In my last entry, I spoke about some of my disdain for this therapist we’ve been seeing. It has nothing to do with his personal convictions, or his personality but everything to do with his marriage to the family systems approach. He has spent months trying to map out our family of origin and then tries to help us interpret things through that lens. The problem is that family systems is regressive while also being an other-validated approach. It has limited usefulness, especially for a supposed sex therapist.
Arwyn and I had a number of these little sniping sessions last weekend. It resembles a type of guerrilla technique where she says something potentially deep (but snarky) and then withdrawing as quickly as possible. One topic that came up was a mini marriage seminar her church is having on Wednesday evenings. She went without me the week before and brought back some material from it. I didn’t know it at the time, but much of the material is derived from our old friend Harley, who developed the ENQ. I liked much of his material, but it is mostly incompatible with Schnarch’s view of differentiation. The entire “Love Bank” principle is based on validating your partner in the hope that the other will feel positive enough to return the favor. I told Arwyn I would be wiling to attend just to check it out. My response was less than enthusiastic, which violates a major tenet of Harley’s which is that you don’t do things or ask your partner to do things that they can not enthusiastically support. Those of you presently enduring the tyranny of this know the pitfall of this principle. It devolves into not being able to do anything!
At out last therapy session last week, it hit the proverbial fan. On the way to the therapist, I played some of Schnarch’s audio book. I happened to pick the chapter on integrity which is truly the real meat of his approach. She recognized much of it as I confronted the therapist about how his and Harley’s approach lacked a grounding in reality. At the conclusion, I gave him a CD on which I had copied about 5 chapters of the book. The therapist seemed genuinely interested and appreciative and noted that he spends a lot of time on the road so would listen to it. His familiarity with Schnarch is marginal at best. When we discussed it, he was under the impression that the Passionate Marriage approach drove people further apart, which couldn’t be further from the truth. It drives people out of feeling trapped but more into a greater capacity for love.
Arwyn hasn’t made any moves toward sex, and that has been fine by me. I was worried that she might try something right before therapy as that has been sort of a pattern for her but my integrity was not tested this past week. And that’s sort of where we are at. I don’t want Arwyn to feel like she has to have sex with me simply to medicate my bad mood, or to fulfill and obligation or just because she might be asked about it in therapy. I suppose if she could derive some joy out of fulfilling a need of mine, I would be okay with that, but that isn’t the vibe I’m getting. In her mind, I’m obsessed with sex. And if sex was happening, it might only be about 10% of the relationship but because it is such a deficit area, it takes up more mindspace.
I’ll expand a bit more on my thoughts on my other blog. I don’t post often enough for multiple blogs but it is handy when I do decide to do multiple posts.