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How good is LDS social services marriage counseling

divorce inactive member lds social services marriage counseling

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#1 Jazok

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 12:01 PM

I am going to keep this short; please keep your advice to my specific questions. My temple marriage of 25 years is on the rocks. Why isn't relevant, though some hints lie within. In the past two years, I have suggested to my wife several times that we get marriage counseling. My wife has vehemently rejected this every time. I recently brought this up again and suggested that she pick the marriage counselor. She said that she's afraid that I'm not going to get out of what I think I am. I said that's fine, it's still worth a try. She said no. After ten years of inactivity for me and eight for my wife, she has returned to church (I'm fine with that.) I've wondered if using LDS social services marriage counseling will make her feel more at ease. At the same time I fear that I'm not going to be given close to a fair shake, which is fine up to a point where it becomes "blame the inactive husband" or resorts to "listen to Lord" and "feel the spirit." Been there, tried that. We have deep problems that go back 25 years and aren't going to resolved with cliches. FYI, we life in Utah County. My questions are: 1) How good is LDS social services marriage counseling? 2) How objective are they? 3) Is everything approached from a gospel standpoint or a neutral standpoint? 4) If this is advisable, can I get a referral from the bishop even though I'm inactive, but my wife isn't? 4a) If the answer is no, should I talk to the bishop anyway in hopes that he'll talk to my wife?

#2 goodfeeling_

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 12:18 PM

My answers to your questions: 1. LDS social services counselling is just as good, or not as good, as any other counselling services. In my opinion, they do not have any special heavenly power that we may think they would-- just because of the LDS portion of their title. I think counselling is as good as what you put into it. Obviously, LDS social services and lds members have a foundation that is in common. 2. In my experience, which I do have with LDS social services, they are very objective. 3. In my experience, hardly any of the counselling was from a church or gospel standpoint. He didnt suggest reading the scriptures, or praying or stuff like that. 4. you absolutely can get a referral, even if you are inactive. I wish you the best of luck. Hope that the path you two go down will bring personal happiness and relief.

#3 Guest_Alana_*

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 12:20 PM

We were referred to a psychiatrist who had an independent practice. I was active and my husband was not. The church covered the cost that we could not, which was good because it was over $300 for an hour an a half. I'm very grateful that we were able to go because we learned a lot. I'm also grateful that we paid for most of it ourselves (even though we were currently on food stamps) because knowing we were sacrificing to try and make things better really was worth it. As far as objectivity, he was completely professional, and although I was the active member and I was the one who requested counseling, he didn't take my side on things. It wasn't a her side/his side kind of situation. It was exactly what one would hope counseling would be. He was intelligent, professional and useful, though I don't think that him being referred as part of social services guaranteed that. As anytime with counseling, it's important to find a good fit on the individual basis. I would talk to your bishop even if you're not active, because he's still your bishop and there to help.

#4 Wingnut

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 12:22 PM

Therapists that work with LDS Social Services receive the same education, training, and pass the same certification as therapists who work in private offices. They've chosen to work with LDSSS to focus their efforts into a more narrow niche. There's no special school they go to, nor a script they work from when dealing with your issues. About the only difference I can think of between LDSSS therapists and non-LDSSS therapists is that the support LDS values -- family, marriage, fidelity, etc., and understand the cultural background that LDS come from.
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#5 Tarnished

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 12:25 PM

Consider that I have used the counseling services out in the Chicago land area. 1. I found the counseling service to be pretty good, the focus was mostly on communication skills and not on who was right and who was wrong. 2. The counselor we used seemed to be pretty objective 3. The counselor we used seemed to have a bit of a balance of that. For example we talked about the repentance process and such but all the homework she gave us was not from a gospel source. 4. Yes, you should be able to get a referral from your bishop, or you can even just call up LDS Social Services and use their counseling service, you don't need a recommendation from your Bishop. If you want your Bishop to encourage your wife as a way of getting her to go to counseling then yes you may want to talk to him.

