Dear Therapist:

Without going into the gory details my husband and are having serious problems in our marriage. We have been married 10 years and have 3 children...Some have suggested that we go for therapy as a couple. This might be a good idea but others have warned us not to because "therapists will wind up pushing you to get divorced." Things are bad but this is not what we want at all. Can you please give us some guidance (reassurance?) regarding this matter?



Without specifics, my response will be concise. It sounds as if both your wife and you want help in changing your relationship for the better. You mentioned divorce only in the context of your fear that therapy will move the two of you in that direction.

It sounds like you are receiving information about therapy from people who either have preconceived notions or who have had their own individual experiences in therapy. This can be quite confusing given that each person’s feelings and beliefs are based on their own particular experiences, some of which may be similar to yours and others that may be completely different.

Your advice regarding whether to go for therapy should come from someone who has experience in marital issues, and who can be objective. If there’s someone in whom you both trust (a rabbi, family member, etc.), who can address your concerns about therapy, they can guide you toward a therapist who can help you work on your marital problems in the way that you feel is appropriate. If you don’t feel comfortable accepting advice from anyone in your lives, Relief Resources is an excellent organization that can address your concerns and aid you in finding a therapist that can help you.

A therapist’s job is not to push people in any direction. A therapist’s job is to help people achieve the goals that the clients set forth. If your wife and you both want to work on your marriage, a competent therapist will help the two of you work through your issues and guide you toward the goals that you hope to achieve. Remember that the therapist works for you. Therapists should not have their own agendas; they should help you identify your goals, and help you to attain them.

Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW

 psychotherapist in private practice

 Brooklyn, NY   |   Far Rockaway, NY

 author of Self-Esteem: A Primer / 718-258-5317