It is completely normal to have different questions about couples and marriage counseling. Here are a few frequently asked questions about couples counseling.
I’ve never been to counseling. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?
No. Talking about problems and being open to feedback is actually a strength. It is really hard to open up and share your feelings. People that go to therapy are strong.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
Talking to friends and family can be a great support. Counseling can also be a great support as well. Counseling involves working with a neutral, objective 3rd party. I will not “take sides”. I have no biases towards either partner. I am professionally licensed, and I have been working with couples in counseling for over 9 years. Everything that you talk about in counseling is confidential. (The only exception to confidentiality is if there are suspicions of child abuse, elder abuse, if you have a plan to hurt yourself or a plan to hurt someone else. In those instances, I would need to get you appropriate help.)
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
It’s fairly straightforward. I ask you questions, you answer, I listen. I may respectfully challenge you. I may offer a different perspective that you may not have seen before. I may offer your partner a different perspective. You do not have to worry about coming up with a “topic”, unless of course, there is something that you specifically want to address. I will be the guide. If there is anything that you do not want to talk about in counseling, you can just let me know. I am always open to feedback. I want you to feel comfortable, and I respect your privacy. Read more information here.
How long will it take?
It depends. Sometimes, I see a couple for 3 sessions. Sometimes, I see them for 20 sessions. It depends on what the problems are, how willing you and your partner are to change, and how much you apply what you learn in counseling to home life. And of course, life happens. Schedules change, work is inevitable. So sometimes, the sessions can be stretched out over a longer period of time.
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
Be as honest as you can in counseling. Take it seriously. Be open to feedback. Apply the changes we talk about to your home life and relationship.
My partner and I are having problems. Should we be in individual counseling or come together?
It depends on what you want to work on. In couples counseling, I always go back to the question, “How does this affect the relationship?”.
In individual counseling, I ask the question, “How does this affect you?”.
Can’t find your question?
Check out my blog for additional information.