Couples are understandably quite anxious about coming to their first session of couples therapy, and unsure of what to expect.
In the initial session a couples therapist begins by cooling down or warming up the “temperature” of the couple’s relationship, depending upon what end of the spectrum the couples are relating on.
How Couples Therapy Can Help
The couples therapist then offers the couple a clear understanding of how therapy can help them to achieve their goal of relational healing and harmony, as well as practical strategies that they can implement immediately between the first and second session, which will offer them hope and confidence in the efficacy of therapy. This first session will likely include:
- Explaining why and how their problems developed which addresses their bewilderment and hopelessness;
- Explaining why despite their best efforts they are still “stuck” – the pattern is in control, not them;
- How to eliminate shame and blame from their dysfunctional relationship;
- Introducing and explaining the powerful strategy of weekly designated meetings to replace the “shooting from the hip” approach to solving their issues;
- Explaining the importance of “dating” – and why dates often end in disaster, as well as how to avoid these disasters;
- Declaring a temporary truce by taking a “holiday” from their problems, and trusting the therapy process to address their problems;
- Recommending literature that they can read together between sessions.
The Role of The Couples Therapist in the First Session
Usually by the time a couple comes to see a therapist they are feeling exhausted, bewildered and hopeless. Therefore, the role of the couples therapist in this first session is to reassure them that real change is possible. They need to feel confidence that the therapist knows what he/she is doing and that they can entrust their precious, vulnerable relationship into his/her hands.
Author: Matthew Ryan, B Psych (Hons), MA (Marriage & Family Therapy).
Matt Ryan is a senior psychologist with over 25 years of experience, and has seen great success in helping couples to enhance their relationship, and work through their problems and difficulties.
To book an appointment with Matthew Ryan call 1800 877 924 or book online today!