According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, there’s been a fifty-fold increase in qualified family and couples counselors since the 1970s.
More in-depth research, greater professional legitimacy, and less discrimination for couples seeking treatment have contributed to the field’s growth. Recent record-low divorce rates indicate that more people than ever before are accessing couples therapist services.
Whether you’re married or cohabitating, the issues faced and the need for help is often similar. As you and your partner start down the relationship therapy path, you will discover things about each other that will help you create positive change in your relationship.
Prepare yourselves for the challenging yet ultimately rewarding journey ahead. Review some of the questions you can expect from a couples therapy session.
1. Why Did You Choose to Undertake Couples Therapy?
In most cases, attending couples therapy requires the consent and agreement of both individuals in a relationship. However, each person may have their own reasons for agreeing to go to counseling.
Most people book a couples counseling meeting for the following reasons:
- Managing nontraditional partnerships
- Sexual problems
- Concerns over social media or digital technology use
- Unfaithfulness and trust issues
- Premarital therapy
- Family counseling (such as blended families)
A therapist will typically ask each of you to discuss these reasons because it highlights key issues you face in the partnership and your desire to stay in the relationship. If you didn’t want to go to couples therapy or feel forced into attending, it’s unlikely you see value in maintaining the relationship.
2. Do You Trust Your Partner?
While love, romance, laughter, and respect are all advantageous attributes in a relationship, the crucial factor for success is whether or not two people can trust each other. Trust may be eroded due to infidelity, addiction, dishonesty, unrealistic expectations, or other less logical causes.
Whatever the reason, the best couples therapist will ask you this particular question to establish whether this is an area that needs to be worked on.
Repairing a relationship damaged by a lack of trust takes considerable time. Displaying a desire to re-establish trust is an excellent first step, but your counselor will need to dig deep into the dynamics of your partnership. Be prepared for challenging questions and strategies designed to help you and your partner rebuild some common ground.
A loss of trust is cited as one of the core drivers of marriage breakup. Your therapist likely has a lot of experience dealing with this issue.
3. How Happy Do You Feel in this Relationship?
It’s not rocket science to work out that most people want to live a joyful life. One 2020 study of people from 42 countries showed that almost 70 percent of respondents rated happiness as “extremely important.”
But what does being happy mean in the context of a relationship? According to the same report, it meant everything from stability, pleasantness, and safety to material wealth, comfort, and psychological well-being. Happiness, it seems, is subjective, so the answers to this typical therapy question tend to vary wildly from person to person.
Your therapist will explore your respective levels of happiness in your partnership to determine your reasons for wanting to stay together. Are you codependent–relying on one another in an unhealthy way? Perhaps you remain together simply because you’re too scared to leave the comfort of something familiar.
But in the best cases, a couple may rekindle that ember of happiness they felt when they first got together and explore ways to help it burn bright once again.
4. Where Do You See Your Relationship In the Future?
It’s essential to understand whether you see eye to eye on your future or if you see any future at all. Even if your goals align, you must want to achieve those aims in tandem. A couples counselor will help you recognize your position and create strategies to work towards your desired future.
Your therapist might also ask you to use a weather metaphor to describe your relationship, something like “What is your forecast for the future?” Do you see your relationship as a sunny day or a cloudy one? Or is there a tornado on the way?
These kinds of questions couch a serious subject within a more approachable one. Your answers will allow your counselor to predict the extent of the damage inflicted on your partnership and how easily you see it repaired. As with the weather, there’s always the chance of sunshine as each new day dawns.
5. What Do You Wish Your Partner Did More?
A lack of communication is cited as one of the leading causes of conflict in couples. Often this lack of communication is exacerbated by one or both members of a couple not feeling satisfied with the other’s level of participation.
Often what people think of is “nagging,” neediness or anger is a way, albeit ineffective, of an attempt to communicate those wishes. Your therapist will ask key relationship questions to help you to express your desires in a non-judgemental, safe space. And your partner is far less likely to put up barriers or respond habitually.
6. Are Your Expectations for Intimacy Being Satisfied?
Relationship issues are sometimes the result of a mismatch in each partner’s levels or type of intimacy. Does your partner always say no when you ask for sex? Do the experiences that turn them on something you find unappealing?
Both people in a relationship are entitled to satisfaction, both romantically and sexually. Sexual incompatibility can lead to frustration, arguments, and tension, whereas an in-sync sex life is emotionally satisfying and has numerous health benefits.
Your therapist will explore reasons for any mismatch. They will give you and your partner the chance to discuss your feelings to harmonize your sex life.
Choosing a Couples Therapist For Your Situation
An experienced couples therapist can help you and your partner redefine your reasons for being together. It’s a valuable option for couples with a wide range of issues: from recovering from cheating to building better communication strategies and everything in-between. Finding a clinic you can count on is the first step to regaining that lost trust and love.
Are you Googling “couples therapist near me” due to relationship hardship? Contact Willow Oak Therapy today to discuss whether a session is the right step for you and your partner.