The first session is spent learning more about each individual person and your relationship as a couple. Ideally, I would prefer each couple to come into the first session together if possible, if for some reason that is not possible, understand that my ethical responsibility is to ensure that my approach to the couple as a unit is unbias.
If I meet with one person initially, I will also meet with the other person individually for the same amount of sessions that I gave the other person in the couple unit. My minimum sessions that I will meet with couples individually is 3 sessions before I will require that the other person start joining to sessions.
If your partner is unwilling to go, go yourself because it is possible to change relationships with only one person in therapy. Many relationship problems are about changing dysfunctional patterns in a relationship that creates stuck points to problem solving. Couples therapy creates a safe and neutral space for you and your partner to explore your relationship. Having a third party who is objective can help you say things to your spouse that you could not do just on your own.
We know wondering what to expect from marriage counseling on your own can be daunting. Couples come into therapy for many reasons, some include better communication skills with their partners, parenting skills and even to decide whether the relationship is in a place where it can get better or if it is better to dissolve it.
My goal as a couples' therapist is to help you and your spouse/partner to discover what it is you both ultimately want as a couple. As a therapist associate with Life Practice is a " no secrets policy." Essentially, this means that “no secrets” policy is intended to allow me to continue to treat the couple or family by preventing, to the extent possible, a conflict of interest to arise where an individual’s interests may not be consistent with the interests of the unit being treated.
For instance, information learned in the course of an individual session may be relevant or even essential to the proper treatment of the couple or the family. If I am not free to exercise my clinical judgment regarding the need to bring this information to the family or the couple during their therapy, I might be placed in a situation where I will have to terminate the treatment of the couple or the family.
This policy is intended to prevent the need for such a termination. I encourage each client that is having a difficult time with this policy to obtain an individual therapist as well to address the issue that they are having a difficult time sharing in the sessions as a couple. I look forward to working with you as a couple to help you both reach your goals together.