Your First Couples Counseling Session: What To Expect
Couples come to counseling in different phases of a relationship and in varying life stages. Your decision to attend couples counseling may begin by making a mutual choice with your partner to seek counseling, or it may be one partner asking the other to attend.
For those who have never attended couples counseling before, going to therapy can seem like a daunting task. Knowing what to expect from the first session can help ease your anxiety and help you feel prepared.
The first session is where the ground rules and boundaries regarding couples counseling are discussed. You can expect your therapist to walk you through client confidentiality, their policies regarding cancellations, and the methodology they use when they work with couples on relationship issues.
Then, your therapist will start your session by asking basic questions about the history of your relationship, the length of the relationship, how you met, what made you fall in love, and the concerns you are currently facing. Your initial appointment will focus on who you are as individuals and how you work together as a couple. Your therapist may also ask questions like:
- What issues have you experienced in the past in your relationship?
- How long have these issues been a problem?
- Is this your first time in couples counseling?
- What have you and your partner done to try and resolve the issue?
- What are your expectations for couples counseling?
In this way, the initial session is used as a means of information gathering, although meaningful issues are often discussed and worked on even in this early stage. The real work of counseling will begin after the assessment and evaluation phase and when your therapist has a clear idea of the nature of your issues and the steps that can be taken to address them.
Usually a session of couples counseling involves a variety of tasks. The first task of your therapist is to ensure that you feel at ease and comfortable talking with them. Oftentimes couples counseling involves sharing information that may be very personal or extremely difficult to discuss, so it is important that you develop trust with your therapist and feel safe discussing such topics.
Very often the problems that couples face have little to do with not loving and caring about the other person in the relationship. Rather, it’s that many couples simply don't know how to communicate what they want and need from their partner. When you work with your therapist in couples counseling you will learn how to:
- Develop better communication skills on how to really listen to your partner without jumping to conclusions or starting an argument.
- Learn how to better understand the struggles, challenges, and fears of your partner.
- Learn how to disagree with your partner without lashing out in anger or fear.
- Learn how to compromise with your partner in areas of disagreement.
- Improve intimacy, both physical and emotional.
- Learn how to honor family relationships.
- Learn about personal boundaries and how to face and forgive past history.
If you and your partner are struggling in your relationship or want to learn how to connect more deeply and emotionally, you may find couples counseling to be helpful.For more information or to schedule an appointment, connect with us on our contact page.