Top Ten Reasons You Should Choose Family Tree Counseling
Written By: Mark Smith
1. We are very good at what we do – I only select caring, motivated, teachable, psychologically open, trustworthy therapists who have impeccable levels of integrity. They are all extremely fine people. I train them extensively in our highly effective family systems approach. I have been way overbooked as a therapist for 25 years. While I can’t possibly see even a small fraction of the clients who call in asking to work with me, I do set them up with talented therapists who give them basically the same powerful product that I have personally been providing for many years.
2. Family Tree shares a proven ‘brand’ of therapy – Unlike other practices, which might include 5 different therapists who use 5 different therapeutic approaches, we all use the same tried and true approach. Our approach is actually very simple. For the first two sessions we spend the time just getting to know you. All of our therapists fill out a genogram or a family tree as part of this assessment process. Then things get really interesting in session three – it is the feedback session where we basically teach, preach and otherwise attempt to sell you our vision of you and your issues. We call it psychological surgery. It is not for the faint of heart. We tell our clients that we comfort the disturbed and we disturb the comfortable. Most people leave with a great deal of newly instilled hope and a great deal of additional personal insights.
3. We are by far the highest rated marital practice on Angie's List. Our website is also the #1 ranked local practice site on Google in the Indianapolis area. Hey, if Google likes you you must be good at what you do.
4. Family Tree has a healthy thriving positive environment - At Family Tree we are extremely blessed to have a unique interdependent business structure which not only offers a great deal of support, supervision and mentoring, it also lessens stress, reduces financial strain and generally gives our therapists a truly healthy home in which to care for you in. Unlike most practices in the Indianapolis area or in other locations, Family Tree is a true entrepreneurial enterprise rather than just a collection of therapists who simply chip in to cover the rent. Our system frees our therapist up to just be an effective therapist without having to worry about many of the everyday hassles of running a business. Our therapists aren’t burned out – they love being at Family Tree and they have a great passion for the work that we are blessed enough to be able to do.
5. Family Tree has a wonderful nurturing physical environment – While this isn’t the most important thing to look for, it is nice. We are in a new building set on a pond near a park. During the spring and fall we frequently take walks during sessions with our clients who enjoy doing so. Inside we have soft lighting, comfortable furniture, candy bowls, soothing music and all the tea, coffee and hot chocolate that you can drink. We do not have magazines waiting for you. We don’t want you thinking about movie stars or sports in the waiting room – we want you to be busily preparing to make your session as productive as possible.
6. We practice what we preach (we’ve done our own therapy) – We aren’t ashamed of this at all. I could not condone your ever seeing someone who has not spent his or her fair share of time on the couch. Great therapists are not made in graduate school – they are made on therapy couches. We can’t effectively take you to places that we have not gone to ourselves. It is my personal belief that only people with a good bit of baggage become therapists anyway, so we attend to it. We also continue our own work even in the friendly confines of our therapy groups. This is so healthy for us and it is wonderful modeling for our clients.
7. We have a servant’s mentality – If you call around for a therapist you almost always will get an answering machine. They don’t have time to give service because they are busy seeing their clients. However, at Family Tree you will always find a caring therapist on the other end of 844-2442 during normal business hours. We’ll have phone sessions, we’ll go to court, we’ll provide you with reports – we are here to serve you.
8. We are very reasonably priced – You might think that with champagne service you might pay champagne prices. Actually that is not the case at all. With our system there are always newer therapists who are anxious to build their practices up. There is many a therapeutic bargain to be had. You will receive tremendous value when you come to Family Tree. In addition to extremely reasonable rates for couple and individual therapy, our group rates are especially affordable. Since that tends to be long-term therapy, we are willing to give extremely low rates for those who need them. It is not only the most powerful, the most effective and the most fun form of therapy; it is also the least expensive.
9. We give a lot of directive, powerful and life changing feedback – One of my pet peeves is how therapists are usually portrayed in made for TV movies – all they do is nod their heads and stroke their beards. They are made out to be a bunch of sage benevolent sissy’s who make you figure out your stuff all by yourself. That isn’t going to help anyone. We have had hundreds of frustrated clients come to us through the years that got very little from their passive distant therapists. One man said that his dog could provide as good of treatment that his therapist was providing – he said that he could just stay home and have the dog listen to and affirm him by wagging his tail and he’s save a hundred bucks. People want answers! They want direction! We’ll give you more than you can handle.
10. We really care about our clients – This is the heart and soul of therapy. You’ll know right away when someone really cares. This is who we are. This is our calling. Effective therapy most often involves a re-parenting process of sorts. You receive nurturing, direction and wisdom from a figure that is there for you to lean on and trust in. Unfortunately, for many solo practitioners, they are so burned out that their ability to provide heart felt caring has been depleted by the many years of giving without having the support that they needed. You will sense our hearts when you walk into Family Tree.
If this is your first cyber shopping expedition into Indianapolis' Marriage Counseling marketplace there are some things you should know before making the selection of your marriage counselor. While I am biased to be sure, I will shoot straight with you in giving background information that will be helpful in your decision making process. I have insider knowledge about the field that I will attempt to objectively give you some helpful information. I have been a player in Indianapolis' Marriage Counseling game since 1987. I started our practice in 1989. My schedule has been booked solid since I started my practice and I have 10 therapists who work for me. I have seen therapists and practices come and go through the years and I think I can offer you some perspective. I will sincerely put myself in your shoes as a consumer as I share with you what I know.
