Over the weekend I squeezed in a couple of social events and had some great conversations with old and new friends. In the process of small talk I shared some of the news in my life and the invention of TheHarmonyCC.com. Immediately (as frequently happens to MH therapists) one of the people I had just met asked a question about her relationship. It sounded like she (the relationship really) needed some objective support and I recommended her to a colleague (I don’t work with people in my social circles). Her immediate comment was “I cannot afford counseling” and we left it at that. Later, when talking about how we were all going to spend Mother’s Day, this same individual commented that she had bought she and her children tickets to a concert as a ‘gift’ to her children – “a token of appreciation” she claimed.
I’ve spent some time reflecting on the concerns that this gal had expressed to me and I called to reinforce my suggestion and to encourage her to schedule a counseling appointment. I shared some thoughts about my perspective and felt that it may be helpful to address it in a blog post as I am most definitely sure that she is not alone in her perception of counseling. She felt that counseling was for marriages/relationships in serious trouble and she believes that hers has just hit a little bump in the road – That’s all.
When I called my new friend, the conversation went like this: (Reader’s Digest version)
“Do you take your car in for service?”
“We want it to last for another 50,000 miles”
“If your roof leaked, would you have it repaired?”
“It would progressively get worse, damage other things, and cost more money.”
“Exactly! Isn’t your marriage more important than your car or your house?”
“But we don’t have the extra money”
“No disrespect intended” I said, “but those concert tickets must have cost hundreds”
“I wanted to do something great for my kids that would generate lasting memories”
“What could generate better memories than parents who love and respect one another?”
“Point taken, who should I call?”
I realize that couples counseling is not covered by insurance and that an hour of a therapist’s time is expensive these days (what isn’t) but what is the COST of waiting to go to counseling when the damage is severe? When that happens to cars they get TOTALED and the car is replaced.
Counseling is more effective BEFORE emotional catastrophe strikes – it is often effective prevention. Too many times I see couples TOO LATE in the communication breakdown to be helpful – the damage is severe.
Don’t wait for that bump-in-the-road to turn into a 5 foot ditch. Sit down with a qualified counselor to get an objective perspective on how to handle / cope with the speed bumps that develop in ALL relationships!
The investment is priceless!