Many couples come to therapy feeling unsure about the process. I often hear about how the unknowns can feel overwhelming. Will couples therapy be helpful? Does it actually work? Will you know how to help us? How long does it take to see changes? Although every couples therapist has a unique style, I have laid out common practice of couples therapy to answer some of these questions.
–Initial consultation: This is a time to talk with your therapist and make sure it’s a good fit. You will talk about the challenges you are facing, therapist fees, and what you can expect from the process.
–Beginning sessions: In the first few sessions you can expect to review your history as a couple including how you met and how long you have been together. This is also a time to go into detail about what isn’t working and what you would like to change.
The middle phase of couples therapy is when you will begin to practice communication techniques that prevent you from repeating old conflictual patterns. This is a time when I use the Polyvagal Theory to help couples have a better understanding of their unique nervous systems. When we know why and when our bodies are thrown into a survival response, we are able to change our behavior instead of being controlled by our feelings.
There is an end in sight! You can expect to approach the ending phase of couples therapy when your communication improves, your connection feels stronger, and you and your partner are no longer repeating negative patterns. During this phase you may attend therapy less frequently as you practice and implement everything you have learned in between sessions.