Psychotherapy & Counseling in the Pikes Peak Region
Dick Wulf, MSW, LCSW              Jean Wulf, MSW, ACSW
(719) 659-6102                                      (719) 659-6097
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Question: I am unhappy in my marriage, but my spouse will not agree to go to counseling. Would you recommend that I go myself?

Dick Wulf's Answer: I am sorry that you and your spouse are having such a painful time. You are not alone. Many people are trapped is such relationships. And, it is quite often that one spouse does not want to go to counseling.

Yet, the one who wants to get some help should definitely go for counseling. Not being willing to go to counseling is often a power play. Not going to counseling allows the one party to control the relationship -- and that is never good for a marriage. A good counselor can help you decide how to respond in a healthy way without letting the other person "call all the shots".

At least insist that you will get some help for yourself. A lot of marital interaction is driven by patterns of relating that have been going on for some time. Therefore, one person can make changes in his or her own behavior and responses that change the pattern. Counseling can identify the most critical changes to make and help you "stubbornly" change the dysfunctional pattern.

I often begin with just one person and quite often the other person comes in later, or makes the required changes (even sometime to avoid coming in and facing a counselor).

I help my clients in your situation communicate in better ways back home in the relationship, especially asking questions to clarify issues rather than arguing. This often breaks the cycle of arguing.

Sometimes the absent spouse is willing to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a personality test that often explains why so much arguing is going on. Then the absent spouse comes in just for the explanation of the results. My experience is that about 90% of them are then willing to come in for counseling because the detailed explanation of the MBTI results produces some relief in the relationship.



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