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What happens in couple counselling?

Are you thinking of attending couple counselling, but not quite sure what to expect? Many clients attend their first session feeling quite nervous and the first thing we say is – you don’t have to be! Couple counselling is a safe place for you to practice with your partner how to communicate together over difficult issues – a form of modelling for what you will end up doing when you leave.


In the first session for couple counselling, you can attend alone or together. Some couples prefer to have the opportunity to speak one-on-one with the therapist to explain fully their concerns, or their past history without the other partner being there. Some couples prefer to start together and share everything. It’s entirely your choice.


What is the role of the couple counsellor? - The couple counsellor will never take sides – they do not decide who is right/wrong, they will not gang up on you or make you feel like you’re the problem. The only exception would be any behaviours of abuse or violence, where we have a duty to address these for what they are.


A great couple counsellor knows that their number one focus is on the good of the relationship between the both of you. They are there to support what works for the relationship, and will ask both people (or more), to do what’s in the best interests of the relationship, not themselves.


In the first session we usually start by exploring any ground rules you need to feel safe in the counselling sessions – like no talking over each other, or no talking about the sessions for hours after, or listening to each other fairly. We then explore your relationship history – and through that history we often find where things went wrong, why things changed, and identify some great strengths and attributes. We will discuss the difficulties as they come up through the course of your relationship history.


The next step is for the counsellor to explore the goals for counselling. At Love Therapy Australia we like to support you to work toward goals, like to improve communication, strengthen conflict resolution or increase connection. These goals help us form the focus of counselling sessions and provide practical anchors for skill development and the application of couple counselling techniques and frameworks.


We always like to have you leaving your first couple counselling session on a positive note – so we close out with your strengths as a couple. The research has shown us that investing in strengths and positive qualities within our relationship, alongside addressing difficulties – is the best path to positive change.


Then we book in your next session or a few sessions in to ensure you get the best time for you both – and you go forward to enjoy the rest of your night thinking ‘that was actually really good I feel relieved now’! In your next sessions we explore your goals in greater detail and the therapist will provide you with resources, tools and evidence based techniques to support you to achieve your goals. We do ask that any children are somewhere where they can't listen in, but yes pets are welcome!

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