Counselor is my husband’s friend

Counselor is my husband’s friend.

Dear Positive Way, We’ve been having marriage problems consistently now for around 5 years, therefore we sought counseling, however the counselor is my husbands friend ( a pretty close friend too.) Actually it’s a husband and wife team that counsels us from our church. Now, this troubles me, that the counselor is my husbands friend, because I feel he may become bias. am I wrong for thinking this? I think as well intentioned as he may be, that it’s only human nature  to want to side with your buddy and not offend him. I just don’t think it is wise. I’ve presented this to my husband and he refuses to counsel with anyone else. I’ve explained how it makes me feel, like I am at a total disadvantage in this arrangement, but he is totally only headstrong in counseling with them. He said I just want to seek out another counselor because I don’t like what they are pointing out about me, but that’s not the truth. It’s just something that keeps popping up in my mind as we counsel with them that wouldn’t be! an issue if we counseled from someone neither of us had a close connection with. I don’t know what to do because he refuses to go to seek help from anyone else.

Another counselor so that there is not question of partiality between us.

How might that happen. signed, CINNAMON, age 47

Dear CINNAMON,  You are totally right in this situation.  You should not have counseling by anyone that already has a bias – in this case a friend to your husband. Counselor’s are human and they will have their bias no matter how they may claim they won’t.  This counselor should withdraw themselves and give you a referral to someone else in the field.  If they can’t provide a referral then seek one out through social services, your family physician, or the yellow pages.  Here are a couple of suggestions for you to consider.

1. Meet with the current counselor by yourself and ask them to withdraw their services and give you a referral.  If they have any ethics and understanding in this matter they will not hesitate to do it.  Ask them to tell your husband that they are withdrawing themselves because of the possible bias that can surface even if they don’t want it to.

2.  If they refuse to honor your wishes then stop going to them.  Seek out your own counselor and pursue counseling yourself.  You can ask your husband to join you but it is not necessary at this time. Surprisingly so, you can improve your relationship just  by getting your own counseling and this has been the case in many relationships.  Many partners refuse counseling but that doesn’t mean that the other partner should not seek counsel.  Get your own counselor for now and you will learn some good information that can lead you in the right direction.

Remember, you cannot change the other person but you can change yourself. As you change and grow, you partner will change and grow in response to your change. For every positive action you take for yourself that alone can “influence change” within the relationship.  Seek out a new counselor for yourself and see what happens from there. 

Please understand you have free will.  This advice is given only in the realm
of personal growth and self-help. This is not to be considered a substitute
for therapy or professional counseling.  We wish you well.