In her e-mail to me she said, "are you good at what you do? Not every counselor should be one...and not all of them are skilled/gifted/whatever you want to call it. I want someone who has a handle on this topic, who is an expert, who can REALLY, REALLY help."
She also wanted to know if the counseling allows "any consideration or discussion of a patient's history."
Below is my unedited response.
Dear [Name removed]
Thank you for your inquiry.
And thank you especially for your candor. It is much appreciated.
As for discussing a client's history: I discuss it for information gathering purposes as much as the client wants to. Then we focus on the present because that's where the problem can be solved.
You asked, "are you good at what you do?" I smile as I write this because I'm going to respond by teaching you what I know. I have learned that there are certain questions you are better off not asking. For instance, I have learned not to ask, "Are you being honest with me?". A liar will not answer the question honestly. An honest person will eventually prove their honesty with or without the question.
If I were to answer your question with, "Yes, I am good at what I do," I would be answering your question by telling you what you want to hear. I would rather help you by suggesting different questions to ask. For instance, ask me something like, "OK Joe, I'm married to a man who is sexually addicted. What's going on in my mind?"
Here's what's going on: 1- You feel that you have to compete against his addiction. 2- You feel that his addiction is driving a wedge between you and him. 3- You may or may not realize that if the addiction is not handled it will destroy the marriage at worst, or cheapen the marriage at best. 4- You may or may not feel that if you were a more attractive woman or a better wife he wouldn't be involved with an addiction. 5- In your marriage you have probably been the sex police at times. You didn't like it. Neither did he.
Here's another question, "OK Joe, my husband is sexually addicted. He admits his addiction and he has tried to overcome it with the help a of counselor who let him down. What should he do next?"
Answer: Right now your husband's biggest problem is the loss of hope and the fear that he will have to live out of control for the rest of his life. What he should do next is be very skeptical if and when he gets in touch with me. I expect people to be skeptical in the beginning of counseling. It doesn't offend me. Any counselor who would be offended by skepticism doesn't understand addiction.
"OK Joe, what else can you tell me about my husband?"
Your husband loves you. And he is drawn to his addiction. His problem is that he wants you and the addiction. If you give him a choice between you or the addiction, he will choose you. But then he will go back to his addiction because he simply does not know how to carry out his choice. He needs help from someone who understands him and who understands how to overcome addiction.
Once again, [name removed], I appreciate your candor. I hope you appreciate mine. And I hope we get a chance to work together.
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