Couples therapy can be a great way to improve your relationship and maintain a healthy, happy home. However, not all couples therapy is created equal. There are many different approaches that therapists use when it comes to couples work- some will focus on the past while others will try address current issues in order to get you back on track. This blog post discusses tips for every session of couples therapy so that you know what to expect from each one!
Why couples therapy is important
In order to get the most out of your sessions, it’s imperative that you and your partner understand why you are there in the first place. Couples therapy can help improve a variety of relationship problems such as infidelity, lack of intimacy, depression, or anxiety due to emotional abuse- to name but a few.
Couples say that couples therapy has helped them to understand their partner better, communicate more effectively with each other and have a higher level of empathy for one another.
Women tend to benefit more from couples therapy than men do, which is likely due to the fact that women are usually the ones who seek out help when there’s a problem.
Men often resist couples therapy because they feel it’s a sign of weakness. However, a study found that men who went to couples therapy were more likely to stay committed in their relationships, and report a higher level of satisfaction than those that didn’t go.
Both men and women can benefit from couples therapy, it’s just about knowing when to go and what kind of approach might work best.
How to find the right therapist for you and your partner
When looking for couples therapy opportunities, it’s important to take note of what type of approach they use – is one more suited to your needs? There are many different types of approaches such as structural or strategic family systems theory, and it’s important to find one that best suits you and your partner.
Tips for finding the perfect therapist include:
- Ask your friends or family members for recommendations. They can often recommend someone they know and trust, which is a great way to reach out if you’re too embarrassed to do so yourself.
- Find a therapist who specializes in the area of concern that you have – whether it be depression or infidelity. This will ensure that they have experience in dealing with those issues.
- Avoid feeling pressured to find a therapist right away, especially if you’re still researching what type of approach would be best for your needs and preferences.
- Look into how long they’ve been practicing couples therapy – it’s not just about their qualifications but also the level at which they are experienced.
- If you’re not sure how to find a therapist, the internet is your best friend. Simply search “therapist couples therapy” and continue from there!
The first session
The initial sessions of couples therapy can be a little awkward- after all, this is the first time you’ll have met with a therapist! But don’t worry – these are usually very informative so if there’s anything you have in mind, like a particular issue you want to address, it’s best to do so.
It’s important to be yourself in your first session so that you can truly get the most out of it. This will allow you to give a full picture to your therapist, and also make sure they understand how supportive both partners are for one another.
In order for couples therapy sessions to work, both spouses have to be willing participants – this means being honest with your partner from the get-go, and being willing to take any actions that will improve your relationship.
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Both partners should be involved in sessions, so make sure you’re not the only one!
Tip: Don’t enter your first session with a list of demands for how things should be from now on. This will give the therapist an idea that they need to fix something and often leads them down this path during future sessions which can become frustrating.
What to expect from each session
You can usually expect the sessions of couples therapy to be organized around your and your partner’s goals – what are they trying to achieve? Some therapists will focus on past issues whereas others will address current problems.
The first few sessions will likely be more about establishing a relationship with your therapist, and getting to know them. This will help you feel comfortable enough to open up in future sessions – after all, it’s tough talking about personal problems and concerns when you don’t trust the person sitting across from you!
The later sessions will likely have a more focus on dealing with current problems. Experienced therapists will try and have you set achievable goals for your sessions, such as having you talk about a particular problem that’s been frustrating.
Tips on how to make the most out of your sessions and get the most for your money
It’s imperative that you are prepared before each session- so if there’s anything you want to talk about, bring it up! It may be difficult at first but this is what a therapist is there for – to help you improve your relationship so it’s worth putting in the effort and doing your best.
Focus on the positive things about your relationship and spend time cultivating more of those – this will help both you and your partner feel better, which will lead to a healthier relationship as well.
The most important thing for couples therapy is honesty- if there’s something that has been bothering one or both partners then it needs to be addressed!
It may seem uncomfortable to talk about these things with your partner, but if you’re both honest then it will be easier for each of you to understand the other’s perspective.
The sessions should always feel safe and comfortable- so don’t hesitate to ask any questions or voice concerns!
Things not to do during sessions
It can be tempting when discussing an issue that may have been ongoing for a long time but this isn’t what couples therapy is for. That’s why it’s important to not bring up old arguments or mistakes- this is about moving forward and creating a healthy, happy home together!
Don’t do these things during sessions:
- Threaten to leave your spouse or threaten divorce unless they do what you want.
- Bring up past issues that may have caused a rift in the relationship. This type of behavior only causes more problems and isn’t helpful for any situation, so avoid it at all costs!
- Bring up issues that are unrelated to the couple’s current problems.
- Attend sessions unless you really feel like it will help your marriage or relationship and both spouses are on board with attending them together!
Don’t talk about individual therapy – this is strictly for couples only, so don’t expect any advice about yourself from your therapist even if they’re competent in individual therapy.
If you feel like your spouse isn’t willing to work on the relationship, then it may be time to seek one-on-one help from a professional – couples therapy is all about teamwork and if your partner refuses or withdraws during sessions then there’s not much that can be done.
Don’t make threats – this may seem like a good way to get your spouse’s attention but it will only make the relationship worse.
How much does couples therapy cost
Most therapists will charge anywhere from $100 -$250 per session (though you can find some that are less), so it’s important to have a conversation with your partner on how much you are willing and able to spend.
Novice therapists will typically charge less but they may not be as experienced or qualified, which could make sessions more frustrating.
Be sure to ask about the therapist’s qualifications and experience before you sign up- if it seems like their rates are too high than there might be another reason for that!
Don’t let cost dictate your decision in terms of attending couples therapy – if you think it will help your relationship, then don’t let money get in the way!
How do I know if couples therapy is working
If it feels like the relationship you once had, there may be progress but that doesn’t necessarily mean that sessions will continue – sometimes people just need some time apart.
If you feel like the therapist is helping and that progress has been made, then continue to attend sessions.
Some couples may need therapy for a longer period of time in order to truly see improvements – some therapists will charge more if this happens but it’s worth investing in your future!
Don’t give up too soon – be sure to try at least three sessions before deciding if it’s worth continuing or not.
If by session three you still feel like the relationship isn’t improving, then it may be time to try something else or find another therapist.
What to do after sessions
In some cases, couples therapy can be a bit intense- so it’s important that you take time for yourself and spend quality time with your partner before the next session.
If you feel like this is too much to bear or that the relationship isn’t improving after three sessions, then it may be time for a break.
Again, couples therapy should always be about teamwork and at times one partner may need more help than the other – so don’t pressure yourself into continuing if your marriage still feels unstable!
What couples therapy isn’t
Couples therapy is meant to help marriages and relationships, not break them up! If you feel like your spouse is feeling pressured or that they are being controlled by the therapist then it’s time for a change – don’t allow anyone in this profession to manipulate you into doing something that doesn’t feel right.
Couples therapy is a way to heal relationships, not work out differences – if your partner refuses or withdraws during sessions then it may be time to find help elsewhere!
For some couples this might not the best option and individual therapy might be more appropriate for them as individuals.
The therapist should also be empathetic and understanding of what is going on in your marriage – they should never tell you to break up or put that pressure on you.
Couples therapy can be a helpful tool, but it’s not for everyone!
How long does couples therapy take
This varies by therapist – some may recommend weekly sessions while others may recommend bi-weekly or monthly.
It’s important to find a therapist who is willing to work with your schedule and one that you are comfortable with – the most successful couples therapy usually takes between three months and six months but remember, there isn’t any “standard” length of treatment!
Some therapists will also charge more for long-term sessions, so it’s important to ask these questions before you agree!