When you meet your first couples counselor, it can be an intense experience. You’ll probably be nervous to begin with, and you won’t know what to expect. How will this person react to us as a couple? Will they judge us or our relationship? Even if you think you’re doing everything right in your relationship, seeing a couples counselor can be daunting – they’re like an authority figure who knows more about relationships than we do! We know how important it is to find the right couples counselor. The success of couples therapy hinges on trust and creating a safe environment. If you have that initial meeting and don’t feel comfortable, it might not be the best fit for you as a couple.
You have the same goals as your couples counselor
If you and your partner can’t agree on the goals of couples therapy, it’s unlikely the therapy will be successful. A good couples counselor will help you and your partner talk through your expectations for couples therapy. You should have the same goals for couples therapy, like wanting to learn communication skills or improve intimacy in your relationship.
Couples can sometimes come in with different expectations, like one person wanting to talk through an affair and the other wanting to move past a breach of trust. When there are different expectations, it can be easy to get frustrated and not know where to go with the sessions.
A couples counselor will be able to help you talk through your goals and come to a consensus. Even if you’re both on the same page, a good couples counselor will help you come up with a plan to make those goals a reality. They should be able to help you talk through how you can come up with a plan to reach those goals.
Your couples counselor helps you feel safe and supported
A good couples counselor will help you and your partner feel safe and supported during couples therapy sessions. They should be able to help you and your partner come up with a safe word or gesture to let them know if the session is becoming too hard to handle. A good couples counselor will also be able to help you and your partner express your emotions and communicate in a safe environment.
The couples counselor can also help you talk through things that might be triggering for you or your partner. Maybe one of you was abused in the past and being triggered by something your partner says is making you shut down. Your counselor will be able to help you and your partner talk through those feelings and learn to re-establish trust. This can be the difference between a couple that breaks up and one that grows stronger.
Your counselor is empathetic to your struggles
A good couples counselor will be able to walk that line between being empathetic to your struggles and not being overly emotional themselves. They’ll be able to help you and your partner talk through your struggles and come up with creative solutions.
Some couples counselors are very good at helping you look at the big picture, while staying focused on you and your partner at the same time. They might be able to help you talk through the long-term impact of your struggles, like how they might be impacting your child or your career.
Your therapist believes in repair
A good couples counselor will believe in the power of repair. They’ll believe that almost every relationship can be repaired and every couple can have a happier future together. They’ll believe that your relationship has great potential and that you can make good on that potential together. If your couples counselor doesn’t believe in repair, they might be too focused on the past and getting you to talk through your past relationship issues.
Couples counseling isn’t only about getting you to talk through your past relationship issues – it’s also about making a better future for your relationship. Good couples counselors will look forward and be able to help you and your partner make a better future for your relationship. They’ll be able to help you move past your relationship struggles and start building a stronger relationship.
Your therapist listens and doesn’t judge
A good couples counselor will listen to you and not judge you or your relationship. They’ll believe in you and your ability to make good choices. They’ll be able to help you and your partner come up with solutions to the struggles you’re experiencing and may outline the steps you need to take to make positive changes in your relationship.
If your couples counselor is quick to judge you or your relationship, it might not be the best fit for you. A good couples counselor will be able to help you and your partner separate your struggles from your identities. They’re not there to judge you as a person, they’re there to help you repair your relationship.
Your counselor has a plan for your counseling sessions
A good couples counselor will have the skills and experience to help you and your partner. They’ll be able to help you discover the source of your struggles and come up with a plan to repair your relationship.
Having a plan in mind doesn’t mean that your counselor hijacks your session with their agenda. It’s important to address the here and now. The plan should be “loose” and your immediate struggles should take precedence.
Your therapist has tools to offer
A good couples counselor will be able to help you and your partner by offering tools to make your relationship better. Communication tools are an important place to start. These can be used in session and at home and they should feel relevant to what you’re going through with your partner.
A good couples counselor will be able to help you and your partner make positive change in your relationship. They’ll be able to help you identify the struggles you’re experiencing, and come up with solutions for improving your relationship. Your couples counselor is a key part of your couples therapy experience. The success of your therapy depends on finding the right couples counselor for you and your partner. When you meet with your couples counselor for the first time, make sure to pay attention to how you feel during the session. Do you feel relaxed? Are you able to talk through your struggles without feeling like you’re being judged? A good couples counselor will help you relax, communicate effectively, and come up with a plan to repair your relationship.