WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN STARTING COUPLES COUNSELLING?
Updated: 6 days ago
Typically, the process of counselling is divided into 3 phases: • The Assessment Phase • The Working Phase • The Completion Phase Let’s explore the purpose of each phase together.
The Assessment Phase, or where we begin: The main goal of this phase is to get to know each other. The counsellor will ask you a lot of questions to get a sense of your unique history and the nature of your relationships, challenges, and strengths. Apart from the interview, you may be asked to complete some online questionnaires. By the end of this stage, the counsellor will discuss your expectations and set therapy goals.
TIP: It is very important to take an active role in any part of the counselling process – express your perspective, ask questions and articulate your needs. Feel free to ask the counsellor about their approach and simply ask any questions you may have. It is important to feel comfortable, secure, and supported throughout all stages of counselling.
The Working Phase: This phase is specifically tailored to meet the needs of each couple and their relationships. The purpose of this phase is to change dysfunctional patterns and develop a better level of understanding between the partners. This is a very hands-on phase with a lot of experiential work.
Typically, the process will include various activities and exercises that help improve communication skills; enable peaceful conflict resolution; create the sense of safety and deeper connection on different levels. By the end of this phase couples will often feel more secure in their relationships. This phase is the longest of the three and may last anywhere between 3 and 12 sessions.
Expect to practice new skills not only during the session, but also between sessions. The counsellor will encourage you to apply the skills you’ve learned and practice new behavioural strategies. This allows you to experience real change much faster.
The Completion Phase:
In this last phase of couples counselling, there is a chance to evaluate the outcomes and review the progress achieved over the course of the therapy. It is an important element of the overall process, allowing the couples to appreciate the work that was done by them and the way it changes the dynamics of their relationships going forward.
TIP: In some cases, it could be beneficial to plan one or several “check-in sessions” in a few months after the completion of the initial therapy. This could help prevent future crises and maintain achieved results.