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TOPIC TITLE: I get help, but my husband needs it too, he's a tv addict
Created On 12/2/09 5:32 AM
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justso
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12/2/09 5:32 AM
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Dr. Lynn:

Can you advise me how to approach my husband about going for help? We have a lot of difficulties in our marriage, however it has been advised that we don't go into couples counseling yet. A counselor recommended to us, after seeing us for one session, that my husband get individual and that I continue with my individual therapy before we consider marital counseling. The problem is that my husband thinks that I'm the only one with a problem. Getting counseling carries A LOT of stigma for him, so he'll go only under the guise of couple's counseling.

We need a place with a sliding scale but the only thing I could find were places that use interns. He went to me to see a counselor at a local clinic. However, when he found out the man was an intern, he got annoyed and rejected it.

My husband has not held a job for years. he had a car accident and has chronic pain(after the accident he had some ptsd issues.) quite frankly I think his back pain and insomnia is mostly somatic. he says he can't sleep in the bed but sleeps in a chair in front of the tv every night. He is the president of a local shul which keeps him busy. He used to learn full time,but now only learns on Shabbat or a little for leining.

I have suffered from his abuse for years -- this started long before his accident. he has a very short fuse at home. He yells, provokes and controls me financially -- e.g last week I said I must have a cell phone, its impossible to find pay phones now. His response was "if you go and get a cell phone, I will cancel the credit cards." He won't get a job except for managing the apt bldg. we own. We are going deeper and deeper in debt. I held a part-time job, but had my own breakdown and barely work now. When i did work full-time, it was still my responsiblity to take care of the household. What makes it worse for me is my husband's tv addiction, he is front of the tv roughly 15 hours a day (including the time he's asleep in front of it.)

I think you get a picture of the situation. I have been advised by my counselor that in abuse situations, it is not reccommended to go into couple's counseling. My expectations are quite realistic and I just want to get some interpersonal realtionship skills for us and anger management skills. Frankly, unless he does go for his own therapy, I don't think I want to continue the marriage. In the meantime, we do need some intervention.

 
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Dr. Lynn, Psy.D.
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12/9/09 9:52 AM
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First of all, I am so sorry the situation is so grave. It sounds like your husband is suffering from depression/ptsd from before and/or as a result of the accident. Although it seems evident that he would benefit from individual treatment, I do not agree that it should be a prerequisite to engage in couple's counseling, especially since he is open to that. You stated that you are a realist, so am I. If he is open to couple's, and he has a good experience there, he may become open to individual counseling. The main misconception that has to be dispelled is that YOU are the one with the problem, and any decent couple's counselor will address that, and demonstrate that both people have a role to play in marital strife. Also, couple's counseling will address how he spends his time, and the therapist will probably assign homework for meaningful activities for you to do together to build your relationship (ie- less time in front of the tv). I hope this is helpful,
a lynn
 
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justso
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12/22/09 4:12 AM
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thank you for the reply, Dr. Lynn.

I should have mentioned that one reason I have been dissuaded from going into couple's counseling is that my social worker, et al have said this is not advised when there are issues of abuse. I now understand the reasons why this is true to a large extent.

The other issue is lack of funds. As I mentioned, most clinics that go on a sliding scale use interns. He also wants someone who is knowledgable/respectful of frumkeit -- which I suspect means (for him) that the therapist should be frum. I know that anytime the therapist will challenge the ways he expresses his beliefs in male (and parent) priviledge or remind him of his obligation to support the family, my husband will reject the therapist on "hashkafic" grounds.

I also want to correct my original post. I believe he needs psychological help for his chronic pain, as it is not merely somatic. Since he needs medical attention for other things, i will try to get him to a free clinic and perhaps we can have a discussion about a mind-body approach to pain management with the MD....

If you (or anyone) knows ways to deal with the above problems, please let me know.

In the meantime, I am going to a support group run by a local women's shelter.
 
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Dr. Lynn, Psy.D.
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Posts: 914
Joined: Feb 2005

12/23/09 12:42 AM
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First of all, I think it is good that you are attending a woman's group. It is essential that you take care of yourself! I don't know where you live, but in the NYC metro area, there are several clinics that offer a sliding scale, and you may be able to get a licensed professional as opposed to an intern. Perhaps Relief can help you locate a suitable place- 718-431-9501.
a lynn
 
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