This Marriage-Counseling Scam Is A Real MoneymakerCommentary • Opinion • business • ISSUE 37•39 • Oct 31, 2001 By L. Phillip Udall L. Phillip Udall There's a sucker born every minute, and as a National Board For Certified Counselors-licensed marriage counselor, I know that better than anyone. For 22 years, I've bilked troubled couples out of their hard-earned cash by actually convincing them that their marital problems have a solution and that I can give it to them. Yep, this marriage-counseling scam is a real moneymaker! I hate to give away my secrets, but I'll let you in on the basics, just so you can see what an amazing racket I have going. It's so simple, anyone can pull it off. First, you've got to find a school that offers a master's degree in counseling. They have them all over the country, and most of them will accept just about anybody. For just a little bit of money up front—believe me, you'll recoup your investment hundreds of times over—they'll let you in on all the secrets of the big marriage-counseling swindle. They'll tell you what to say, show you what books to have lining your office shelves, and teach you time-tested techniques from all the old pros and big rollers in the biz. After you get your degree, the next step is to take the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification. Once that's done, it's time to start making the green! Get yourself some puppets and big foam bats and shit like that. (I'm not going to tell you where I got mine, because I have my own special type of rag doll I like to use, and I don't want anybody moving in on my hustle.) Set yourself up in a nice little office with some couches and lacquered diplomas and a receptionist up front just to make everything look legit. Then sit back and watch the cash roll in. I have no idea why this works, but it does. Basically, all you do is sit there and listen. I'm serious! A good 75 percent of my "job" is listening as some miserable husband-and-wife team drones on about their problems. Every once in a while, you say something like, "Well, what are some things Don could do to make you feel like he appreciates you?" Or, "Don, did you even know Wendy felt this way?" The rest of the time, it's just keep the eyes open, nod, and cash the checks. Last week alone, my haul was a cool $4,500, and I made it just sitting on my ass. Check this out: These couples pay me $200 an hour, and I get paid whether I solve their problems or not. If they leave crying their eyes out, I get paid. If they end up getting divorced... paid!But, wait, it gets even better. Rather than scam a bunch of couples for $200 and then flee, setting up my "office" on some other corner, I actually stay in one place and make repeat customers out of them! Some of them, I've had coming in on a weekly basis for years! So, this month alone, it's $200, $200, $200, $200... thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Abramson, and don't let the glass door with my name tastefully stenciled on it hit you on the ass on the way out. I know what some of you are thinking. How can you prey on these innocent people? Hey, I didn't ask them to be born so stupid! That's their own damn fault! Or, as I find out with a lot of them, it's their parents' fault. (When in doubt, trace it back to the parents.) It's like they're begging to be ripped off. Take this one gullible couple I had in here today. The Ortons. The husband says he feels "smothered." The wife, meanwhile, says she's "not self-actualized" in the marriage, whatever the hell that means. So I let them jabber on for a good 20 minutes while I think about the hot speedboat I'm planning to buy. Finally, I ask, "Well, how much time do you spend together?" Turns out, they both work out of their home, and not only do they have no mental or physical boundaries to separate work time and social time, but they also have almost no autonomous recreational interests. So what do I do? You're gonna love this. I tell them to take out a piece of paper and draw up a schedule that includes "Together Time" and "Independence Time." Do you know how much thought I put into that genius advice? Zero. Zip. Nothing. For that, I got $200 smackeroos! The best part is, as they were leaving, I said, "Come back next week, and we'll see how that schedule is working." Ha, ha! They actually thanked me as they walked out! As a break from counting my money, I've been working on a book called Family Foundations: Building The Base That Will Sustain Your Marriage For A Lifetime. When it hits bookstores, I'll be pulling in the chump change all across the country. The publisher will do my work and just send me the check. Ka-ching! Yeah, I've got a pretty sweet thing going here. Of course, any time you're running a scam on someone, you've got to keep in mind that it won't last forever. No matter how good it is, eventually, somebody's gonna sniff you out. That's why I've been socking away a little of the dough every month, just in case someone catches on to me. If that day ever comes, you can find me in Key West, a bottle of suntan lotion in one hand and a drink in the other. See ya, suckers!