If you have ever been in couples therapy or even just started the search for a couples therapist, chances are you had a lot of questions about how the process of therapy with two people would roll out…
Here are some of the standard questions from couples calling to set up their first appointment:
What exactly will we be talking about?
What will you (the therapist) expect of me? Of us?
What am I supposed to expect from you (my therapist)?
How long do you think this will take?
What if I don’t even know what the end goal is?
Every therapist sets the parameters around the therapeutic process a little differently and it is A-OK to ask about his or her approach to couples work. What can help you get a better sense of direction as you begin is to honestly identify what you want your relationship to look like, what behaviors you’re contributing to the conflict, and what level of commitment you can make to therapy with your partner.
I recently read this post written by Ellyn Bader, PhD. on The Couples Institute Couples’ Blog and wanted to pass it along for anyone seeking guidance while seeking therapy! I especially appreciate the following pieces of insight:
Your job is to create your own individual objectives for being in therapy. Like a good coach, my job is to help you reach them. I have many, many tools to help you become a more effective partner – they work best when you are clear about how you aspire to be.
It simply takes effort to sustain improvement over time: staying conscious of making a difference over time, remembering to be more respectful, more giving, more appreciative etc. It takes effort to remember and act.
Attitude is Key
When it comes to improving your relationship, your attitude toward change is more important that what action to take.
Identifying what to do and how to do it is often easy to identify. The bigger challenge is why you don’t do it.
How to think differently about a problem is often more effective than just trying to figure out what action to take.
It’s a lengthier article but very worth the read if you’d like a clearer picture of what couples therapy might look like.