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What to Expect from Couples Therapy

Going to Couples Therapy for the First Time

You and your partner have decided to take the plunge and give couples therapy a go . Regardless of your reasons for seeking therapy, it's common to feel nervous about the idea of counseling, and you might even be dreading your first appointment.

The thought of getting vulnerable with a stranger is daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Let me tell you more about what you can expect from couples therapy. Hopefully, the idea will feel a bit less unnerving by the time you're done reading.

Your first couples therapy session

Your exact experience will vary based on the counselor you're working with, but most initial sessions will begin with some basic questions. You might be asked, “So, what's going on?” or, “Why did you decide to come to therapy today?”

It can be helpful to discuss the answers to these questions ahead of time if you haven't already. Because most couples wait a long time before coming to therapy it's likely there are many reasons you've decided to work with a counselor. Having a mutual understanding of the issues you'd like to resolve can help you get the most out of your sessions.

Your therapist will also want to get to know you both, including how long you've been together and other parts of the story you've been writing together. He or she may even want to meet with you individually. If you aren't sure how your chosen therapist handles initial sessions it never hurts to ask any questions you might have.

Be prepared to get uncomfortable

You're seeking couples therapy because you want to strengthen your relationship, and that means you'll have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. After all, you're trying to solve problems between yourself and another person… and that's tough work!

You might cry, yell, feel exasperated, or any number of other emotions and behaviors. That's completely normal and you shouldn't feel ashamed of your emotions when you're in therapy. If you don't believe me, take it from the Mayo Clinic :

“Talking about your problems with a marriage counselor might not be easy. Sessions might pass in silence as you and your partner seethe over perceived wrongs—or you might bring your fights with you, perhaps even yelling or arguing during sessions. Both are OK. Your therapist can act as mediator or referee and help you cope with the resulting emotions and turmoil.”

Changing the dynamics of your relationship isn't easy. It will be hard. But, I also have some good news based on my experiences working with plenty of couples over the years: Couples therapy has the power to transform your relationship for the better. You both just have to be willing to put in the work.

To learn more about how Foundations Counseling can help, contact us today!