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How do I know relationship counselling will help?
The reality is that most couples are apprehensive about relationship or marriage counselling, especially if they have never attended a couples counselling or individual therapy session before with a psychologist or counsellor. It's normal to wonder and even worry about what the psychologist will be like, whether they will take sides or what you may have to reveal as part of couples therapy. These feelings typically pass after the first couples session.
Typically, your counsellor will recommend that both people in the relationship attend the couples counselling session together, at least initially. This is to help establish rules, goals and boundaries that are clearly about the couple and their relationship. Sometimes we will recommend that clients meet with the psychologist individually, and many of our clients find it helpful to see the therapist first as a couple, then individually, in turns, and then to meet up again with the therapist as a couple. However, the structure is not prescribed by us. It is determined by the individual needs of clients, and many couples only have counselling sessions where they attend together.
For some couples, other issues can get in the way. If there is an individual issue such as anxiety, addictions or depression then your couples counsellor may suggest you see another psychologist for individual therapy to help with a particular issue.
What will happen in a couples counselling session?
You do not need to bring anything to your first session of couples counselling, or to prepare in any formal way. The first session is typically more about finding about about your history, and your goals, and about you becoming comfortable with your therapist, and asking questions, as well as explaining to you how couples therapy will work.
To get the most out of therapy we recommend that you spend some time thinking about why you are coming to counselling, what issues you might want to discuss and what outcomes you are hoping for.
- Some questions you may like to consider are:
- What issues have you been experiencing in your relationship?
- How long have these issues been a problem in your relationship?
- Have you ever been in relationship counselling before?
- What have you and your partner done to try to resolve these issues?
- What are your expectations of relationship counselling?