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Question: We are going to counseling....Should we choose a person who is in the Lifestyle?

Dear Lounge Advice,

My wife is in her early 40's and is just in the beginning stages of menopause. She has been having mild bouts of depression and has reached the point where she thinks she needs to consult a professional for counseling and or medication if necessary. Her problem is that we both believe you should be totally honest when dealing with any psychologist or phychiatrist situation. How do you describe your lifestyle activities to these people without them automatically assuming that that is where your problems come from? It seems that it would be to easy for them to dismiss your problems as lifestyle related without delving any further. This in turn may make you question your participation in the lifestyle as abnormal and make you stop doing something that actually makes you happy.

Is it better just to keep your mouth shut or try to seek out professionals that either participate or have other clients in the lifestyle. The latter seems ideal, but easier said than done. Any advice would be appreciated.

Sincerely,

(Anonymous)

  
Dear (Anonymous),

It is a waste of time and a lot of money to speak to any professional for counseling and to keep your mouth shut and not tell the entire truth.

As with any person you will meet, there are those who have varied degrees of knowledge and understanding about the lifestyle. The truth of the matter is that no matter what you may think or like to believe, there may be some aspects of the lifestyle that are contributing to how she is feeling at this time. It is impossible for me to guess as to what that may be, but it is always a possibility.

We have had experience in speaking to professionals who have both been in the Lifestyle and who have had no experiences with it. The good ones will not be passing judgement nor will they be looking to place blame or look to blame your participation in the lifesyle for how she is feeling. If she is completely honest with these professionals and that is not a cause or contributing factor, they will know.

An important factor in whether you are successful in counseling may depend on how comfortable you feel with the individual professional you choose. Therefore, it is well within your rights to find out ahead of time how the professional you are seeking feels about the Lifestyle.

As with choosing any medical professional, ask questions that concern you ahead of time and you can determine for yourselves if they are the best one for you.

Just keep an open mind. Remember that everyone's experience and how each of us define "The Lifesytle" varies from person to person. So if you find someone who is in the Lifestyle, what they do in the Lifestyle or what their experiences are- It may vary a great deal from yours. So finding a counselor who has Lifestyle experience themselves may not be the "ideal" situation as you think.

Above everything else, it is great that you have chosen to confront whatever it is that is causing this. The first step in overcoming a problem is admitting that there is one.

DO NOT shut up about it. The only way this will be successful for you is to be 100% open, honest, and upfront with whomever you choose.

Good luck and give us some feedback on how it goes for you !
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