One of the difficult things about being a counselor is that, due to the ethical rules about dual relationships, I can’t counsel family and friends. As a result, I get a lot of requests for referrals from those who know me socially. Who should I go to for counseling for my anxiety? Where can I take my daughter for help with her ADD? I need someone for my mom to talk to, she’s having depression again, etc. People ask for all kinds of referrals for all kinds of counseling, except for one…. Very rarely does anyone ask for a referral for couples counseling. And when they do, they apologize first, they make excuses, they become very uncomfortable. Marriages are falling apart all around us, and we are too afraid or too embarrassed to ask for help.
Why does it feel like we, as a society, have made major strides towards reducing the stigma surrounding individual counseling, but couples counseling is still off limits? Do we not understand that we are all struggling with the same issues behind closed doors? Our love relationships can be the most life-giving, most secure source of strength and joy in our lives, or they can be the biggest source of stress, anxiety and despair. Perhaps it is just that centrality, the power of these relationships that makes it so scary to admit when something isn’t working.
So how do we reduce stigma? We get brave about admitting when we need help. We share stories of the dark places we have been and we shed light on them. We ask for help. Can we all just collectively stop pretending that everything is fine? In the counseling field, we have made huge strides in couples counseling in the last twenty five years. So much progress has been made in understanding couple distress and developing and training counselors in research-based methods to help couples, but we can’t help you if you don’t come in the door. Too often, people let the stigma or the inconvenience of finding couples counseling near me, stop them from getting help.
If you want more joy, more connection and fulfillment with the person you love most in the world, please call or email Davis Counseling. We are here to help.