How to prepare for your first couple counselling session
Relationship Blog

How to Prepare for Your First Couple Counselling Session

In this article, we look at how you can prepare for your first couple counselling session.

So, you’ve decided that couples counselling is the right choice for you and your partner. Congratulations on making that decision. There can be many reasons why you’ve chosen to go to therapy and it doesn’t necessarily mean that your relationship is in trouble. 

Whatever your reason for choosing relationship counselling, you’ll want to make sure that you are properly prepared for your first session. The better prepared you are the more you will get out of the sessions.

So, with all this in mind, what can you do to make sure that your first marriage counselling session goes well?

Table of Contents

Do you both want to attend?

It sounds obvious but you should both be committed to attending couples therapy. Forcing a reluctant partner to attend is not going to get you the results that you are looking for. 

It may take time for the idea to settle with your partner so don’t attempt to force them to agree. If they do agree and are keen to go along with you, the next step is to think about why you are going to couple counselling. 

Remember why you want to go to couple counselling

Unlike individual counselling, the sessions are designed to focus on you alone. Instead, you will be encouraged to discuss issues within your relationship.

Remember though, you are not going to couple counselling to bitch about each other. Firstly it’s not constructive and secondly, the relationship counsellor will not be interested in listening to you nit-picking at each other. 

Something you can both do before your initial session is to think about what you might be doing wrong, not necessarily what your partner is doing wrong.

Prepare yourself to listen to what your partner has to say and make sure that you truly hear them

Try journaling

Before you see a couples therapist for the first time, you could try journaling or at the very least get a notebook and pencil and write down what the issue is or what is bothering you.

Focus on things that you feel don’t work in your relationship rather than writing a list of things that you hate about your partner! You can take your journal and notes along with you to your therapy session.

Be honest and open

Prepare yourself to be open with both the therapist and your partner during the couples therapy session. Your partner will want to hear the truth from you. Truth can be spoken without the need to be nasty or harsh towards your partner. 

Holding back from the therapist places a limit on how much and how well they can help you.

What do you want to achieve?

Your therapist will most likely ask you why you’re at counselling and what outcome you want. It’s good to get clear on this before you go along to see your therapist and it will give you goals to work towards. 

You wouldn’t see a Dr without knowing what was wrong and the same applies to seeing a therapist. Having direction means that you get much more out of your therapy sessions. You will be investing time, energy and money in your counselling so you want to make sure you get the most out of it. 

If you start attending therapy and know what is wrong but you’re not sure what you want to achieve, the therapist can guide you and help you set therapeutic goals.

Choosing a couples counsellor

We’ll look more in-depth into how to choose a therapist in another post, but until then, here are some things to bear in mind when finding the right therapist for you. 

  • Draw up a list of the qualities that you would look for in a therapist.
  • Have any therapists come recommended by friends or family?
  • Check the credentials of the therapist and read reviews and testimonials
  • When you are both happy with a therapist, check to see if they offer the first session free. 

Feel free to ask questions of the therapist. They are they to help and support you and you should feel comfortable talking to them.

How often should you have a counselling session?

You won’t necessarily need weekly sessions, in fact, that may even feel threatening. To begin with, space a couple of sessions out over the space of a few weeks. 

It’s ok to be nervous before your first session

Remember, as with all new experiences it’s perfectly normal, and understandable that you may both feel nervous before your first couple counselling session. But don’t worry. After the first few minutes, you should begin to feel more relaxed. 

Do your homework

You should be given things to work on when between sessions so make sure that you do your homework. Do they work between each counselling session is as important as the sessions themselves so don’t skip it. 

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