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Your First Couple’s Therapy Session – What To Expect and How To Prepare

Maybe you drifted apart after years of raising kids.


Maybe one of you got caught in an affair.


Maybe things aren’t that bad; you want to ensure they never get there.

No matter the reasoning behind starting relationship counseling, the first session can feel nerve-wracking, confusing, and potentially overwhelming. Keep reading to get some insight into what your first session with us looks like when you start this journey with your partner!


Getting to Know Each Other 

Therapy heavily relies on the relationship between the clinician and the clients. According to research, getting along with your therapist and liking them as a person plays a significant role in reaching your goals in therapy. We encourage our clients to treat this first session like an interview where you ask any questions you may have about your therapist’s approach and philosophy behind relationship counseling. Your therapist should be an open book about why they use specific modalities and interventions and be able to explain them to you clearly and concisely.


How would you describe your relationship currently? 


What “last straw” made you say, “It’s time to go to therapy?” 


Please tell me how you see your role in your relationship right now. 


As your therapist, we are also working to get to know you! You are a unique individual with quirks, preferences, voice cadences, and particular habits in your body language. We are working to take all that in during the first session to give us a better understanding of who you are, outside of the immediate concern that brought you to counseling.


Identifying Goals – Both Short and Long-Term

Next, we want to know YOUR goals in therapy. You can expect questions like:


What do you want to have accomplished by the end of therapy? 


What is your most immediate concern? 


What would it be if you could only pick one thing to change in your relationship? 


We ask this to ensure we are all on the same page and aligned with what we are working towards. If a different goal comes to mind that we believe, as clinicians, should be added, we will talk with you first to ensure everyone is motivated and invested in working together to achieve that new goal.


Prioritization of these goals is also essential. Working with your therapist, it is important to understand why we are placing things in a particular order and what you will focus on first. Communicating with us about your priorities is also vital. We need to know your most pressing concerns since that is where most of your motivation for change will be.


Identifying Immediate Roadblocks 

Often, when I ask people what is standing in the way of change, they immediately go to everything their partner is doing “wrong” in their eyes. While we understand that your partner is under your skin at the moment, we will bring the focus back to things you can control and have autonomy over. That being said, we also want to know your perspective on your partner as well. You can be prepared for questions like:


What is stopping YOU from making needed changes? 


What is one thing you feel is the biggest roadblock to making progress? 


What is getting in both of your ways to getting to your goal? 


What needs to be done to get past these hurdles?


We may or may not agree on your biggest roadblocks, but it helps us understand your perspective and view on things. That last question is also critical as it gives us insight into how you solve problems and where your brain is at in moving forward.


Identifying Strengths

Every couple, even the ones struggling the most, have present strengths. They may not be enough to keep the issues at bay, but we want to build on top of what you already are doing well, whether large or small. This gives us a greater chance of applying new skills when they are connected to things you already do. We get an idea of these things by asking questions such as:


What has kept you together so far? 


What do you think you both do well together? 


What would your friends or family say is the best thing about your relationship? 


Again, identifying these things is crucial to helping us develop a customized plan to help you and your partner experience the highest quality of relationship possible.


Are you ready to get started? Contact us today for a FREE consultation and to be matched with the counselor who is best for you and your person!