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Steven Olsen
Steven Olsen, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1765
Experience:  More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education
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Spouse has had years of poor stress management, anger management,

Customer Question

Spouse has had years of poor stress management, anger management, anxiety, alcohol and substance abuse. Finally, finally wants to learn how to manage his life being that it has become so out of control. Spouse reached out and called my "on and off" licensed psychologist (therapist for myself as needed) for assistance and my Ph.D. referred spouse to an MBSR (John Kabat-Zinn) 8 week course taught by a "mindful-based psychotherapist and wellness coach. My thoughts leaned towards more conventional therapy. An opinion would help. Thanks.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Steven Olsen replied 5 years ago.

I am always concerned when those with serious issues like your spouse become motivated for a therapy process that is mostly supportive, or is less than very serious emotional work.


The issues mentioned here are quite serious. Anger, stress, anxiety, alcohol and other drug use...all of this speaks to incredible unresolved pain and hurt. A mindfulness session/course is not going to resolve these huge issues. Why? It is more supportive and focused on relaxation and lighter coping process than what the best practices are for the issues you mention.


The best practices regime for these hard core issues is CBT therapy, at least weekly... as well as support groups that reinforce the therapy and behaviors that are learned in the individual sessions. An on-off contact, or a course is not going to resolve these problems, and this whole approach speaks to a prelude for an excuse...(ex: See honey I went to therapy and nothing changed.)


Real therapy is hard...Why? Everybody wants to get better, but few want to change. In order for your spouse to achieve what is needed, he needs a serious course of counseling, not a mild and gently supportive process.


I agree with you. This does not see to be appropriate. Steven

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks Steve. Yes, I was rather dissappointed when MY therapist referred husband to MBSR course. I was dissappointed because HE finally reached out for help on his own and was given this as an answer. My husband thankfully agreed to utilize a counseler whose credentials are MS, LPC specializing in anger management, stress and substance abuse. His intake appt. is in two weeks.

By the way, what is CBT therapy?

Your opinion (which was a 2nd) made a difference. Thanks again.
Expert:  Steven Olsen replied 5 years ago.

It is odd that your own counselor would recommend something that is not common for the issues described. But, it is good that he is willing to see a licensed professional counselor, as this type of professional often does deal with the types of issues that are the focus of the problem.


CBT is cognitive behavioral therapy, a well established and researched method of intervention. It is no nonsense, most men like it, and most respond well to it... and it has very positive outcomes in research studies. I can almost guarantee that your LPC counselor will know CBT and will be able to use the methods that are its foundations.


Glad to see you are getting the help that is needed. Steven