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Question
Posted by: Nervous | 2019/07/17

Concerned about marriage counselling

Dear Cybershrink My husband and I are embarking on marriage counselling via the state next week. Seeing a psychologist. We both feel that are issues are that we both have knee jerk reactions (he is very bad) and neither of us respond well to stress of which we have a lot from financial to family you name it. Will a psychologist be able to refer us both to anger management classes or be able to help us directly with these issues? Also, I am anxious about how to start without it sounding like I am lambasting my husband. He is anxious about it too. I guess the psychologist will take the lead and guide us? How does one start: So, I think we both have anger issues and we don't seem to handle stress well which makes us fight and blame each other? Please just tell me how the Psychologist is likely to start. Both of us are willing to go, we love each other very much. Both over 45. Second marriage.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink
- 2019/07/17

Hi Nervous, 
With the love you have for each other, and the obvious intelligence you share, this should work out well.  Psychologists can have different ways of working, but should adapt to who you are, and what you feel comfortable with.  Obviously, to start with, they'd want to hear from each of you, how you see the current problems.  Remember this isn't a judge an a court case, so it's not about either of you accusing the other and proving how awful they are, but a chance for you each to explain your point of view, rather than to decide who is right and who is wrong.
The most useful way for each of you is to talk about aspects of how the other behaves and how that makes you feel. Sometimes what he does makes you feel bad, even if that's not his intention, and even if he doesn't notice !  It's more useful to say : When you do X, I feel Y" rather than, as is tempting"You ALWAYS do X".
Apart from dealing with the difficulties that arise between you, it sounds like it's be valuable to focus on the issue that troubles you both, and on enhancing your skills at handling stress. Most psychologists should be able to provide guidance as to anger management, too.
And give the psychologist feedback, too : we found it especially helpful when you did V"

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