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Has anyone tried counselling?

(63 Posts)
Rosiestocks Sun 13-Nov-22 00:02:41

We've been estranged from DS for 10 years though we do still exchange Christmas and birthday wishes, and occasionally emails. He has recently suggested counselling. We've no experience of this and wondered if anyone could offer any advice?

50ShadesofGreyMatter Sun 13-Nov-22 00:05:26

I don't have any experience of this, but as your son has suggested it, it sounds like he wants to try and mend fences, I think I'd give it a go if it were me.

Catterygirl Sun 13-Nov-22 00:29:35

He has given you the olive branch. I am trained in psychotherapy and as part of the training, seeing a psychotherapist is required. My experience has helped me and I would recommend trying it out. Good luck whatever you decide.

poshpaws Sun 13-Nov-22 00:50:45

It's basically a safe space for each of you to state how you see things, without being interrupted: the counsellor mediates and ensures that each person is listened to in turn.

Then the counsellor will say for example, "X said Y - how would you respond to that from your point of view, Z?" After which X really listens (if their heart is in the counselling in the first place) to Z's feelings and asks themselves for example "Is Z saying something I can understand? Where/how/ do, our memories of the event differ?"

The premise is that by stopping oneself from not listening properly, because instead we're so busy thinking of our own outraged response to something that upsets us, we'll actually "HEAR" how the situation appeared to, and how it affected, the other person.

The counsellor is always ready to stop someone talking over another instead of listening and evaluating; they will question you to see if what e.g., "Z" said made you see the difference between your two expectations; made you aware of how your own actions or words made "Z" feel, and if you see what you did or said any differently now that the reception of it has been explained to you.

It may sound simple, but if you go into it really meaning to find a way through the maze, it can be hard, tearful work.

The flip side is, it can give you a whole new perspective on things, and heal a lot of hurts and bitterness.

BlueBelle Sun 13-Nov-22 03:25:17

Counselling can be a wonderful way of working through something in a neutral space with a neutral person How fantastic that after ten years your son has offered to do this and you will be very foolish to not accept
He obviously wants to make the effort to be part of your life again
It won’t be easy and you may hear things or perceptions thst you won’t like but what a wonderful Christmas present for you all
Embrace it if you want your son back
Anything is worth that isn’t it?

FannyCornforth Sun 13-Nov-22 05:47:46

What a lovely post BlueBelle

All the best with it Rosie, it sounds like a very positive and wise thing to do

NotSpaghetti Sun 13-Nov-22 07:32:03

Go with an open heart and an open mind.
Here is a chance to reconcile.
I'm sure it will stir a lot up (and be tough) - but it's definitely something I'd do if my family was estranged and my son had suggested it.

Good luck

Smileless2012 Sun 13-Nov-22 08:45:40

The fact that you've been exchanging cards at Christmas and birthdays, as well as the occasional email for the last 10 years, shows that there's a desire to maintain a degree of contact Rosiestocks. The suggestion for counselling is another step in the right direction.

As NotSpaghetti has posted Go with an open heart and an open mind. It will be hard for you and your son but if you don't accept, it's unlikely that the suggestion will be made again.

I wish you all wellflowers.

ParlorGames Sun 13-Nov-22 08:54:17

Not as a couple no, but I did get a referral through my job some years ago when I was assaulted. I honestly think that the counsellor just wanted to know the gory details rather than help me through a difficult stage in my life. As it was a referral from the Trust I was working for to a private service provider I actually thought that my employers had been ripped off.
In the end it was my line manager and my workmate who got me through.

BlueBelle Sun 13-Nov-22 09:24:27

There are good and bad counsellors you are always at liberty to ask for someone different and should parlorgames
not everyone suits everyone and not every form of counselling suits the recipient but on the whole it should be a very positive step forward
Keep a totally open mind Rosie the trouble with asking a wide audience is you will always have some who have had negative experiences that doesn’t mean yours will be
Good luck for a wonderful 2023

Lathyrus Sun 13-Nov-22 09:59:00

I think we often find it hard to express our deepest thoughts to family. A good counsellor asks the right questions that help you put your thoughts into words and who also helps you to listen, not just to the other person but to what you yourself are really saying.

We all have patterns of behaviour that we don’t always recognise in ourselves or how they impact on other people. It’s not just recollections that vary, perceptions vary too.

Counselling gives a neutral space and a guide that would help both of you to speak and hear “This is what it was like for me.”

Caleo Sun 13-Nov-22 10:15:03

If you can afford the fees, get a psychotherapist rather than a counsellor.

FannyCornforth Sun 13-Nov-22 10:22:28


If you can afford the fees, get a psychotherapist rather than a counsellor.

