What should you say in couples counselling?
If you’re thinking of starting couples therapy, it can be a daunting prospect. Whether you’ve had counselling before on an individual basis or this will be your first time seeking professional help from a therapist, it’s important to know that nerves are very common. Keep in mind that your relationship therapist will provide you with a controlled and safe environment for both you and your partner to begin exploring the issues that you’re facing in your marriage or relationship. Couples therapy has been shown to be highly effective at improving all aspects of a relationship that might have otherwise resulted in divorce.
The therapy process begins with an initial consultation to lay the framework of the reasons that have brought both you and your partner into therapy. Your counsellor will then lay out the roadmap of what you can expect in future sessions.
Worrying is perfectly natural, which is why this guide is here to give you some key information that will allow you to prepare for your first couples therapy session.
Click on a link to jump to that section:
Read our tips on what to say in couples therapy.
Find out what kind of questions your couples therapist is likely to ask.
Read what types of tasks your therapist may provide you with.
Find out what qualifications a couples therapist should have.
We answer common queries on what to say in couples therapy.
What should you say in couples therapy?
There’s no hard and fast rule regarding what can and can’t be discussed in couples therapy. Remember that this is your relationship and that the situation you’re in and issues you’re facing are going to be unique to you. With that in mind, there are some key things you can consider to help point you in the right direction.
Some things you can discuss with your partner include:
- What are our goals, and what are we looking to get out of therapy?
- What are the key issues that we’re facing, both as a couple and as individuals?
- Do we understand the issues each of us is facing to the best of our ability?
- Have we made a clear, concise, and mutually agreed-upon list of issues to discuss?
These key things can put you in the right frame of mind to begin your first session.
What sort of questions will your therapist ask?
- What are the relationship problems that inspired you to seek this counselling?
- What are your goals, both individually and as a couple, that you’re looking to achieve?
- Have you identified any potential issues or obstructions in the way of achieving these goals?
- Have you got any worries or concerns about your counselling sessions you’d like to discuss?
There may also be individual meetings with your counsellor, undertaken by both you and your partner, so they can get a better understanding of where both of you stand in the relationship. This will help them get a clearer picture of what is behind the relationship distress you’re both facing and inform their suggestions about how to resolve it.
If you want to know what to expect from counselling, read our guide What to expect from your first couples therapy session.
What tasks might your therapist set and recommend?
Couples therapy doesn’t just happen in your counsellor’s office or in an online session; they may also set you tasks to complete between your sessions. These can be invaluable for helping you to get a deeper understanding of the issues that you’re facing, and they can also help you practice and implement certain key skills and coping mechanisms you learn along the way. Examples can include:
- Learning how to identify and acknowledge the start of a negative emotional cycle. Understanding where and how the issues that crop up in your relationship manifest can help considerably when it comes to avoiding them in future.
- Prioritising time spent together, either relaxing or doing a dedicated couple’s activity. It’s important to determine what a healthy amount of time to spent together is, as every couple is different, then commit to making it happen.
- Identifying past and potential triggers of disagreements and uncomfortable situations. Learning where arguments and problems stem from can help further deal with those causes, as well as ensure potential arguments are avoided.
- Implementing healthy coping mechanisms learned through treatment to resolve any issues. This can include writing your feelings down or discussing the matter as openly and honestly as possible with your partner when something happens.
How can British cbt help
At The British CBT and Counselling Service, we have a host of dedicated, experienced, and highly trained psychologists, psychotherapists and highly regulated therapists available to provide the right counselling for you. We also offer online marriage counselling, as well as online counselling of all other types. This allows you to engage in therapy in the most comfortable and convenient way for you. Whether it’s through video calling on Skype or Zoom, talking on the telephone, or via another platform, we’re here to facilitate your treatment in the best possible way.
For more information, or to discuss your needs, contact The British Counselling Service today.
Frequently asked questions
How does online therapy differ from traditional couples therapy?
The only difference is that online couples therapy is not held in your therapist’s office. It will often be dispensed by video call. However, the quality of the therapy does not change.
What are some good ideas for couples’ activities?
Shopping, walking, days out, sport, cooking together, arts and crafts and other creative pursuits that you both enjoy will encourage you to interact with one another.
Why don’t couples get therapy sooner?
There are many reasons. For some, it’s embarrassment and fear of judgement – but for others, it may be due to denial that any problems exist. Others may feel uncomfortable talking about their feelings with both their spouse and a therapist.
Will a marriage counsellor recommend divorce?
Choosing to divorce is something that only a couple can decide. It’s not your therapist’s place to make that suggestion; your therapist is only there to help you better understand and manage your relationship issues.
What are some common couples therapy types?
The type of therapy you have will vary depending on your circumstances. Examples of couple therapy types include the Gottman method, cognitive behavioural therapy, emotion-focused therapy, narrative therapy, and solution-focused therapy.
How do I get started with couples therapy?
Simply contact The British Counselling Service for more information about how to start couples therapy.
How to get the most out of couples counselling
What to expect from your first couples counselling session