Talking (or Lack Thereof) Individual Therapy: Advice Needed

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by Jove, Mar 23, 2018.

  1. Jove

    Jove [ destination defenestration ]

    My situation in a nutshell is this:

    My spouse is very invested in knowing what’s being talked about during my individual therapy sessions (her words being “because who knows what you’re saying”), and it’s always been a serious point of contention. I’m realizing now that I’ve been reluctant, and indeed defensive, because I want to keep a safe space for me to express my thoughts and feels without anyone else (spouse, friends, ect.) censoring me, making me feel like I need to censor myself in sessions later down the line, or judgement. I fully understand that it’s very controlling behavior, and I plan to tackle that when we get into couples counseling, but outside of it isn’t a safe space to do it, considering the outcome has always been emotional violence. Often from both of us.

    That said, I could use some advice on how to gently tell her in a way that doesn’t alienate how she feels that I want to keep my sessions private for now. I’m not exactly the most emotionally intelligent person right now, but I really need to set this boundary, whether she likes it or not, because it’s integral for me becoming a better person and partner— including learning how to be more emotionally intelligent in the first place.

    TL;DR: Need advice on how to Emotional Intelligence this, because I sorely lack the skills right now, especially when I’m honestly afraid of making her angry. (Which I’m aware isn’t very healthy, either.)
    • Witnessed x 1
  2. dobedobedo

    dobedobedo Member

    my first instinct is that it's not you being controlling, it's your spouse. Individual counselling/therapy sessions are supposed to be private, that's the point of all the rules against your therapist telling anyone what you've told them. Whereas demanding to know what you've said because she can't trust that you're... what, not saying negative things about her or something?- is exceedingly out of line from everything I understand.
    • Agree x 2
  3. Jove

    Jove [ destination defenestration ]

    @dobedobedo, Wow I realize I wasn’t very clear— I understand that’s its controlling behavior on her end, and as far as she’s expressed, that’s pretty much it... As in, she doesn’t want me saying “bad things” about her.
  4. dobedobedo

    dobedobedo Member

    Ah, I'm sorry, I misunderstood! Honestly, I think your reasons are good; you can assure her that you're not using the sessions to trashtalk her to anyone and you just need to vent to an uninvolved party sometimes, perhaps?
    Sorry I can't be of more help. =<
  5. Chiomi

    Chiomi Master of Disaster

    I think it's very good that you've been able to maintain that boundary. Uh - suggestions for how to enforce it in a gentle way that averts conflict:
    • You're just talking about you, not her
    • Talking about stuff with a therapist makes it easier to talk more clearly to her about things that matter because therapist helps sort out thoughts
    • (works best if you can be very baffled) asking what she thinks you'd be saying
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