#6 Just_A_Guy

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 12:26 PM

I think that all of LDS Family Services' counselors have to be licensed by the appropriate state agency (in your case, DOPL); so I have a hard time believing they'd openly favor the "active" spouse over the "inactive" one.
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#7 jennvan

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 12:42 PM

My 2cents, not all counselors/therapists are the same. I have seen some counselors take sides and have heard of couples going to therapy and one person was told they were the problem, even in LDS Family Services. I would HIGHLY suggest that you find a therapist who is a marriage and family therapist. They have specialized training in working with marriage problems. There are MFTs in LDS Family Services or you can find one in your area by going to aamft.org and clicking on TherapistLocator. There are many LDS therapists who are not associated with LDS Family Services. Also, since you are in UT county, BYU has low cost marriage and family therapy at their Comprehensive Clinic. Home

#8 NeuroTypical

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 01:13 PM

1) How good is LDS social services marriage counseling?

My wife and I went to one in 2008/09 out here in Colorado Springs. We bouth found the counseling very good.

2) How objective are they?

Ours didn't pick winners and losers, if that's what you mean. There was no "ok, I've decided that spouse x is more at fault, so spouse x needs to do most of the changing". That didn't happen. The goal was to give each of us the tools we needed to resolve things ourselves.

3) Is everything approached from a gospel standpoint or a neutral standpoint?

We didn't start and end with prayer. It wasn't a sacrament meeting or a bishop's office. Some of the material she used was written by LDS authors, some wasn't.

I have very little worry that either of you would feel uncomfortable about your activity in or belief in the church.

4) If this is advisable, can I get a referral from the bishop even though I'm inactive, but my wife isn't?

You don't need a referral at all, unless you want the bishop to pay. If you call them and tell them you're the responsible party for payment, I don't think they even give any personal info to the church one way or the other. They do report numbers/ages/demographics/etc, as a way to measure who they serve. But no, I don't think there is anyone in the church sitting there with a file on you trying to help you be more active, or anything like that.

4a) If the answer is no, should I talk to the bishop anyway in hopes that he'll talk to my wife?

You can if you like, yes. But he can't make her change any more than you can.

Lesson #1 for marriage counseling: You can go by yourself, and still reap some benefits.

Lesson #2: Marriages fall apart and die when both spouses confess each other's sins. You go to marriage counseling because you want to fix you. If you want to go with your wife, to get someone else to gang up on her about what she needs to fix, you'll be in for a surprise. Of course your wife has things she needs to fix. That's on her shoulders - not yours. You got enough things of your own to work on. Don't expect your therapist to pick sides.

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If I were rich, I'd have the time that I lack, to sit in the synagogue and pray.
And maybe have a seat by the Eastern wall.
And I'd discuss the holy books with the learned men, several hours every day.
That would be the sweetest thing of all.

Ohhh....
If I were a rich man...

#9 jennvan

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 01:18 PM


Lesson #2: Marriages fall apart and die when both spouses confess each other's sins. You go to marriage counseling because you want to fix you. If you want to go with your wife, to get someone else to gang up on her about what she needs to fix, you'll be in for a surprise. Of course your wife has things she needs to fix. That's on her shoulders - not yours. You got enough things of your own to work on. Don't expect your therapist to pick sides.


I really love that statement, can I use it? So many people do come to therapy wanting to fix the other person. It's nice to see someone who knows we all have stuff to work on..

#10 Faded

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 02:18 PM

From my wife's and my personal experience, I think the best way to think of it is this: LDS Social Services marriage counseling is just like any other professional marriage counseling, but it's potentially on the Church's dime, so the Church approves the counselors in the system. Any marriage counselor anywhere would end up focusing on the religion aspect of your marriage if the religious things are a major source of friction, hurt feelings within the marriage, etc. Their job is not to take sides and they shouldn't, but either version of marriage counseling, you do run the risk of a counselor that takes one side of an issue over the other. They're only human. But you can expect a higher level of quality in LDS Social Services counselors than your average counselor not in their system. You need to understand, the goal of LDS Social Services is to save marriages wherever possible. As such, the system is not overly concerned with your level of activity in the Church. If you want marriage counseling and your wife isn't willing to do it -- but having the LDS sticker on it marriage counseling is enough to get her to go then I'd strongly advise a visit with the bishop to see about setting it up.
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#11 NeuroTypical

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 02:45 PM

Marriages fall apart and die when both spouses confess each other's sins.

I really love that statement, can I use it?

Oh absolutely. It's not my statement - I've heard it over the years from people giving marriage advice. And I agree - it's a very important thing to understand.
If I were rich, I'd have the time that I lack, to sit in the synagogue and pray.
And maybe have a seat by the Eastern wall.
And I'd discuss the holy books with the learned men, several hours every day.
That would be the sweetest thing of all.

Ohhh....
If I were a rich man...





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