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Friday, July 09, 2010

what not to do during your first couples therapy session



1. Do not show up at the first session with a bill board size list of all the things your spouse does that annoys you. You look controlling and narcissistic. And there's nothing that puts a shrink in a worse mood than a controlling narcissist.

2. Do not, when asked what you think after your spouse has listed a complaint, say, "I don't know." You look like a passive-aggressive numbskull. And there's nothing that puts a shrink in a foul mood like a passive-aggressive numbskull, except maybe a controlling narcissist.

3. Do not, when your spouse is rambling about her complex and convoluted feelings, doze off. You look like you don't give a sh*t. And since you're paying the shrink a hefty fee to occupy that comfy couch? You look like a spend thrift and an ignoramus. And there's nothing that gets under the skin of a shrink more than finding out you don't give a sh*t and apparently don't mind wasting hard-earned money while you perfect being an ignoramus.

4. Do not, when asked how you feel after listening to your spouse's rambling, complex and convoluted feelings, say, "Huh? Uh. What do I feel? Uh. Nothing." You look like a 1950's out-of-touch suburban slacker. And nothing makes a shrink side with your spouse faster than realizing you are a 1950's out-of-touch suburban slacker.

5. Do not, after your partner explains in a sensitive and carefully worded way that she is not having orgasms with your decades-old, same-old routine, say, "Huh. None of my ex-girlfriends ever complained." You look like a cad who has spent far too much time in front of cheap porno movies pushing the rewind button until your thumb is sprained.

And P.S. Your old girlfriends were lying.

You probably also bought the line, "You're only my second."

6. Do not, after listening to your spouse take responsibility for faults and overwrought, coming-unhinged emotional tendencies, say, "Well, as for me, I won Best All Around three years in a row." You look like an insensitive clod whose sense of self is as fragile as that English soccer goalie's ego after this now infamous World Cup move.

Speaking of the English goalie, here's a must-see video clip of a never-before-seen camera angle, complete with Green's never-before-heard internal dialog as the ball slips past. If you missed that link, it's What the English Goalie was Thinking.

7. Do not fool yourself into thinking that you will be let off the hook that easily.




You will not. You will, instead, look like a spouse who needs intensive individual therapy if your relationship stands a snowball's chance in July in New Jersey. Your spouse has drug you into therapy not because he wants to humiliate you but because she wants this relationship to work, i.e., your partner loves you. Now quit being a bonehead, wake up, take some responsibility, and show some love back. Because nothing makes a shrink feel more optimistic than two people willing to talk openly and risk showing the love back.


38 comments:

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Off to my first couples therapy tomorrow. Thanx for the tips

Vodka Mom said...

LOVED this.

And I also love the new look. :-)

Mental P Mama said...

Amen...

Magpie said...

Oh yes.

hokgardner said...

And do not state that the only way you'll continue therapy with your spouse is if he takes a lie detector test with questions you've drawn up for him.

Woman with kids said...

...I kinda liked the bill board. You know, just to make sure you don't forget anything?

Woman with kids said...
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Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

My stepsister's soon-to-be-ex-husband needed this.

Jocelyn said...

MORE, MORE, MORE of this! I love knowing the thoughts behind the impassive face...and getting to feel that I lucked out in not ending up with such a clod.

snugglebug said...

It's like a sad cliche. I feel sorry for the guy that he has to live with himself.

Rachel Cotterill said...

Interesting reading - funny, but also slightly depressing...

yogurt said...

Rachel -- I think you summed it up. It can be awfully depressing from both sides of the couch. But then, ray of hope, sometimes couples can be reasonable, can be steered in a healthy direction and it's uplifting.

sherry said...
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sherry said...

You sound a little peevish, but understandably so.

Kathleen Scott said...

Spouse's attitude might benefit from having cancer so he can get some perspective on what's really important in life. But I guess you can't prescribe it...

Kelli Anne Busey said...

