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What can I expect from a therapist?
(This was initially posted as my Response to a Question submitted to the website

Below are a few of the many questions I've received about issues related to counseling.

Question #1
What can I expect from a therapist? Is he/she there to listen only or actively participate in conversations? I understand that a therapist cannot tell you what to do, but do they analyze things and help you to figure out why you do the things you do? I am seeing my second therapist and I still do not feel satisfied that she is helping me or giving me the skills to deal with the issues of my husbands infidelity. I don't think I can re-hash everything with a third person.

Question #2
How do you know you have found a good counselor? How long should you go to a counselor when an affair has taken place in your marriage?

Question #3
I have seen a therapist regarding my recent discovery of my husbands 9 affairs over the 27 years of our marriage. She told me that "your husband is what we call a 'tom cat' and it is highly unlikely that he will change this pattern of behavior." Do you agree?

Question #4
If the person who had the affair suffers with low self esteem and self worth, how much counseling does this person need? Does this person need to seek counseling for years and years in order for deep, rooted issues can be revealed?

Question #5
About 6 months have passed. I recently read a book that emphasizes leftover issues from childhood as part of the "push" into an affair. Have you read about this and what do you think of it?

Question #6
It has been 6 months since I discovered my husband's romantic affair with a woman he met at an out of state conference. We have been in therapy for about 5 months with a psychologist we had seen some years earlier and were familiar with. However on my last visit she told me that I should have sensed that he was having an affair and could have done something to prevent it. I did sense something was wrong, but what could I have done to prevent it?

Question #7
I live recently experienced my spouse having an affair. This affair re-ignited 11 years after she was alleged to have had an affair with the same man. I went to counseling but I do not feel like the counselor grasped my feelings or even has helped me in dealing with my feelings. I could not find a BAN support listing for my area. Are there any other support groups I can meet with?

Question #8
My husband and I are currently recovering from his affair. Although my husband has recommitted to our marriage, he has not apologized for the affair or the hurt he has caused me. He has also never admitted that what he did was wrong and that he would never do it again. Our counselor has advised me not to bring up the past and by insisting to talk about the affair will only damage our recovery process. I feel for me to fully recover I need to hear my husband acknowledge how much he has hurt me.

Peggy's Response:
I have come to recognize (after hearing similar stories for so many years) that finding effective therapy/counseling in dealing with a spouse's affair is a significant problem for a great many people. While effective counseling can be a wonderful benefit, ineffective counseling can make the situation even worse. So I now focus a great deal of my effort on trying to collect information about which therapeutic practices are helpful—and which are not.

Finally, I undertook a project aimed at determining how therapists can be more effective and organized the results of my survey into a book titled Help for Therapists and their Clients. I offer a FREE copy of the book in PDF format.

Since this book provides not only the conclusions from the survey questions but the actual compelling voices of the many people who contributed, I do hope that many therapists (and their clients) will read this eBook.

Part of my effort has also been to help people find effective counseling. See Therapists and Counselors for more about this.

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