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by Abigail Van Buren

Counseling Saves Self-Esteem as Well as Woman's Marriage

DEAR ABBY: May I second your excellent recommendation to "Nervous Wreck," whose bull-headed husband refused marriage counseling, was walking all over her, and was teaching her son to do the same?

We had a similar situation at our house. I finally sought counseling alone because my husband not only refused to go with me but also tried to talk me out of it.

Several sessions with a psychiatrist relieved my depression, and at the doctor's suggestion I signed up for a course in assertiveness at a nearby mental health clinic.

Well, Abby, our marriage is on an entirely different footing now. In counseling I was treated as a rational, sensitive person whose feelings are important, and I came to view myself that way.

Because I changed, my family's reactions toward me did, too. They found that I would firmly reject disrespectful attitudes and actions and that I demanded my rights in any situation.

My husband now seems like a different man, and we are both 100 percent happier. As for me, I'm ... NO LONGER A WRECK

DEAR NO LONGER: Thank you for supporting my constant recommendation to "get counseling." To some it may sound like a broken record; to others, a cop-out. Mental health clinics across the nation continue to provide lifesaving support for troubled people at a price everyone can afford to pay. If your marriage is in trouble and your mate refuses counseling -- go alone!