America's Most Critical Journal (since 1999)
Survey Finds Marriage Counselors Make Poor Spouses
By Barry Sierer
At the most recent convention of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), all of the attendees were asked to fill out a short survey. This is a common practice at these conventions but the subject matter surprised many of them. Instead of being asked about preferred forms of therapy, or managing patient caseloads, they were being asked about the state of their own marriages.
If the survey wasn’t surprising enough, the results were shocking.
“I wanted to make sure that our members were practicing what they preach.” stated Dr. Harold Newcomb, President of the Association. “Unfortunately it looks like this particular career path poses its own unique challenges.”
The biggest issue came from question #7 on the survey; “Rate the frequency of your communication with your spouse, 10 being the highest (frequent and throughout the day) with 1 being the lowest (practically non-existent). Nearly 30 % of the respondents answered with a 2 (Rare, only when absolutely necessary) or a 1.
When Newcomb asked his members why they gave such low marks, he was given a simple answer, “We listen to people bitch and complain all day about their spouses, the last thing we want to do is listen to our own.”
Dr. Tracy Sanderson, a Marriage counselor in Reston, Virginia gave a more detailed explanation. “I got married while I was going to graduate school, I believed in true love, then I met my clients. These people are amazing. They lie, they cheat, they abuse their spouses, and they still can’t understand why there is a problem in their lives.”
Dr. Tom Floston, a Counselor from Gainesville, Florida, echoed this disillusionment and referred to an issue that came up with one of his patients. “If all I did all day was tell my wife to ‘shut up and bring me a beer’, she would probably end up sleeping with the gardener too!” Floston also explained how another client crashed his car into the family home. The client’s wife was obviously upset, so he told her to “chill out.” Now the client says he ‘doesn’t understand’ why his wife is isn’t more supportive!”
“Having to constantly deal with people like that burns you out in a way you never imagined. By the time you get home, your wife is upset and wants to tell about what a lousy day she’s had. I just put my hand up, walk past her, and go to the den,” Floston said.
Dr. Sanderson explained, “I would come home and have dinner with my husband. If he bitches about anything more than 30 seconds I pick up my food from the table, go sit down in front of the TV and turn on the ‘The Real Housewives of New York’. I have to listen to this crap constantly as a profession; I shouldn’t have to do it at home too.”