I wouldn't know what to say at all cause like the knuckle head that I was I told her' we don't need no stinkin counseling'. oh well. Whoops, was 'oh well' incriminating? I take it back. Can I do that?

Wendi said...

Good tips to know.
And let's hope next time he does something more productive like jump on the couch.

Jenn@ You know... that blog? said...

I think it's often a feat unto itself to be able to GET a spouse into counseling!

For the therapist's benefit alone there should be a mandatory pre-appointment lesson on how to approach your first counseling session, don't you think? Perhaps an online video tutorial on how to get the most out of your time spent on the couch, with a series of questions right after to make sure they actually sat through it...

flutter said...

Holy crap, this is perfect.

flutter said...

Holy crap, this is perfect.

Aunt Snow said...

Yikes! How do you stand it?

The Caffeinated Globe said...

Every couples need to read this post.

Big thanks for adding my blog to your "BLOG WORTHINESS" list. I really appreciate it. And I have already added your blog on my "EXCHANGE LINKS" list. See for yourself!

Therapist Directory said...

Hi

Nice Tips ! A experienced therapist finds ways to restore the broken relationship by resolving the conflicts and healing the wounds.

petrichoric said...

MM and I attended couples therapy, but I didn't think it did much good. I liked my therapist on an interpersonal level but I found it hard to relate to her. I researched her on the internet (yeah, I know...stalker) and found out that she was obviously quite wealthy, and married to a wealthy husband. This rankled when I complained about MM's reluctance to get a job because he wants to finish his graphic novel (which he never does finish). She said, impatiently, "Well, you knew this about him when you married him". It was kind of hard to hear that from someone who only worked one afternoon a week and spent the rest of the time at home with her kids (because her husband's salary allowed her not to work). I also felt that we spent a lot of time focusing on my faults, and not MM's but maybe that's what everyone feels. I don't know.

Hip Mom's Guide said...

Seriously? Life never ceases to amaze me!

Susan said...

You could add the two my husband used when we went to a marriage counselor 19 years ago. 1. I don't have any problems, she has problems. 2. We will not discuss our sex life.

He stopped attending after 4 of our scheduled 10 sessions. (He said she was trying to break us up.) I completed the sessions and she said he wouldn't make any changes, and I had to decide if I could live with him. So far I still am. Not sure it is a good idea, though.

Tammy said...

I went to couples therapy without my husband... He refused to go... This post made me laugh and feel envious at the same time, at least those couples got their significant others there!

Rodell said...

Just for a moment you had me hoping my marriage starts to disintegrate so I can be a good patient. Just for a moment.

apathy lounge said...

I heart this post. Totally.

Dr. Deb said...

OMG, that is a great post!

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that people end up in couples therapy because of issues with being a controlling narcisist, a passive agressive numbskull, and an out of touch 50 suburbanite - that's why they're having relationship problems! It's the therapists job to help each person in the couple work through their issues - all those above included. Having said that, you're post is hilarious. Thanks for the laugh!

yogurt said...

Anonymous - Thanks for your comment. You are mostly correct. There are some people, unfortunately, who are beyond the scope of couples therapy, who need to be referred to individual therapy because they are not responsive or amenable to cojoint work. So while the couples therapist is there to help the individuals with their issues, there are limits. Kind of like a family physician who refers to a specialist because the presenting problem is beyond the scope.

Dr Zibbs said...

This is not a job I'd like to have.

yogurt said...

dr zibbs - it does have it's horrific moments.

Jason, as himself said...

I am so glad that I haven't done any of this stuff when when we have gone to therapy!

Come over to The Jason Show and help me fight cancer today. I'll show you my bare chest if you do.

Anonymous said...

Loud and clear.

Jennifer said...

Any combination of those appointments in one day (or just one) would make for a long day...

JCK said...

Wonderful tips. I could use a tune-up, and these are good reminders. :)