When I went back to school to get my masters I was married with two small children. Part of my training involved reflecting on my family of origin and my nuclear family. My parents and step parents were very eager to help me recall nuances of my childhood and adolescent life. They were open to be analyzed and accepted their successes and failures.

I then turned my attention to my nuclear family. I began examining my children based on birth order, gender, type of pregnancy etc. My husband was a willing participant in putting our children and our parenting of them under a microscope. We changed from using a discipline model to organic consequences and saw positive changes.

Our marriage was and still is solid, so I turned the spotlight on him and us. There was a specific incident that I remember happened during a semester where I was learning to diagnose using DSM IV. During an argument I switched from arguing as a spouse and put on my therapist hat and disassociated from ‘US’. I felt very powerful in being able to see my husband as a client and quickly maneuvered in the argument to position my self as the winner.

This did not go over very well with him. Although not in the mental health field, he was a formidable opponent and called me out. Initially I resisted his assessment and continued to stand on my soap box. After a few more altercations of this sort, I realized that my marriage was suffering because I was not connecting with him but more looking at him as a client for whom I have unconditional positive regard but not love or true emotional connection with.

That was a turning point and I stopped being a therapist in my personal life. I expanded that to cover my friends, children and other family members. My practice is very fulfilling and I am able to create boundaries for myself to easily transition from Therapist to Civilian.

As a Gottman Level II therapist I attract a lot of couples. After session they tend to use therapy as a weapon in their fights by either quoting me or using what their partner shared, in a vulnerable state, against them. I strongly caution against that. This is one of the main reasons I see couples dropping out of counseling prematurely and not getting the help they need.

Talking about how the session went is common and healthy. Have a safe conversation by showing appreciation for transparency and validate your partners concerns. Your relationship will thank you!


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