What to expect in Couple Therapy
Updated: Mar 28, 2019
If you are reading this, you are likely speculating that couple therapy is this thing you should probably do to help your relationship, but you might also be curious what you can expect from the experience and how it can benefit your relationship. Continue reading to find out!
I understand that therapy can be an intimidating process to get started, especially when there are unknowns about the process. I hope the following answers will help you to feel more comfortable moving forward with seeking help for your relationship!
What is couple therapy?
For starters, couple therapy is a type of psychotherapy that is often held by a marriage and family therapist who is trained specifically in working with couples. This means the couple's therapist understands relational dynamics on a deeper level and is skilled in facilitating therapy sessions with a focus on dynamics that will improve connection and relational satisfaction.
How does couple therapy start?
Our first session is about establishing a safe and comfortable environment and getting to know you and your partner. I will ask about your backgrounds, your patterns, your struggles, and your hopes. I want to understand your current relationship and how you got to where you are now. My goal is for you and your partner to feel that I get you, I understand where you are wanting to go, and I have some good ideas of how to get you there!
What can we expect from couple therapy?
After we have established a trusting foundation and an understanding of your past and present, therapy provides a variety of benefits for your relationship. It is a place where thoughts and emotions can be deeply understood; where the underlying causes and forces can be seen more clearly. Therapy is a place to understand your relationships with others and yourselves. In therapy, you can learn to understand how your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors influence each other. We can discover your expectations, values, and desires, and create goals to help you get to where you want to go. More than anything, therapy is a hopeful place. A place I believe can foster growth, empower change, and bring holistic healing to individuals, couples, and families.
What are some common goals for couple therapy?
Understand barriers to relational satisfaction
Learn to express needs more clearly
Improve intimacy and connection
Resolve conflict more effectively
Reduce harmful communication patterns
Understand each other better
Emotion and stress management
Healing from relationship wounds
How will we know couple therapy has been successful?
Throughout the process of couple therapy, you and your partner should notice changes in thoughts, emotional responses, and behaviors that bring you closer to your desired relational goal. They may start small, but over time the alterations will start to become more prominent in your daily interactions, and your previous concerns will start to diminish. This tells us you are well on your way to self-sufficiency, meaning you are nearing the end of your successful time in therapy!
How long does therapy last?
Some couples might experience almost immediate improvement in their relationship upon starting therapy, but this does not necessarily mean their time in therapy is complete. An analogy for this is that sometimes the first few sessions will help put out the fire, but there are still smoldering embers waiting for the next gust of wind to set the fire again. The smoldering embers are the deeper, unresolved issues that need to be understood and actively addressed before the risk of another fire can be more confidently reduced. It is important for the longevity of relational improvement to consistently address the "embers" until the temperature has significantly diminished, ie. the underlying issues have been recognized and addressed, or ultimately, resolved.
How long is each session?
I offer 50 or 80 minute sessions, depending on your needs. Some people find 50 minutes to be sufficient, others need 80 minutes. We can experiment with which works best for you!
Is couple therapy confidential?
Legal and ethical standards ensure everything you and your partner disclose in therapy is to remain confidential, with the exception of safety concerns. I seek regular supervision with a licensed marriage and family therapist to ensure I am providing my best work, but no identifying information is disclosed in this setting. In a sense, you are receiving professional services from two clinicians for the price of one!
How do we get started?
You can start by scheduling a free initial consultation, or schedule your first session today! All scheduling is easily conducted online, or you can give me a call. I look forward to connecting with you!
I hope you found this information to be helpful. Please send me a message or email if there are additional questions I can answer!