Opinion about therapy?

AlZig

New member
The abridged version...

My spouse and I have been together for 10 years and married for 7 years, he has been dating his girlfriend for about 3.

I feel like my spouse and I have a lot to work on in our relationship. I do not have a good relationship with my metamor, I don't feel comfortable around her, as she has never felt comfortable around me and I've the last 3 years has caused several incidents often when 3 of us are in the same social spaces.

We were considering therapy, and initially I thought I would be ok with all of us doing it together. But I realized that my spouse and I have a lot of things to work through and I have no interest in working on a relationship so the 3 of us can get along, when he and I have so much to work on and I do t feel comfortable around her, or her me.
So we are now looking into couples therapy, for me and the spouse and the spouse and his girlfriend.
My spouse would like to go to the same therapist for both relationships. My knee jerk reaction is to say "no, I don't want to do that." But I couldn't figure out why, I still don't understand why I have this reaction. I asked him why he wanted to go to the same therapist and his reasons seem valid, but I still can't get the inkling that it is a bad idea.

My question, what is your opinion about sharing the same therapist for this situation? What is your experience with therapy or couples therapy?

Background, I have never tried therapy before, but have friends and other partners i talk to often. The spouse, has never tried therapy, doesn't talk to friends, and has never been able to talk about his emotions or feelings easily with me (unsure if he understands them).
 

Inaniel

Well-known member
I think rational arguments can be made about sharing a therapist inhibiting your own therapy.

Those arguments are yours to figure out and make. It is impossible for us to know from your post if you have legitimate concerns for your own therapy process, or if the feelings are out of a general distaste for the meta, or both…

Everyone in my polycule has gone to therapy, we tried couples therapy many moons ago but settled on separate therapists who specialize in different things.

One on one therapy did more good for my relationships than couples therapy did. IME success in therapy was more about finding a therapist specializing in my issues, and someone I trusted.

My favorite therapist had a no nonsense approach. He was very honest, direct, and challenging. That sort of approach would not work for either of my partners, they need a different approach to therapy entirely.

A potential downside of sharing a therapist is they might not be a good fit or the right approach for everyone.
 
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AlZig

New member
I think rational arguments can be made about sharing a therapist inhibiting your own therapy.

Those arguments are yours to figure out and make. It is impossible for us to know from your post if you have legitimate concerns for your own therapy process, or if the feelings are out of a general distaste for the meta, or both…

Everyone in my polycule has gone to therapy, we tried couples therapy many moons ago but settled on separate therapists who specialize in different things.

One on one therapy did more good for my relationships than couples therapy did. IME success in therapy was more about finding a therapist specializing in my issues, and someone I trusted.

My favorite therapist had a no nonsense approach. He was very honest, direct, and challenging. That sort of approach would not work for either of my partners, they need a different approach to therapy entirely.

A potential downside of sharing a therapist is they might not be a good fit or the right approach for everyone.
Thanks for the reply. I do plan on doing my own therapy, but it seems my spouse is not sure he will go that route. Although he is open to the idea. I can see where different styles from therapist can work for some and not fo others. I can see that happening here for sure, but not sure it will.

What are the "rational arguments" that you mentioned early in your post? Could you give me an example? Other than trust and specialization.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello AlZig,

My opinion is that if you do not feel comfortable seeing the same therapist for your situation, versus your spouse and his girlfriend, well, then, he should not be seeing the same therapist for both situations. One therapist will not be able to have the same understanding for both situations.

If your spouse is going to see the same therapist as the one for both of your situations, well, that is his decision. But I do not agree with it. He needs to see a therapist who views his situation from his viewpoint, not one who views things from some kind of generalized viewpoint.

Just my opinion,
Kevin T.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
What is your experience with therapy or couples therapy?

In my opinion, individual therapy can be very helpful if the relationship with the therapist is entirely constructive and solution oriented. This can be a difficult place to arrive at because the patient doesn't always want to be constructive and they don't actually want to heal, as well as the therapist having their own agenda and personality issues that keep healing from being the actual goal. Not to mention just personality conflict and approach to communication style can be a real stumbling block.

I have had a few individual therapy experiences, and one of them was very constructive. In that instance there was great work done and I feel like I came away from it not having wasted my time or his. The other attempts at therapy were less than constructive because it's a difficult thing to accomplish; it's a big ask.

As far as couples therapy... nope. If I am having so much difficulty getting along with someone that I need to employ a professional mediator to get us to a neutral place of basic function where we aren't making each other miserable, it is profoundly unlikely that couples therapy and communication workshopping is going to be the answer. Odds are there is a fundamental compatibility between expectations and reality, and an insistence on continuing a relationship when it probably should have been reassessed when the problems started.

Can communication workshops help people communicate better? Sure. Can communication workshops untangle resentment and fundamental personality incompatibility? I am highly skeptical. I don't conform to the concept that healing is a team sport; we don't share each others damage, and we don't share each others healing. That's just something we've always been sold and I don't think it lines up with actual reality.