I don’t think that a psychotherapist is suitable for dealing with a son and mother together.
Is it even practiced?
Counselling seems to be the best way forward to me - practical advice and support. Focus on the future, not the past

Caleo Sun 13-Nov-22 10:27:09

You're probably right Fanny. It's just that I have seen many counsellors and while all were well-meaning they do vary in quality. The one psychotherapit I saw (I could afford only one visit) was by far the most productive.

FannyCornforth Sun 13-Nov-22 10:29:45

Oh, I have had some shockers too Caleo! Especially regarding bereavement.
It’s probably (hopefully) much better now that you can do your homework online and get a bit of an idea about what’s / who’s available

Namsnanny Sun 13-Nov-22 10:36:23

What difference did you find Caleo and FannyCornflrth?

DillytheGardener Sun 13-Nov-22 10:39:00

I went to therapy (rather than counselling) when I hit a rocky patch with my son. (I’m fairly sure it was someone on GN that suggested it.
It really changed my relationship for the better. With a bit of reflection I realised I had been treating my two sons differently, favouring the younger, and also realised my fear of their growing up and not needing me, made me quite overbearing and controlling.

I’ve dialled it all back now and my relationship with my elder son (and his wee family) brings me so much joy now.

I recommend it in spades, though make sure you find someone good and accredited, there’s lots of great guidance online on what to look for and what to avoid. Look at the different styles of therapy too.

Good luck, go in with an open heart, we none of us are perfect and being able to admit we might be wrong (and your son too) is just to be human. flowers

Namsnanny Sun 13-Nov-22 10:42:25

Rosiestock How wonderful that your son made this suggestion.
As others have said keep an open mind.
Just one reservation on my part, there are very few miracles in the world, so take it slowly and dont expect too much to begin with.
Wishing you both a very happy future.

FannyCornforth Sun 13-Nov-22 10:46:13

Dilly I was referring specifically to psychotherapy, as opposed to any other sort of therapy. There are many different types, of course

Caleo Sun 13-Nov-22 10:54:54

Namsnanny, I found two of them spent much time telling me about their successful lifestyles.

Only one of the counsellors gave me any advice, which I sorely needed, and she gave the advice on the stairs outside her consulting room.

One of the counsellors asked me if she could tape record the conversation which I stupidly and gullibly agreed to.

The psychotherapist on the other hand told me facts and suggested how I could take it from there on. He also introduced his collie dog as assistant therapist!

FannyCornforth Sun 13-Nov-22 10:59:06

Namsnanny I saw one therapist/ counsellor at my GP surgery after my mother’s death. She told me straight up that she couldn’t deal with me as my connection with my mother was too close, and I was too bereaved.
A couple of weeks later I saw another person through Cruse.
He was clearly in the counselling game to pull women.
I also saw a proper established psychotherapist.
He was unhinged, and immediately and unfathomably became fixated on my father and my relationship with him (I was going this time due to anxiety disorder and panic attacks. Where my dad came into it is still a mystery!)
I also took part in Group CBT ‘therapy’ which was a disaster. It was a basic power point job, and everyone there had totally different problems. I think that it was a way of getting things done on the cheap.
This was all over 20 years ago, so I’m sure things are better now

This year I have had a wonderful person centred therapist. She specialises in Compassion Based Therapy. She charged £30 an hour (well, 50 minutes) which I realise is extremely reasonable

DillytheGardener Sun 13-Nov-22 11:00:09

Fanny I was just replying to OP rather than yourself (I’m dyslexic so may not have worded it right), as I’ve not personally had experience with counselling. I’m not exactly sure of the difference between therapy or counselling so didn’t want to confuse OP by giving advice as I did something a little different. At the time I researched the different styles (for want of a better word) and went for the one that suited me as I was doing it solo, not with my son.
I agree with you, there are some shockers out there when I was chatting with various therapists to see if we ‘clicked’ when I was choosing one.

FannyCornforth Sun 13-Nov-22 11:02:01

Caleo, yes, I have always been desperately in need of practical advice and ways to move forward.
Unfortunately, very few of them have been able to provide it.
I have honestly had much, much better support and advice on here.
Thank you everyone! thankssmile

FannyCornforth Sun 13-Nov-22 11:03:36

Sorry Dilly, I hope that I didn’t come across rude in any way.

Caleo Sun 13-Nov-22 11:18:33

I agree, Fanny, that Gransnet is something else as a counselling service. The very fact that there is great variety of opinions and styles and that it's anonymous makes it safe. Also the great variety allows the person in need to choose which advice/opinions suit her best and help her to 'move on'.