First Counseling Session

Wow! My OCPD DH and I had our first counseling session and I was totally blown-away! The therapist is a clinical psychologist with a PhD from Yale and no ‘shrinking violet!’ She did NOT use that touchy-feel-ly type of reflective listening technique (which I abhor). She actually ‘took names and kicked butt’! At one point she seemed a little snarky and afterward, she might have thought she had offended me.Let me explain: She was asking my DH why he was coming to see her and he looked kind of red-faced and bashful and stammered…. ‘I – I -guess it’s because I have some issues with- uh- OCPD.’ She asked him to elaborate and he said… ‘I find fault and don’t phrase things in a good way. Like, she’ll make a great dinner (like all of hers are) and I’ll tell her how she didn’t clean up an area. Guess I could say it in a different way.’ (  And I’m thinking, ‘Dude, do you really have to say it at all? I already have a father.)

When the therapist asked if there was anything else, he looked at me and said … Yes, but I’m not remembering it right now…. I almost fell off my chair. Then, I laughed and said, well honey, just think of the ride over here.… He smiled. He knew what I meant: he told me which lane to drive in; made snide comments whenever I asked which way to go, on and on… but we didn’t go into it. I then said… I truly can’t believe that you would forget to mention all the control issues we have. I was laughing but everyone knew it was serious.

The therapist stopped me when I was going to give her an example. She said this isn’t how it works. You don’t drop him off here, tell us what’s wrong with him and want us to fix him and return him to you. She said that he couldn’t remember about the control issues because he doesn’t see what the problem is with them. It’s not a problem for him… It’s a problem for you. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s drug addiction, alcoholism, perfectionism, or OCPD or all of them. He is just fine the way he is … for him.

At first, I was like… huh??? Then,I got it! She was so. totally. RIGHT! I said, I guess when a person attempts to live in the world in a relationship with others, that’s when issues can become untenable. When I asked her about CBT ( Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) she said… this is a matter of ‘couples counseling’… plain and simple. It isn’t anything that can be worked on in isolation because the dynamics involve interaction.

I agree to a certain extent… but I’m still VERY curious as to what she means by ‘couples counseling’ and why that wouldn’t involve assessment and mitigation of faulty thought processes (or maybe it does). I liked her A LOT and told her so. She looked a little relieved because she had been so forceful with me… but, like I said… I really respect that approach and understand it (Maybe because I’m a little like that, at times).

Anyway, my DH liked her too and we confessed to each other, afterward, that when she said… ‘couples counseling’ we both thought she was going to refer us to someone else. BUT, she didn’t. We have an appt with her in 2 weeks. I’m VERY curious about how she’s going to have us approach the control and rigidity issues that impact our relationship so strongly. I did let her know that we had been to couples’ counseling for a 6 week group session a few years ago; had learned a lot and still use many of the techniques. We’ll see.

I’m thankful for all the support I got from the people on the OCPD.freeforums.org . I soooo wanted NOT to be the spouse who was righteous and demanding and acting like it was all him. The therapist still said I spoke a lot for him (which I will definitely work on!) and also, she sort of put me down for my having done Internet research.  This was information that DH had volunteered.  I could have shot him, but it was my fault, really, for not asking him NOT to mention what we learned and from where. She then alluded to an Internet diagnosis. grrrrrr. I said, well, we took the Cammer self-test to help us get a handle on things.

Hope my experiences will help others who are in therapy.  If anyone has anymore suggestions or advice or just wants to share their experiences re: therapy, I’d welcome that!

2 thoughts on “First Counseling Session

  1. Thank you for this post! The therapist sounds as though she’s awake and aware and that’s what I’d look for. I wonder what her background is? I’m looking forward to hearing about your next session! How loving of both of you to seek this help. You are truly teachers for one another. 😉

  2. I’m now launching into a discussion of Lundy Bancroft’s book on Scattered Thoughts, and one of his key points is that no program for abusers works without the input/feedback of the abused woman. The men would come in and spin BS and *sound* like they were working hard; then he would call & talk to their partners and find out the men were coming home from each session in a rage and taking it out on the partner who “made them” go through this.

    So, at least in that sense, the idea that it is “couples’ therapy” works for me. It sounds encouraging, so far. Keeping fingers and toes crossed for you two.

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