By: Shannon M. Brady, M.S. Therapist
Meeting the Marriage Counseling Therapist
Whether a therapist is going to a home or seeing a client at their office, there are similar things that will occur in the first marriage counseling session. When a therapist is meeting clients for the first time, they should introduce themselves and give you all of the contact information for the therapist. The therapist will also have the client introduce themselves and talk about what brought them to counseling and make sure that the therapist has accurate contact information, as well.
Making the decision to participate in marriage counseling can be difficult but it can also be an opportunity to work through barriers within the relationship and to learn about yourself, your partner and who you are as a couple. Knowing what to expect during the first marriage counseling session can help you enter the session, whether it's in your own home or in our office, with an open mind and can help you feel at ease and ready to begin the work of couples therapy.
Preparing for Marriage Counseling
Couples come to marriage counseling in different phases of a relationship and of life. Some couples may have been together a short time while others have been married for twenty years, or more. The stage of the relationship may affect the course of counseling and what you want to accomplish. The therapist will help decide what areas of conflict or disconnect to focus on. Having patience with your relationship and realistic expectations about counseling can help to make the experience fulfilling and prevent becoming frustrated with the process.
You will want to prepare yourself for some basic questions but also some very personal questions. It may feel uncomfortable and that is because the therapist is new to you and because facing issues is not fun and it’s even less fun when dealing with issues between you and another person. Things might come up you never knew about the other person, or you might let something slip out of your own mouth that you didn't even know you thought.
Assessing the Relationship
The therapist will usually want the clients to share their story and give an overall background of their experiences, in their lives. The initial appointment focuses on learning about who you are as individuals and also as a couple and this can be considered the assessment phase of marriage counseling. The therapist may ask multiple questions to make sure that they understand what the client is explaining. The therapist may want to set individual appointments with each person or ask to speak to each person separately. This will depend on the therapist.
Often a therapist will take notes. This is just for the therapist to remember details from the session so that the therapist may continue to assess and further decide on treatment. The therapist may also observe how you interact and communicate because it provides information and dynamics about the relationship.
Different counselors or therapists are going to approach your situation in different ways, and your situation is going to play a role in how that's handled. You're not going to find a definitive guidebook for what you can expect, but if you prepare yourself for a lot of different scenarios, you'll probably get more out of the experience.
If you and your spouse are ready to talk to a therapist, contact Crosswinds today. We will work with your family to build a stronger relationship through Christ.