Why Does Our Couples Counselor Want To See My Husband Individually?

By: Katie Lersch: I think that most people would agree that the gold standard of recovery after an affair is finding a marriage counselor who can help guide you through a healthy recovery. After all, many of us have the will to move on and to save our marriage. But many of us don’t have the knowledge of what we need to do next. Most of us aren’t able to identify where we are getting stuck. Counseling or targeted self help can aid us with this.

So most of us are pretty certain that we are doing the right thing when we require that our spouse accompany us to counseling. But sometimes, the counselor says or does things that we do not agree with. And it makes us question our decision. One such example is a counselor who wants to do individual counseling in addition to the couples’ counseling.

You might hear a spouse say: “I can’t deny that going to marriage counseling has helped us after my husband’s affair. When we first started going to counseling, we would erupt into fighting the second that we were alone together. Now, we can communicate for longer periods of time before things go south. And we have to work together in order to do our weekly assignments. It has helped us. I can’t deny that. But last week, the counselor told us that he would like to see my husband individually. She did not really explain why she wants to do this and it makes me feel uncomfortable. Is she only trying to pad her bill now? I know that this is silly, but I’m starting to look back on some of our therapy sessions and I find myself thinking that she may have been flirting with my husband at times. I know that this is paranoid thinking on my part. But I don’t want my husband spending intimate alone time with another woman. Considering what I’ve gone through with his cheating, I think that this is understandable. My husband says he will do whatever I want. He says if I don’t want him to go, he won’t. I am confused about this. Why would she want to see him individually? Should I be concerned?”

I do understand your thought process. It’s normal to be suspicious all of the time when you’ve recently had to deal with this type of betrayal.  I am not a counselor. But I do know that it is very common for a couple to do both couple and individual therapy after an affair. The couples therapy is so that the issues in the marriage can be worked through. And the individuals counseling is so that the counselor can help the individual identify and work through their individual behaviors that could have contributed to the affair or that might now be keeping them from healing in the present time.  It also allows both people to be open and to say things that they may not have wanted to say in front of their spouse.  This makes healing possible when it may have been stalled before.

Many therapists see both types of counseling as necessary. Because it is difficult to completely fix your marriage if the individuals involved are going to keep participating in behaviors that are destructive to the marriage. Often, the counselor will suggest individual therapy to both spouses. I can’t speculate as to why the therapist in the above scenario just asked the husband. This is only speculation on my part, but it could be that she thinks that his issues are the most immediate and that she will evaluate the wife individually later.

I’m not going to tell you that couple’s counseling can’t be successful if you don’t also do individual counseling along side of it. The wife herself said she’d seen improvement. But I don’t think there’s any question that individual counseling would likely improve or enhance your results and make it less likely that your husband would cheat again.

If you are uncomfortable with him going to a woman individually, then you could explore having him see another male counselor for his individual sessions. I think that this is probably a better option than him not going at all.

It is ultimately your decision, and it is promising that your husband has no problem going along with your wishes. But it is not at all uncommon for the therapist to want to focus on individuals as well as couples. I don’t know the parties involved, but I certainly wouldn’t suspect that the suggestion was inappropriate. I’d suspect that the therapist was just trying to do the best job that she could and she saw that the husband could benefit from some individual work as well.

But the decision, of course, is yours. Because obviously, the goal of counseling is to make things better for you, not worse. It’s important that you speak up when you have questions or something makes you uncomfortable. Because your counselor can’t fully help you if she doesn’t know what is troubling you.

I have to admit that counseling wasn’t always seamless after my husband’s affair.  It took some time before I found one that I liked.  And I also used self help outside of the counseling, which helped me a great deal also.  You can read more about how I navigated life after my husband’s affair on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Comments are closed.

  • RSS Infidelity Articles By Katie Lersch

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Posts