The initial meeting will focus on learning about why you have decided to seek therapy. Sometimes, I find that the couple may be there different reasons, which is okay.
We will not only talk about the present, but explore each person’s family of origin. How did the family express difficult emotions? How was conflict handled? What was the quality of your parent’s marriage?
Similar to individual therapy, talking about personal problems is difficult. Once a couple decides to try marital therapy they may be feeling vulnerable and uncertain about the state of their marriage. I understand this, and do my best to make each person feel supported and validated.
It’s Therapeutic Coaching
There is a bit more coaching in couples counseling than in typical therapy. It can be a new skill for people to be an active listener – it’s surprising how many people don’t wait and listen to their partner before they respond. While this may feel contrived, it does work, and I have seen it made a huge difference in a couple’s interactions.
Length of Sessions and Duration
I conduct my couple’s counseling sessions for an hour and a half as I am working with two people and both need the opportunity to be heard.
This type of therapy tends to be short-term. There is a specific problem to be solved, and the therapist will help you solve it. For most couples I have worked with, the therapy has lasted between six months and one year, depending on how often you meet with your therapist and the complexity of your problems. If you didn’t catch the problem early and it has been festering for a while, it may take longer because you are more entrenched in that pattern. While I always suggest weekly appointments, I’ve found that couples typically attend therapy on a bi-monthly basis.
You May Need To Return And That’s Okay
Couples therapy is something that you may need to return to from time to time. There are always new things that come up in a relationship or old issues may return. I find that it’s very common for couples to have certain issues that come up again and again. Additionally, I often see that one or both people fall back into old habits. This doesn’t mean you have an unhealthy relationship or should give up – it’s completely normal. Returning to couple’s counseling will help get your relationship back on track.
You’ll See The Benefits Everywhere
Working with your partner in a therapeutic environment will not only benefit your marriage, but it will spill over into all areas of your life. You’ll become more self-aware in your friendships, with your colleagues, around your children and more. Plus, you’ll improve your relationship with your partner.