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Your choice of counselor, whether it be your individual counselor or your marriage counselor is one of the most important choices you will make at this point in your mid-life depression....they can make or break you!  Since the beginning of this whole thing...which I can probably go back almost 13 years to the very beginning...and maybe even further...I have had a plethora of counselors...male...female...secular and Christian.  It doesn’t quite matter if they are Christian or Secular...they all are taught the basic teachings of psychology and from there they determine what they “believe” to be true about the human condition and how human beings think, feel and react.

I have had counselors that have just sat and let me talk...ones who have sat and let me talk and then asked me questions....counselors that have sat and let me talk, then fed me back what they thought they heard me say...some have judged me...some who have forced their opinion on me...those who have agreed with my rationalizations and justifications...ones that have made me feel good about myself...ones that have made me feel like I was one of the stupidest women in the world...ones that have agreed with my H and sided with him...ones that agreed with me and joined my team...BUT...the best counselor I have ever had has been a teaching counselor.  

If your counselor is not teaching you life skills to frame your life...giving you tools to get in touch with what is going on in your mind and life; getting to the nitty-gritty of your problems...it is time to find another counselor.  Every time you walk out of their office you should feel like you have made progress, something to work on, another tool in your kit of life skills.

       My counselor's approach comes from one basic belief: we all have a tool box for dealing with life, which include tools that were placed there by our parents, family, teachers, friends, our society/culture, beliefs, ethics and moral tools.  Intermingled amongst these tools are the junk of life, our experiences, and the good and bad decisions of our life’s history.  Your counselor's job is to unpack this box with you, determine what a good tool is and what is a bad tool, then get rid of the bad tools and experiences, while repacking the good tools.  Along with this the counselor should be determining what tools aren’t there or need replacing and then teach you the new tools.  In my experience with a teaching counselor, the changes have been dramatic and in less amount time than any other counseling that I've ever had.  Your counselor's job is not to be there to make decisions for you, to tell you that you are right, affirm your rationalizations or justifications, take your side, build your self-esteem or even be your friend.

Your counselor should be your guide, your voice of reason, a sound perspective, but most of all...your teacher!  If you come out of the counselors office questioning more than when you went in, feel beat-up and hurt, exhausted from the pain you just vomited all over the counselors floor...you weren't just counseled...you only paid someone to sit, listen, to you vent and release.  Now, I am not saying I haven't come out of my present counselor's office feeling exhausted....I have...very much so....but it is a good exhausted...the kind you get after a really good hard workout.  I don't come out asking myself..."Okay!  What do I do with all of that?" or "So, I am stupid and unworthy?"...or..." I have childhood pain. I have to deal with it...how do I do that?"  You should walk out feeling cleansed or that you have just been given something that you can use or knowing what direction you are going in.  Some sessions you will reach a mountain top, while at others you feel like you have hardly moved an inch...but you should feel movement forward...not necessarily backward.  Realize you can get stuck...it just means you and your counselor have deeper and harder work to do. Time is your friend.

Bit by bit, your counselor will guide you, teach you and ultimately, equip you with the skills you need to be lifted out of your Mid-Life depression and move forward into a life filled with positive intentions.



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