A significant number of couples have never been to therapy before, and may be apprehensive to try it out for the very first time. To prevent feeling overwhelmed at the thought of seeing a therapist, it can help to read about what to expect beforehand. A therapist has met with many first-time couples and is happy to answer any questions you have about the process. It is our job to help you achieve your relationship goals without feeling judged or blamed. It is important to us that you both feel comfortable and welcome during your therapy session.
The Goals and Objectives
The intention of therapy is to learn more about your partner, yourself, and patterns of how you interact with each other that could be improved upon. With help from a therapist, you can break through ineffective communication habits while learning how to talk in a more effective way. You may want to take some time before the first session to think about:
- What kind of life you want to have and build together
- The kind of person you want to be for yourself and your relationship
- What areas of your relationship feel blocked, stagnant, or need improvement
- What behaviors you do that could be contributing to issues in your relationship
You May Have to Focus More on Yourself
A therapist may encourage you to not only focus on what your partner should change, but also what you can do to grow as well. Therapy can be more successful if you focus on improving yourself instead of your partner, focus on letting go of certain assumptions you’ve made about your partner, and focus on what could be a better response to an issue. One of the toughest challenges may be that you have contributed to the problem at hand. If you find yourself caught up in what your partner is doing or saying wrong, guide yourself back to focusing on you.
Realize This Takes Time
Rarely does one therapy session fix it all. In fact, most couples who are truly struggling require many more than a single session. You will both have to invest time and patience into the process in order to reach a point in which things begin to change and flourish. Not only must you be flexible with allowing enough time for things to improve, but you have to take time to be together, talk, make plans, and enjoy each other’s company.
Willingness to Be Emotionally Open
If one or both of you have shut down and isn’t willing to participate in therapy, then chances are it isn’t going to work. Your therapist may encourage you to take emotional risks by being open, trying new things, listening attentively without interrupting, and sharing your feelings with vulnerability.
Couples who have never tried therapy before but think it may be time to dive in, can contact a clinic right away to speak with a therapist in Palatine, IL for more information.
Thanks to Lotus Wellness Center for their insight into couples counseling and what you need to know before you start.