Frequently Asked Questions About Couples Therapy

Frequently Asked Questions About Couples Therapy

Couples counseling is a wonderful resource to help couples identify sources of conflict, learn healthy communication, and learn tools to help them meet their relationship goals. Many couples think about or discuss couples counseling but struggle to know if they are an appropriate candidate for couples therapy. Some of the common questions people ask when deciding if they should attend counseling are: “are things bad enough yet?”, “will this work for us?”, “does this mean we shouldn’t be together?”, and “where do we even start with finding someone to see?”.

When is the best time to begin couples counseling?

There isn’t a perfect time to begin couples counseling, but there are some factors that are helpful to consider. Many couples wait until they are discussing divorce or fighting constantly to come to counseling. However, it is recommended that in the beginning stages of conflict, miscommunications, and decreased intimacy that you begin the counseling process as a couple. Couples often find that the counseling process is less stressful when they seek it early within conflict. Although seeking counseling earlier is recommended, it is never too late to begin the couples counseling process. Even if you and your partner have had conflict for years, it can still be beneficial. It is never too late to seek the help of a therapist to reach your relationship goals.

How long does couples counseling take?

There is no specific timeline for couples counseling. There are a significant number of factors to consider when discussing length of time needed to reach goals within the couples counseling process. Some couples find that they are able to reach though goals within a few months. Other couples find themselves in longer term therapy. Length of therapy is not a determining factor in relationship success.

Is there anything couples can do to increase effectiveness of therapy?

Although length of time in therapy is not a determining factor in therapy success, there are some other factors that help improve outcomes. The first is openness. When both partners are open to the process and open to making changes, it increases success of treatment. Resistance on the part of one or both partners can be a barrier to treatment and increase the length of time needed in treatment. Another important factor is accountability. It is often a misconception that if you are just attending sessions, progress will be made. However, with any therapy, the work you do outside of your therapy sessions is just as important as the work you are doing with your therapist. It is essential to meeting treatment goals that both partners be able to hold themselves accountable to working on the relationship between sessions. And lastly is honesty. Honesty is necessary for couples to reach treatment goals. Without honesty, most couples find it incredibly hard to make progress in treatment.

Is it hard to find a therapist that will see couples?

Picking a therapist can be overwhelming. A good starting point if you are in individual therapy is to ask your therapist if they have any recommendations. Often times your therapist can recommend someone to you that might be a good fit. Picking a therapist for couples therapy can be complicated because it has to be someone who both you and your partner are comfortable with. It might take time to find the right fit. If after 1-3 sessions you and your partner do not feel like the therapist is the right fit, it is appropriate to let that therapist know and see if they can help guide you to finding a better fit. It is normal to not feel like you have found the right therapist with the first person you see. It is encouraged that you voice any concerns to your therapist so they can better work to meet your needs.

If you have any question, please reach out to me. I would be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.