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How do you know when you are "done" with counseling?

Backstory: So a few months ago, my H and I went through a really rough time.  We have since been in counseling every week or every other week.  The counseling has helped tremendously in that our marriage is stronger and we are much happier now.  But one thing the counselor really stresses is that we can only change ourselves and we have to live in the present.  So we can't really talk about the past because we need to move on. 

But, in the past, we went through some major crises in our marriage at times when everything seemed perfect and happy like now so that is in the back of my mind at all times.  What if it comes crashing down again?  We have improved ourselves so much that I don't think we have anything to talk about in our next session.  So does this mean we are "done" with counseling?  Should we stop cold turkey or maybe go only once a month?  Should we see another counselor and talk about the past or is that totally counter-productive?

Please post if you have some experience with this.  Thanks!   

Re: How do you know when you are "done" with counseling?

  • you can totally stop cold turkey.  why not?

    if you feel a need for it....make an appointment.  i was in counselling with my parents for a few years....monthly.  as the realtionship repaired, we all sort of realized that we didn't need to go anymore.  so we stopped cold turkey.

    we found, over the following year, that we needed appointments here and there.  (we have since stopped completely compltely - but that last year, i think we had about 3-4 'special' one-off appointments).

     

  • Well, one of the reasons I am still married is because we started weekly counseling.  I think you get to a point where you only need to touch base every few months or a couple times a year.  Or not at all, unless something bubbles back up.

    I think you should spend your next/last session stating that you feel ready to move on and see if they agree or think you may benefit from touching in periodically.

     

    Congrats, by the way.  It must feel awesome to get to this point.

  • If you still feel the need to talk about things, maybe you should look into going to counseling without your husband. 

    I don't think I'll ever be completely done with counseling.  Sometimes I can go a year without talking to a counselor, but I recognize my own symptoms of needing to schedule another appointment.  It's easier to prevent issues, so talk to someone once in a while, vent, get stuff off your chest.  I know my marriage is better when I can vent to a counselor and refrain from doing it at home.  I don't want my husband to be bogged down by all my anxieties and worries.

    If I were in your shoes, I wouldn't quit cold turkey.  Schedule something three or four weeks in advance for a 'status check'.  Keep notes and make a list of things you want to address at that status check.  I don't like the feeling of falling without a net.  Whatever you do, good luck. 

    Twin boys due 7/25/12
  • My therapist lets me talk about the past, but the whole point is not to RE HASH it but to MOVE FORWARD and LEARN from the past. In regards to my STBXH, she always says that if I started fresh with him it really WOULD have to be starting fresh.

    The overall goal of therapy is learn "where do I go from here?"

    One thing I do from time to time is make a list of things to address in therapy. Mine is very recpetive to that idea because she likes to make sure I address everything I find important. 

    My opinion, if you are still thinking "what if it all comes crashing down again," then you are not done with therapy. There is a lingering doubt, and you need to find that root of that doubt. I don't think that is an unrealistic request to give to your therapist. It could just be fear for the future, but it could be something else.

  • Talk it over with your counselor.  S/he may suggest a "maintenance" session every once in awhile, or just leaving the option to start again when necessary.  Whatever works for you all.
    image
  • "My opinion, if you are still thinking "what if it all comes crashing down again," then you are not done with therapy."

     

    I respectfully disagree.  If you have ever had your world crash and burn around you, it makes sense that certain personalities would fear a reoccurrence.  That doesn't mean it hasn't healed to the point where you can cautiously move on.

     

  • image GypsyLou:

    "My opinion, if you are still thinking "what if it all comes crashing down again," then you are not done with therapy."

     

    I respectfully disagree.  If you have ever had your world crash and burn around you, it makes sense that certain personalities would fear a reoccurrence.  That doesn't mean it hasn't healed to the point where you can cautiously move on.

     

    Yes, well said Gypsy.  That's how I feel and I have a typically paranoid and OCD personality anyways.

  • talk about it with your therapist, they are trained in how to terminate work with clients, often it does include a few maintenance sessions and an open door to come back whenever you need it. 

    I go on an as needed basis now, usually once every 6 months or so.

    image
    Gretchen Evie, born 7/8/2012 at 35w5d
  • image missywong:
    image GypsyLou:

    "My opinion, if you are still thinking "what if it all comes crashing down again," then you are not done with therapy."