Before I begin to coach you on the process of marriage counseling shopping I need to get into a theoretical discussion about the nature of effective marital work. The truth is that there are a lot of really bad marriage counselors out there in Indianapolis and elsewhere. If you think that you can just randomly pick any marriage counselor off the web and get high quality, effective service you are sadly mistaken. If you have already been to two or three marriage counselors you know what I am talking about. Most of them are not helpful at best and downright hurtful to re-building your marriage at worst. The problem with most good hearted and well intentioned marriage counselors in any market is that they are focused on the WRONG goal. Surprising the wrong goal is to make the main focus of the therapy fixing the marriage. That is a huge mistake philosophically. Marriages are made up of individual people and if a marriage is going to be rebuilt into something healthy, the process is going to have to start with enlightening and emotionally healing those two individual people. I know that you as a consumer are only interested in saving your marriage so an approach that puts improving and fixing your marriage center stage probably sounds reasonable and like what you should be looking for. It isn't. I liken this approach to putting a Band-Aid on a cancer. Please trust me when I tell you that buying into such an approach could very well be the kiss of death for a marriage that could have been re-built with the right approach.
Before you can fix something you have to first understand exactly what is broken. I know that from your perspective your marriage is absolutely broke down, miserable and in need of serious repair. You wouldn't be surfing Indianapolis Marriage Counselors if you thought otherwise. Here is a mind blower - your marriage is actually just fine. It is actually performing exactly the way it is supposed to be at this point in the marriage. What you (and most marriage counselors) don't understand is that the purpose of marriage is actually to NOT meet your needs and to make you freaking miserable! Your marriage is supposed to be exactly what it is. The pain of your marriage is intended to drive you towards humility, open mindedness, desperation and ultimately into the office of someone who can finally really help you. The truth is that what is broken is you. You are broken. You knew that, right?
The human condition is that we are all pretty dysfunctional. Everyone you know has major issues in their family trees. You and yours are no different. We were all wounded as children in some way, shape or form. If I had a dollar for every time a client of mine told me that he had a great childhood because they had lots of neighborhood friends to play with I'd have enough money to buy that luxury bus that I've been dreaming about. Their dad was busy with work and their mom was depressed so they pretty much raised themselves but they did have lots of fun running the neighborhood. What was the truth about problems in your family as you were growing up? If you compare the emotional goodies that you didn't get growing up with the emotional goodies that you aren't getting in your marriage you'll find that the lists look pretty similar. I wish hard work, a good education, a great job, a big house, a cool car and a Ken and Barbie marriage could erase being abandoned or abused as a child but they don't. The truth about your childhood deficiencies will get exposed and revealed by your marriage. Marriage is life's big truth teller. Whatever dysfunctions mucked up the works growing up will re-visit you during your marriage. Count on it. It is an immutable law of nature.
So what is the truth about you in your marriage? Do you know? What does your spouse say about you? Do you truly listen to and hear them non-defensively? Effective therapy isn't about trumping up cute little plans to try and make things better. That will work well for about a week and a half. Effective marriage counseling is about choking down as much stone cold truth about your role in your marriage and the flaws in your childhood that you can swallow. If your spouse does the same work then your marriage will have a very bright future. Are you controlling, workaholic, critical, too close to your mother, flirtatious, addicted to golf, depressed, a spender, self centered, too nice, lacking in depth, a comfort eater, a little too dependent on wine, a sexual addict, too passive, a ranger, high on Jesus, defensive, or what is your story? You are who you were raised to be. You have nothing to be ashamed of. What is the truth about your spouse? Truly re-building your marriage into something solid and wonderful will mean re-building you and your spouse from the inside out, and that will be a painful, difficult and time consuming proposition.
If you are going to enlist the help of a highly effective marriage counselor you will need someone who understands the healing actual purpose of marital pain, has knowledge of and firsthand experience in healing (their own) childhood wounds, has great courage, has the ability to impact people powerfully with articulate words, knows the difficult truths about themselves, doesn't need your money, deeply cares about people, has years of experience dealing with complex issues, has strong ethical standards and is well trained in understanding addictions and marital issues. I fit the bill on all counts and I have trained and I continue to supervise 10 high character therapists who also fit the bill, though with varying degrees of experience.
We have five males and six females with half of us forty and fifty somethings in our almost 25 year old practice. I firmly believe our practice offers a superior product, but they are good as well. It is best to read, watch or listen to materials from the various therapists that you are considering that expound upon their therapeutic philosophies. See which therapist's materials you really connect with. If a therapist doesn't offer much in the way of free materials that explain their approach pass on them. They probably offer a watered down vanilla approach that will be a waste of your time and money.
The problem with marriage counselors locally in Indianapolis or nationwide who don't shift the focus of the work from the current marital issues to the root causes of childhood dysfunction is that they inadvertently encourage "the offended spouse" to slip into the role of embittered victim while the other is left with the bad guy role. This is extremely common in bad marriage counseling. Anyone thinking that they have been victimized in the marriage is both poisonous and cancerous to effective marriage counseling. The number one cause of divorce isn't infidelity or money problems or addictions or in-law issues. The number one cause of divorce is taking a victimy, judgmental, "I'm less dysfunctional than thou" stance in the marriage. Without the paradigm shift of knowing that there are never, ever any victims in marriage because we all marry the hidden worst characteristics of our parents, settling into the victim/bad guy routine is inevitable. Men, would want to hazard a guess who most often gets elected to the bad guy position? Yep, that would be you. If your wife settles on a victim's role you will be stuck in the dog house for the rest of your short lived marriage. There are no victims or bad guys in marriage. Any approach that allows for even a trace of a victim mentality is an absolute marriage killer.