In my world if I am determined to keep grinding out a relationship that has clearly shown signs that it needs to be adjusted, a therapist who specializes in non-traditional relationships could help me figure out what part isn't working and needs to be adjusted. It is highly likely that there are some expectations that are simply not lining up with reality, and a therapist who is qualified to have that conversation might help me identify where those expectations are. Then we could start to discuss how to adjust the current association to fit within the confines of reality. We would probably discuss ideas like changing the cohabitation setup, changing projects that are shared together, changing financial entanglement, and emotional detangling.

That would be my therapy recommendation, someone to help me work out what it is about this association that isn't working and developing a plan for adjusting it. The goal being to arrive at an association that exists ONLY within the natural overlap of the people involved. This requires that the relationship in it's current format isn't precious, and that I am willing to make reasonable changes (whatever those might be) to set up a relationship format that actually makes sense for the personalities involved.

My question, what is your opinion about sharing the same therapist for this situation?

If I decided that I was in favor of going to individual therapy because I was having struggle in a relationship (see my previous response), I absolutely would not consider going to the same therapist as the person(s) I am having the struggle with.

If I believed that a therapist was somehow capable of balancing the different perspectives without taking sides and without building their own bias about the situation, then I would consider it. Since therapists are just people who have the exact same failings as everyone else, I would not consider this as a possibility. That being said, everyone can get their own therapist.

If there is insistence on my having the same therapist as someone else I would be concerned about why that is. If I've said "no, I'll have my own therapist, thank you" and there is any response but "of course, you are an adult and I respect your boundaries", I can tell you that I've just found one of our problems.
 

Inaniel

Well-known member
What are the "rational arguments" that you mentioned early in your post? Could you give me an example? Other than trust and specialization.

For example. If sharing a therapist prevented you from being completely honest during your sessions. It would be reasonable to then say that a shared therapist impairs your ability to get the most out of the therapy.
 

AlZig

New member
It seems like talking to a therapist is highly individual. I haven't spoken to the therapist they talked to so I have no idea what they are like. But I can see myself being pretty cautious about bias and would probably not want to talk as freely if I thought the therapist were choosing sides in some way.

Since my partner seems to be fairly fixated on couples therapy over his own, I am unsure how this will go. I think if it were up to me, I would ask him to work on himself talk to a therapist about his own concerns first for a while and then move to couples therapy.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
But I can see myself being pretty cautious about bias and would probably not want to talk as freely if I thought the therapist were choosing sides in some way.

So if spouse suggests that (you + spouse) and (spouse + GF) all see the same person for the couple therapy? You say "No thanks. I'd like to keep the couple therapies with different people."

Since my partner seems to be fairly fixated on couples therapy over his own, I am unsure how this will go.

His deal to figure out then.

I think if it were up to me, I would ask him to work on himself talk to a therapist about his own concerns first for a while and then move to couples therapy.

Could ask him if he's considered that approach. He still might pick another way.

But you can do that approach for you. Set up your individual therapy for just you. Then move on to couple therapy with spouse.

Galagirl
 
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MeeraReed

Well-known member
I would definitely not feel comfortable with seeing the same therapist. I would worry that my therapist's advice would be influenced by what she observes in the other couple (but in a way that doesn't help me). I would worry the therapist would accidentally reveal private things about me to my metamour. I would worry about what my metamor was saying about me to my therapist.

Not sure if these are "rational" worries or not, but nonetheless I wouldn't be comfortable, so I wouldn't do it.

I wonder if a therapist would even see both couples separately in this case? It sounds like a difficult job for the therapist, to be honest.

But "rationally" I wonder whether it would actually be any different than a therapist seeing each member of a couple individually as well as in couples therapy. Is it different? Hmm.
 

PinkPig

Well-known member
Your feelings are completely valid. I've been in individual and couples therapy. My personal opinion mirrors much of what others have said. Individual therapy has helped me more in my relationships than couples therapy. If you do both, it's a good idea to have a different therapist for both, for many of the same reasons Meera said. I tried both with the same therapist. It didn't work well for me. It felt like my individual therapy was filtered through the lens of the couples therapy and she couldn't separate the two in a way that was helpful to either of us.

For the same reasons, your husband
should have a different therapist with his girlfriend. And in, fact, my current therapist's office requires this for family members and couples.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
I think if it were up to me, I would ask him to work on himself talk to a therapist about his own concerns first for a while and then move to couples therapy.

While it isn't up to you what your partner does with their therapy journey, it IS up to you what you do with YOUR therapy journey. Likewise it is not up to your partner what your therapy journey looks like, but it IS up to THEM what THEIR therapy journey looks like.

It sounds like you guys might be making team decisions about therapy for some reason, and I hope that you don't just let these people tell you what therapist you need to talk to. Again, that would be indicative of part of the problem that you are having (and as a result need to engage a therapist about).
 
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