Congratulations to you and your partner for seeking out couples therapy to get through an impasse or work through a problem to take your relationship to the next level. Once you have selected a therapist who is right for you, you will start your sessions. But how does couples therapy work? Here are a few things you can expect.
Couples Therapy is a Process
For couples therapy to be effective, both parties have to want to be active, engaged, and honest participants. That’s because couples therapy is a process, not a series of isolated sessions. Don’t expect a free for all with finger-pointing and “he said/she said.” Rather, couples therapy is most effective when it is used to to identify problems, then working through these problems without conflict to develop solutions and methodologies to reach your goals.
Change isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, when guided by a trained professional, change can result in growth, awareness, and an opportunity to re-evaluate feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. Your therapist will not only serve as a counselor but also as a facilitator so both parties can express their perspectives in a judgment-free, safe environment, where growth is both nurtured and encouraged.
Throughout your sessions, you should expect to explore communication styles, feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that are impacting your relationship. And don’t expect the work to stop once the session is over. Your therapist may ask you to keep a journal, practice behaviors at home or try new ways of approaching a scenario.
Expect a Unique Experience
Before engaging in couples therapy, you may seek advice from a friend or scan the web for a how-to of what to expect. Remember, couples counseling is anything but one-size-fits-all. Each couple is unique as a union, as well as the individuals that comprise it. Your therapist may recommend individual sessions, joint sessions – or both; whatever is best for you. No matter the type of relationship you’re in – whether heterosexual or alternative sexuality communities; or whatever lifestyle you choose to practice, you should feel comfortable and accepted in your space and with your counseling professional.
It May Get Awkward
Discussing sexuality and intimacy, dysfunction, lifestyle preferences, and fidelity can be awkward and uncomfortable. Still, you should be prepared to incorporate these or any other relevant topics into the conversation. As you and your partner feel more comfortable opening up about topics that are impacting your relationship, your therapist will be better able to gauge the success of your personalized, results-oriented therapy plan.
Couples Therapy in Montclair
Advanced Psychology Partners in Montclair, NJ, provides individualized, discreet and results-oriented counseling and therapy for individuals and couples. Our expert team of Donna Lobiondo, MDiv, Ph.D. and Eric Larsen, MA, LPC ensures patients get the specialized counseling they need in a judgment-free, safe space. To schedule an appointment with Donna or Eric, use our online form, or call us at (973) 534-5333. Not sure what to expect? Please inquire about our FREE 10-minute phone consultation to see if our services are right for you.