     

    I respectfully disagree.  If you have ever had your world crash and burn around you, it makes sense that certain personalities would fear a reoccurrence.  That doesn't mean it hasn't healed to the point where you can cautiously move on.

     

    Yes, well said Gypsy.  That's how I feel and I have a typically paranoid and OCD personality anyways.

    Unfortunately, I can very much relate to that.

  • image missywong:

    But, in the past, we went through some major crises in our marriage at times when everything seemed perfect and happy like now so that is in the back of my mind at all times.  What if it comes crashing down again?  We have improved ourselves so much that I don't think we have anything to talk about in our next session. 

    I am in individual counseling right now (actually just got back from my appointment 10 minutes ago).

    Things have been going really good lately.  I am seeing my couselor once every 2-3 weeks.  She asked how things were and I said "Great.  But it seems like everytime things are going well and I acknowledge that, something bad usually immediately follows."

    I'm telling you, we are like same people, different cities.  Stick out tongue

    I have also been contemplating on when to stop.  I don't know.  I'm almost scared to stop because I don't want things to get back to where they were, kwim?

  • Also, I am so happy to hear you are happier and things are going well.  That is fantastic.
  • weird - my counselor does let us talk about the past and we try to relive these situations and figure out better ways to handle them. Seems productive to me. I'd rather learn from past mistakes than to wait for the next crisis to be allowed to learn.
  • image Desmond&MollyJones*:

    But it seems like everytime things are going well and I acknowledge that, something bad usually immediately follows."

    I'm almost scared to stop because I don't want things to get back to where they were, kwim?

    Thanks!  I could have written those sentences word for word.  I hope the worst is over.

  • image GypsyLou:

    Well, one of the reasons I am still married is because we started weekly counseling.  I think you get to a point where you only need to touch base every few months or a couple times a year.  Or not at all, unless something bubbles back up.

    Ditto this.  For us, the true test of whether it worked was what we did when life got stressful.  Did we go back to our old ways or could we correct ourselves before we started the downward spiral.  It's been almost 2 years and so far we can self correct.  But, if we couldn't, we'd go back to touch base.

    DS1 age 7, DD age 5 and DS2 born 4/3/12
  • image AnKa:
    weird - my counselor does let us talk about the past and we try to relive these situations and figure out better ways to handle them. Seems productive to me. I'd rather learn from past mistakes than to wait for the next crisis to be allowed to learn.

    I'm wondering if people are reading into her exact wording too much?  OP correct me if I am off base.

    My counselor lets us rehash anything, but we eventually got a point where it was beating a dead horse.  We had to shift gears and it hinged on me being able to say "I am ready to leave that in the past" so we could move on to address core issues that got us there to begin with.

    So, in a sense I had to make a call to stop with certain past issues and make the decision to forge ahead.

    I am still sort of in that purgatory.

  • image GypsyLou:

    image AnKa:
    weird - my counselor does let us talk about the past and we try to relive these situations and figure out better ways to handle them. Seems productive to me. I'd rather learn from past mistakes than to wait for the next crisis to be allowed to learn.

    I'm wondering if people are reading into her exact wording too much?  OP correct me if I am off base.

    My counselor lets us rehash anything, but we eventually got a point where it was beating a dead horse.  We had to shift gears and it hinged on me being able to say "I am ready to leave that in the past" so we could move on to address core issues that got us there to begin with.

    So, in a sense I had to make a call to stop with certain past issues and make the decision to forge ahead.

    I am still sort of in that purgatory.

    Yes, I'm sorry.  We did talk about the past the first 2 months or so.  But then it totally came to the point where we were beating a dead horse and one session I let it slip that I felt my H wasn't "punished" enough.  He was scared of me and my passive aggressive anger anyways so I should no longer use the past to punish him.  So moving on and only living in the present is a way to self-soothe.  Does that make sense?

  • image GypsyLou:

    "My opinion, if you are still thinking "what if it all comes crashing down again," then you are not done with therapy."

     

    I respectfully disagree.  If you have ever had your world crash and burn around you, it makes sense that certain personalities would fear a reoccurrence.  That doesn't mean it hasn't healed to the point where you can cautiously move on.

     

    I agree, unless the person doesn't know how to deal with said reoccurrences. Then they are not done with counseling. It is hard to tell someone they are or aren't done without knowing them IRL.

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