was expected to sit down and say, “The bitch. She’s broken my heart. My daughters are distraught. Help me.” But I can’t do it like that. I try to look at both sides and explain why I think she has gone down the path of moving into the basement bedroom suite by herself.

But looking at both sides didn’t get me many answers because I don’t really know why she did it, whether she will keep doing it, or whether she’ll one day soon be gone when I get home. The counselor wants to see me again soon, so perhaps I will get some answers then. I hope so.

About Single Dad

I married young. Now, after more than 20 years of marriage, 3 wonderful daughters, and many ups and downs, my wife has decided the marriage is over. The "About Me" and "My Background" pages on my blog have more details.
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6 Responses to My First Counseling Session – Answers or Questions?

  1. coralf says:

    Therapy takes a while before the counsellor can get enough of a feel for you to be useful. You also need a counsellor that you connect with. I went though two before I found one that was right for me. Individual Conselling (IC) can also help marriages because it can help you uncover any desctructive patterns that you may be contributing.
    My IC and I write down every point I would like to address and she has promised to get through all of them by the time we are done.

    I would warn against going to Marriage Counselling (MC) with someone who is dead set on leaving as it becomes a forum for blame. You may wish to google the Midlife Club. I don’t wish that particular rollercoaster of a journey on anyone!

  2. Struggling Dad says:

    Thanks for the feedback; it is much appreciated. I think I will make a posting just about the Midlife Club as they seem to have a lot of very good material. That was a particularly good suggestion of yours.

    I have had a second session that I have not written up and posted yet. So far, the option to go individually or together is open. In one respect, I am fortunate: I am not being blamed by my wife for this. She has been very open in saying that she is the one who wants something else, something different. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s not related to me; maybe things I have done or not done have contributed to this. But, the point is that a joint session with both of us there *might* not be just about who to blame.

    Again, thanks for the thoughts and suggestions.

  3. unusual says:

    Very informative blog here. I couldn’t have made a better one if my life depended on it.

  4. Pingback: Should marriage counseling include the kids? | I think Divorce is likely

  5. agreed! nice way of puttin’ it man

  6. Pingback: Should marriage counseling include the kids? | Four is a Family

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