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Couples therapy, unsure about therapist's motives?

Community Member

My partner and I started couples counselling. I have never been through this. We both had our first session together, then we had to have an individual session alone on another day with another therapist from the same place. I went with it and trusted we were in the right hands. I did not know until yesterday and nor did my partner that there was a heavy focus on Domestic Violence in her session. There was not so much for me, however there was for my partner. I have been with my partner for quite some time now and I have never once displayed any Domestic Violence (any forms of abuse) whatsoever. I left a really horrid DV relationship last year. My current partner has been through DV before.

The therapist my partner saw asked some questions which out of line. I did not seek out therapy because I felt I was in a DV Relationship. We have been asked our goals for therapy and we have been very clear about our goals for therapy. (Mainly to strengthen our relationship and learn now to communicate more with each other as we know we need some of those skills to better our relationship) A long story short, at the end of both our individual sessions, the therapist said, if I want to see either of you again for another individual session, I shall call. If you do not hear from me just come in to see me together for your next appointment. I never expected we would get a call. So today, we both got a call. We missed it as we were out for an afternoon stroll and left our phones at home. It was the therapist asking us to call her back but by the time we got the message they had shut. She said on the message she would call us on Tuesday when they re opened. I have told my partner IF she is ringing for me to go into another individual session I do not feel it is right for me. I will absolutely not choose for my partner. If she wishes to go to it, I will not stop her at all. I just can't especially now that I know the line of extensive questioning my partner had to face. The questions strongly suggested how would she escape if I was to become abusive I feel hurt. I genuinely went somewhere for me, for us, for our relationship and to work on things together. I did not go to be portrayed as a Domestic Violence Perpetrator. I am certainly not. I treat my partner with love, respect, compassion, gentleness and kindness. I have a huge heart. Being painted out like this truly does hurt especially with no evidence or real story why this could even be imagined. Feel disheartened.

18 Replies 18

Community Member

Hello 2quik

I was motivated to respond to your post by the sensitive post you wrote when helping 1980. You show yourself to be a person of compassion and thoughtful.

I have to admit I was struggling to follow the lines in your account of the individual therapy for you and your girlfriend. The emphasis on violence without any evidence or complaints does feel somewhat irrelevant. What was your partner’s reaction to the domestic violence emphasis? Was she bewildered and did she try to seek clarification from the therapist?

I understand that there is a national discussion on domestic abuse and recent horrible crimes have elevated the topic to fever pitch levels. Perhaps some therapists see it as their duty to try and uncover evidence in order not to miss cases that could evolve into another tragedy. I can understand your reaction. If I was in your shoes I too would feel at least uncomfortable if not insulted.

Regardless of the therapists motivations, your decision to return or not should be based on your view whether she is helping. If you have lost confidence in her, then it’s probably better to avoid her.

On the other hand, sometimes it pays to be patient. I saw a therapist four times once and felt I was going nowhere. Then on the fifth visit, she laid out all the evidence in front of me based on my own words to help me see a bigger picture. It was remarkable, it changed my attitude and the way I now think.

I hope my words have been at least a sounding board for you.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello 2quik, and I've been reading your replies which have always been very helpful.

The therapist has no right to automatically 'assume', (which is a word I don't like to use because it's predicting something that hasn't happened), however, if DV was happening then your partner would mention it, plus there are more subtle ways for an experienced therapist to raise this point.

If it was me that was concerned I would be suggesting you find another therapist.

My attitude towards marriage counselling has changed because of my own experience.

Best wishes.


Community Member
Hi Betternow and Geoff.

Thank you for your responses. My partner feels it was her fault. I told her it is not her fault. This therapist had her own agenda from the start. She took my partner's vulnerabilities and exploited it. Being prior DV survivors does NOT mean you get into relationship after relationship that is abusive.

I know I am not in a DV relationship nor do I care to argue about it. My partner knows she is not in a DV relationship.

I'm only speaking for myself. I have decided to completely withdraw from the service. There was no transparency or knowledge this would occur for either of us. While I agree that it has good to make sure both partners are in a safe and respectful relationship, you have gone too far when behind my back you start questioning my partner on developing an action plan in case I become violent. There is no prior history of this and they made a whole heap of assumptions. Trust has already been severed. I will not be engaging with the service again. I've explained to my partner that she needs to do what feels right for her and I will support that. End of story.

I cried this morning and have been extremely depressed today. My world feels so incredibly black. I'm in intensive therapy to deal with my own childhood abuse and very recently was severely abused in a horrific situation out of my control. I also had a nervous breakdown three weeks ago which I am trying to get through and not doing to well. I can't stand up at all for long periods as my legs just want to buckle under me. I stare off for long periods into a distant space and just can't do a lot. My heart is in immense pain and I'm beyond exhaustion.

Thank you for sharing your responses.



I am sorry to read you have been through so much recently and are struggling. I wonder if you are getting enough support.

I know the therapist you wrote about didn't work out but maybe you could found a counsellor or therapist who had experience with your issue,

I can feel your pain and exhaustion through your words. Please reach out for support and help.Quirky

Hi 2quik

I can feel the pain you are going through... I would have also withdrawn from the service as well from what you have posted above

My memories are vivid when I sat staring at nothing during having a 'nervous breakdown'.(having an exhausted mind that struggles to cope)...I understand the dark period you are going through...

Betternow mentioned 'I have to admit I was struggling to follow the lines in your account of the individual therapy for you and your girlfriend' I am no expert...yet I also dont understand what your partner's thoughts were afterwards either 2quik....your own thoughts are very clear though and good on you for speaking from the heart on this

we are listening....any questions are always welcome

my kind thoughts


Hi quirkywords,

Thank you. I don't have any energy whatsoever to find more support. I need complete rest now, I am pushed beyond extreme fatigue and exhaustion. My body needs a whole heck of time now.

I am with a new therapist now and things are going well there. Much better than the last one. This organisation was also meant to be another support for me and for us. I have reached out here. I honestly have no strength for anything else.

Thank you for your response.

Hi Paul,

It is nice to have someone understand the hell a nervous breakdown is. It can be a very lonely experience.

My partner and I did not speak about it in length till a few days after. I checked in with her of course. She is going through her own feelings and thoughts right now which I am doing my best to support her in. She is feeling angry, disappointed and sad overall. I understand that. I have said to do what is right for her because I will not make those decisions for her nor do I have that right. I have asked how she is going to approach this situation and the therapist. She has said that she will be telling her that we are no longer going to continue on with this organisation. She also said that she is going to tell her from her feelings and perspective why not.

This happening has been a major let down for us both in different ways and we are just doing what we can to support each other and ourselves.

My question is why is it that I was targeted like this? Why is it that there was no transparency nor honesty. I feel like they were trying to get her alone and put rubbish in her head with their own agenda. I did not feel threatened or worried in any way about her going in alone without me. Nor vice versa. It just feels like to me it was like a set up and a betrayal at the same time considering we both went in initially holding one another's hands and showing great love towards one another. On top of that genuinely going in stating we wished to improve things more and went into detail about what things. I feel extremely angry.

Hello 2quik, my heart feels for you and your partner and I'm just so sorry what you are going through as I also had a nervous breakdown and know the repercussions of what happens, those thoughts will never leave me, and if I do have a relapse, it suddenly brings back those terrible memories.

I'm pleased you have left the therapist and know that you love and support eachother, I hope we can as well.

Take care.


Community Member
Hi Geoff,

Thank you. I have no idea how to deal with the nervous break down nor how to recover. I truly don't know. Besides resting I don't know. Thank you for your support.