By: Janet Franklin
Not Scientifically Reviewed by Dr. Eeks
If you and your partner are struggling to connect or are experiencing difficulties in your relationship, you may have thought about attending couples therapy. While this can be a great choice, it’s one that you may be hesitant to make.
Before you consider signing up, it’s wise to ask yourself some questions first. This will ensure that both of you are ready for this type of vulnerable conversation.
Want to learn more? Below we are going to take a look at just eight things you should answer before attending your first session.
Does my partner know about this?
Couples therapy requires the participation of two people. If your partner is unwilling to attend or communicate, it will be challenging to achieve your goals.
Be sure to talk to them about their thoughts on attending therapy and if they believe it will be a good idea. Never book an appointment without their confirmation first, as this can result in further conflict.
If you’re both ready, start searching for qualified professionals. These Edmonton therapists are a great place to begin.
What are my expectations?
If you’re considering therapy, you may have certain expectations of what will happen after. Remember, that while it can be a great step in resolving issues, it is not going to be a magic fix.
Know what you are hoping to achieve and talk to your partner about their goals too. It will make the process go much more smoothly, and you’ll be able to celebrate your achievements together.
Are these expectations realistic?
When thinking of your set expectations, one of the most critical steps is to understand if they are realistic. One session isn’t going to solve your problems and it’s normal to experience some setbacks along the way.
Be prepared to work hard and note that it will take some time. It will be a challenging journey, but the ending can be worth it if you stay committed.
Am I willing to be honest?
Any type of therapy requires two things – honesty and vulnerability. So, be willing to share your feelings with both your partner and your therapist.
It’s not always easy to be completely open with our emotions, but it will help you have the best outcome. On top of this, you can rest assured knowing that what you share will be kept confidential.
What issues need to be addressed?
Alongside your expectations, be sure to take some time to identify the specific issues that are making you attend therapy in the first place. Consider what’s causing conflict in your relationship and what problems arise daily.
Narrowing down the main issues will help open up paths for communication. These can be problems you feel alone, or shared concerns you have together.
A few of the most common reasons for couples therapy include:
- Communication issues.
- Lack of trust.
- Difficult life changes.
- Loss of spark/passion.
- Lifestyle differences.
Do I feel comfortable with my therapist?
Once you are ready to make the big step, spend some time finding the right couples therapist. If you and your partner feel uncomfortable or unable to express your feelings, it may be a challenge to make progress.
Don’t be afraid to speak up or consider changing therapists if you don’t think the sessions are working. It could just be that you need to see someone different.
Will I take responsibility?
It’s easy to pass blame when you’re hurting emotionally, but that won’t help bring you back together. A big part of any type of therapy is taking responsibility for your actions.
Step back and look at your role in the relationship. Are there things you could be doing differently? Do you agree with what your partner is saying? Acknowledge your actions and think of what it would be like in their shoes. Of course, you should expect the same in return.
Have I given therapy enough time?
As we previously mentioned, you can’t expect a fix to your problems overnight. So, it’s best to attend a few different appointments before you decide to call it quits.
Be patient and aim to work towards the goals that you both previously set. There will be some bumps along the way, but many have seen great successes by sticking it out till the end.
As you can see, couples therapy can be a great option for working through issues in your relationship. But it’s not an easy journey!
Before you get started, it’s important to ask yourself the right questions. From here, you’ll be able to ensure that you get the most benefit out of each session.