How To Find A Good Marriage Counselor | Paul Friedman

Hi, I’m Paul Friedman founder of The
Marriage Foundation and today’s topic is How To Prepare For Marriage Counseling
and this is tricky because it really depends on what phase you’re in, in the
relationship so I’m going to make a few really useful suggestions right off the
bat. One is do not drag your spouse to marriage counseling, don’t do that unless
you are both really ready for marriage counseling. If one of you is going
against your will then it’s going to actually work against you. That’s
suggestion number one. Suggestion number two is put a list together of
expectations and I’m gonna help you with that. So, why did you get married in the
first place? You got married so that you would be happier that your life would
become a more fulfilling life. Forget the other person, be very individual right
now. It was a selfish move to get married you wanted to be happier, you have to be
clear about that, what do you want from your marriage now? You want to be happier.
Why are you going to marriage counseling? To be happier. So what should be at the
top of your list in terms of expectations of marriage counseling?
Obvious, right? You want to be happier. You don’t want to go into marriage
counseling and find out all the reasons why you’re not getting along that’s just
dumb. You want to find out from the moment you walk in to the session you
want to start progressing in a positive direction of happiness. Some marriage
therapists are just terrible and they go, “Oh no, we have to unpack this,
we have to unravel what’s going on. We have to get to the bottom of this.” No, you
don’t. A marriage counseling session is not a court of law where you’re trying
to get to the bottom of something. You want to fix your marriage, not this
little thing or that little thing, you want to fix your marriage as a whole. In
order to do that you have to bear in mind that the whole idea of your
marriage is to be happier so you want to do things in that marriage counseling
session that will bring you in the right direction. If you’re sitting there
venting, if you’re sitting there blaming if you’re sitting there explaining how
your spouse is doing this to you and not considering and all of that stuff that’s
not doing any good. The therapists role should be has to be to move you in a
positive direction. Now for instance, when I met with couples together, the first
thing that I did, and I only met with couples together after I matured my
process I only met with them together one time and in that time what I did was
I brought out from both, why they’re there? And then which again, so they could
be happy again, and then I wanted to demonstrate one to the other that both
were sincere and would make a sincere effort to put their marriage back on a
pathway to happiness and so that’s what your expectations should be that the
therapist that you meet with is focus laser-focused
on creating a foundation for the both of you to be happy again.
Is that so complicated? That should be an expectation. Now if that’s your
expectation then you also need to have an expectation of the therapist that
they know how to accomplish that. When you go in, the first thing a therapist
will usually do is say, “What’s going on?” But they usually say that because they
don’t know what to do. The sad fact is most marriage therapists don’t know what
to do so they muddle around and they go “Well, how about trying this? How about
trying that?” You shouldn’t be trying this or that. You should be guided to
specifically, do this or that they should know well enough how to guide you back
onto a path of happiness. So expectation number one, you’re going in
there to become encouraged again that you could get back on a good solid
foundation of marriage. Number two, you should be very clear that this therapist
that you’re meeting with knows what they’re doing.
Those are expectations and don’t feel badly about saying to your therapist as
you walk in because you’ve never met them before. It’s like going in to meet
any professional. You go, “Here are our expectations. How are you going to help
us achieve happiness again?” And if they tell you, ‘Well, we have to unravel all the
problems.” Then you have the wrong therapist. You cannot get there
from here as they say in Maine, you have to start with a very positive process
and the therapist you meet with should be an expert in getting you into that
right process right from the beginning. Every one of my couples left
with this sense of encouragement. We can do this which is another expectation you
should have is how they felt when they left. We can do this.
My spouse does love me, does care that should be brought out. The therapist
should bring it out. I never had a session where I didn’t have both the
husband and the wife in tears because they were experiencing how far off they
had gotten, and the experience that they were now feeling with my guidance was
that we can have that again and we can do this so that’s how you prepare. You
prepare by creating a list of your expectations. It is so important so many
people virtually everybody walks into the marriage counselors office with a
“Okay, what do we do Mr. Mrs. marriage counselor. I am in distress. I am feeling
I’m not loved. I’m feeling we don’t have good communication.” Duh, who doesn’t feel
that way? Why would you be going into marriage counseling if you felt
otherwise, you want me to name all the things that you’re feeling lack of
intimacy, poor communication, being taken advantage of, not being appreciated, the
list goes on. We can’t fix those things one at a time. You’ll never get there.
You’ve got to be put right on a track of positive movement progress then what I
did, and this may vary granted, but I found the most efficacious thing to do
was after I established for the couple that, yes, we can do this. Yes, we love each
other. Yes, we’re both making mistakes and we need to do things to heal this and
then what I did I separated the couple and I met them one at a time
individually and rarely brought them back together that was rarely a need to
because you’re different people, you’re not the same person. You marry
to become one sure you marry to become one as souls but your minds are
completely unique. Souls are unique too but because
it’s love it’s like a liquid and your hearts join that’s true intimacy and
you’re supposed to use your mind and your body to create that dynamic between
the two of you. So each of you has to do it differently. You’re not the same
person, you can’t sit there and watch how the therapist helps your spouse. It won’t
do you any good. In fact, it’ll do you harm because that creates expectations
of your spouse which you shouldn’t have. Believe it or not. You should only have
expectations of yourself so you want to make sure and this is where we get to
another expectation that the therapist has a concrete solid process that they
have used countless times and it works all the time. Do not meet with a young
therapist who is in training, just don’t do that. It’s like this,
therapists do not learn how to be good therapists by going to therapy school or
by watching someone else. They learn over time, they learn by gaining the benefit
of a process that they have utilized and seen for themselves what works.
Unfortunately, the apprentice program in psychology is that after someone
completes therapy school they go work under a therapist and gain experience.
Don’t go there. I don’t care how wonderful it is for them, I don’t care
how wonderful the process is for the state and for the requirements. Don’t go
there. You need someone who’s going to shift
you right on track right away, it’s imperative that you don’t waste your
energy, your time, your effort and your good intentions on a session that’s
going to get you nowhere. Don’t do that. It is much better to see the person and
you go, how many people have you worked with? How many couples have you worked
with? How’s your success rate? What happens? Do you have proof? Tell us about
it. Tell us what has happened with your previous couples? What is your process?
You want to be very clear this is too important. Realize the most important
decision you’ve ever made in your life was to marry the person you’re married
to. It’s not going well doesn’t mean it’s got to end, it just means you don’t know
what you’re doing. Literally, 95% of all marriage casualties is based on a lack
of knowledge, that’s it. I’m gonna close this video and I’m gonna make a
recommendation to you. Even before you do this, go ahead and get one of my books
either Lessons For a Happy Marriage or Breaking the Cycle. See if that helps. If
it’s gone too far and those books don’t help because maybe there’s infidelity
now or you just can’t even look at each other maybe you need the course that I
put together which bypasses the need and in my opinion, it’s superior to
marriage therapy. But try that it’s also a less expensive way in a more
sure-footed way of helping your marriage. I truly hope that this video was
beneficial for you. If it is, like it share it with others and if you want to
ask questions use the comment box or write to one of our counselors at the
Marriage Foundation. We’re here to serve you, we’re here for you and we want you
to have the most successful amazing marriage ever which means, and this is
very important, a healthy marriage means that it’s not stable. It means that it is
ever-expanding love that consumes you in joy and happiness and that’s what we
want for you. All right. Blessings to you, blessings to your
spouse, blessings to your family and God bless. Thank you for taking your time
with me.

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