Ok. Therapy is not like this. Not even with the guy who wishes he had a machete. Everyone takes a turn expressing the issues they’ve had to deal with since the last session and the other members of the Group give their suggestions on ways they can cope, if they have any, and those who choose not to participate (normally the ones whose participation is mandated I’ve observed) get to see us veterans who don’t care anymore about stranger’s perceptions hash it out, mostly in very polite and friendly ways. It’s only questions, you don’t have to answer or you can lie your ass off. It’s just advice, you don’t have to take it.
If you don’t collectively talk long enough to fill the hour they give you a mimeographed “exercise” to participate in, like First Grade.
They either get it or they don’t, 8 – 12 weeks is a long time to stay curled in a corner but you can waste a lot of time if you like. They give you a meaningless piece of paper (well, your lawyer can use it in court to prove you participated) when you “graduate”.
However I think an essential piece of Therapy is Anonymity. How else can you be honest? Meeting someone who belongs to your Group in real life, at the Grocery Store say, is incredibly awkward, like seeing your Math Teacher in a bathing suit at the Swimming Pool.
So Couples’ Therapy is different. I sometimes think that having your Therapist know the people you are talking about would give them a better understanding of your situation, and it probably would. On the other hand your Therapist is also supposed to be your coach and advocate and support you emotionally.
It puts them in an incredibly difficult position.
The results of confrontations like these, even in theraputic settings, can be nothing but bad. The Therapist may forget but you and your significant other will remember, resent, and regret until both of you die. Not something I’d like to be responsible for.
People frequently tell me I’d be a great Therapist and it’s true I’m a good listener and sometimes have beneficial suggestions but I’d sooner French Kiss a Wasp Nest.
My Therapist has exactly one chair in her office.