What to expect from couples therapy | Addressing common queries

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What to expect from couples therapy | Addressing common queries

An increasing number of couples are seeking professional support to help get their relationships back on track. One study found that there has been a 30% increase in couples in their 20s and 30s who sought help from relationship counselling in the UK since 2014.

It can be daunting to ask for assistance in resolving your relationship difficulties, especially when discussing deeply private matters. Many couples struggle with not knowing what to expect in couples counselling and how to prepare for the first session. If you’re nervous about going to couples therapy – don’t worry. Here, we cover what to expect from couples counselling – addressing common queries such as what to say in couples therapy and how to make the most of your sessions.

How will couples therapy benefit you?

Arranging to see a therapist specialising in relationship support provides a totally impartial and highly skilled source of support. It can be particularly beneficial if you find that talking to a trusted friend or someone close to you isn’t beneficial enough in helping you to understand each other’s point of view and progress forward.

Couples therapists personalise their approach, remaining empathetic but unbiased. They also know the latest methods and exercises to help improve relationships and work through issues. Couples therapists will likely suggest helpful homework exercises you can try each day to make your relationship more stable and to be more considerate and conscious of each other’s needs.

Find out more about the benefits of couples therapy in our guide Is couples therapy worth it?

What happens in your first couples therapy session?

You can expect the following from a couples counselling session:

Your first session will allow you to meet your therapist and outline what you believe the issues are and what goals you have. The professional couples counsellor will discuss a plan for how future sessions could be structured.

Both at this introductory meeting and at future counselling sessions, you will be guided towards activities to help you in your daily life. These ‘homework’ exercises and improvement ideas can often be the most useful factor in healing relationships. You will also be encouraged to be conscious of – and even write down – issues you would like to address in future counselling sessions.

You may also be offered individual sessions with the relationship therapist to give you more time to address your concerns and goals and to aid their understanding of the issues.

You and your partner will certainly be offered regular relationship therapy sessions to work through problems and find sustainable solutions.

Find out more about how to prepare for your first couples therapy session here.

You can also prepare for your first therapy session by thinking about what you may want to say in couples therapy.

What should you say in couples therapy, and how can you prepare for a session?

There is no set answer to what you can say in couples therapy, as everyone’s situation is different. However, having an idea of what might be useful to discuss and what you hope to get out of therapy can sometimes reduce nerves and help you feel prepared.

Here are some things you may want to discuss with your partner so you have a clear idea of what you want to discuss in couples therapy:

  • What are you hoping to get out of therapy, and what are your key goals?
  • What do you feel are the key issues in your relationship?
  • Have we made a clear, concise, and mutually agreed-upon list of issues to discuss?
  • Do we both understand the issues each of us are facing?

These key things can put you in the right frame of mind to begin your first session. However, bear in mind that even if your partner is not willing to be fully cooperative, couples therapy may still help you.

Are you worried about what to say or what your therapist might ask you? Read our full guide on what to say in couples therapy here.

How do you ensure you get the most out of couples therapy?

To get the most out of your sessions, you may want to consider the following:

Go into couples therapy with an open mind

Although you will likely feel nervous about going to couples therapy for the first time, try and go into your first session with an open mind. The more honest and open-minded you are with how you engage with the treatment, the better the chance it has of providing genuine results.

Engage with “homework” tasks

Your therapist may set you “homework” tasks, which will be things to do in between your sessions, such as keeping a diary of your moods and feelings or any disagreements you may have. This will help you implement the key skills you’re learning, as well as learn more about your relationship dynamic and where any potential problems may be coming from. Homework tasks can play a huge part in the overall success of couples therapy – so it is worth engaging with any tasks you are set.

Try and communicate clearly and honestly

It can be extremely helpful if both partners communicate clearly and honestly – however, a therapist can still help you if your partner is not being cooperative. It can also be a great help if you are both on the same page when it comes to isolating the issues you’re facing, in addition to deciding the outcomes you want to see. Set yourself realistic and achievable aims, and with the help of your therapist, map out your path to them.

Read additional tips on getting the most out of couples therapy here.

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How to make the most of couples therapy

Is couples counselling worth it?

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