What you can expect from your first couples counselling session.

Let’s say, you have decided to see me for couples counselling.  It hasn’t been easy.  You have been fighting constantly for months.  You are both at the end of your rope.  If something doesn’t change soon one of you will be out of here. Does this sound like your story?  Don’t worry, help has arrived.  You have made a good decision to seek help.

One thing is for sure; neither of you are getting fed emotionally by the other.  Your needs are not getting met, nor are you meeting your partner’s needs.  In the first session I will ask each of you to explain in your own way what has gone wrong.  Where does the source of your pain in this relationship lie?  I will then ask you both to share your deepest need in this relationship.  Next, I’ll ask for a few examples of how each partner can meet that particular need in terms of specific behaviours. After agreeing to meet each other’s needs in these ways I will ask you to talk about happier times in the relationship, or recall how you first met and how you decided “this is the one for me”.  With some goodwill being shared between you I will then ask if you can tell each other that you are committed to the process of repairing your relationship.  This is sometimes when a hug or a tender comment between you can be shared.  Depending on the flow of the session I will either start out asking or ask you near the end of session about  earlier experiences in your family of origins and other relationships.  This is where you can gain insights into your dynamics as a couple because what you experience in your early life and how you adapted to it is brought into your current relationships.

Lastly, I give you each a questionnaire to complete and bring back to me at the second session.  It asks for more details about your health and family background, your educational and occupational experience, your own assessment of the relationship problem, and your goals for therapy.  This is to be completed on your own and not shared with your partner so that you can be completely honest.  I hope this helps you know better what to expect when you come for your first session.  Let’s get started…

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