concerned African-American couple speaking to therapist

How To Prepare For Couples Therapy

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The choice to go to couples therapy often isn’t something that is approached lightly for either person involved. The choice to better the health of your relationship takes time and dedication. Preparing for this stage in your relationship isn’t complex, but it does require effort, flexibility, and a mutual dedication toward improving your bond and communication. Let’s review some of the best ways to prepare for couples therapy so you can enter the process feeling confident about what is to come.

Discuss your expectations beforehand

This is perhaps one of the most important preparatory tasks for couples entering joint therapy. What are you looking to get out of the experience, both as a pair and individually? Taking time to sit down and go through these expectations can help you organize your thoughts and relay this to your therapist from the beginning, which provides an efficient preliminary roadmap toward the goals you’re constructing.

Discussing these expectations may also include expressing your fears about the process ahead. It is common to feel anxious about joining therapy together, especially if your relationship has been fraught with arguments with no resolution in sight. The prospect of honesty can be daunting for some, but it is important to remember that it is okay to be nervous. In fact, you may find during this conversation that your partner shares some of the same fears as you. An open dialogue before and during therapy is an incredible way to strengthen your bond and stay well-informed about which parts of your relationship require the most insight.

Find a schedule that works for both of you

Couples therapy requires both parties to be present during the appointment. Unless you both are able to make uninterrupted time for your sessions together, it can be impossible to move forward. Ideally, you should pick a day where you usually do not have many tasks ahead of you so you can fully focus on your session. This schedule should work for the both of you – if you feel as if your partner is pushing you into a session time that feels like too much of a sacrifice from your work or personal schedule, it can definitely interfere with the overall therapy experience.

Be open-minded

Don’t be closed off to potential therapy techniques or to the therapy experience in general. It is not uncommon to approach your sessions feeling a little guarded. Honesty and communication does not always come easy for some, but to adequately prepare for your sessions, you should be open to sharing your thoughts while also making room to receive your partner’s thoughts and feelings.

This open-minded approach will also include being ready to get vulnerable and share deep-rooted issues and feelings from your past that are affecting your current relationship.

Fill out paperwork prior to the appointment

Common therapy paperwork includes filling out insurance and financial information, along with your individual medical history. You may also be required to disclose part of your relationship history as well so your therapist can gain a better understanding of your prior issues and concerns.

Paperwork for therapy can also include a questionnaire items concerning your goals, your general feelings of happiness or sadness, your sex life, your relationship with drugs or alcohol, and other personal items. These intake forms are designed to allow your therapist to provide efficient and thorough care for you as an individual and for couples as a partnership.

Choose a therapist that fits your goals

You should always perform adequate research before settling on a therapist you feel you can trust. Think about what you’d like to achieve out of therapy. Are you looking for confirmation whether you should stay or leave the relationship? Do you need help with communication? Are you looking for ways to restore your relationship now that your children are out of the house? All of these things matter when choosing a therapist. 

Cristeta Rillera offers free consultations to new patients to help you determine if you have found the right therapist for your individual and collective concerns. If you’re looking to take the next step, give Cristeta a call at (530) 302-6097 or fill out the contact form for a swift response.

person sitting during therapy session
Cristeta Rillera, LMFT


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