Couples Therapy 101: Wake Forest Couples: What to expect during your first couples therapy session?

Last Wednesday I had a privilege to attend a monthly meeting called “Functional Forum Cary” organized by a wonderful primary care physician Dr. Kiran Grewal. The meeting’s purpose is to bring together different health care practitioners, including physicians, psychotherapists, health coaches, acupuncturists, pharmacists, and so on, to discuss the development and application of functional medicine. And if you haven’t heard about functional medicine before, it is an approach that focused on treating the underlying causes of the disease instead of simply looking at the symptoms. It’a an a amazing approach that have helped me personally with an array of sever gastro intestinal issues several years ago.

As I was working around the room, talking to different practitioners about their practices and experiences, I met a new aspiring health coach. After discussing functional medicine and a health care field, in general, she asked me what exactly is couples counseling or therapy. “What do you do, exactly, and why people need to see you?”

That’s a great question that I get a lot.

People might know about the existence of couples counseling, but they have no idea what happened inside the session.

It’s a like a big mystery!

So I’ve decided to write a blog post on this topic, and to make things easier, focus on what to expect during your first couples counseling session. I’ve also made a video on this topic some time ago, so if you would rather watch a video that read a blog post, click here.

So, as always, I broke it down to three digestible points to make its easy to read and metabolize.

1: You can expect a lot of questions

The first couples therapy session helps the couple and the therapist to get to know each other, so I often tell my couples that it feels like a “popcorn” session- we will explore all kinds of things and it might feel we will be all over the place! It is expected, and it is normal, by the way. Some examples of my questions include:

“What was it like growing up in your family?”

How was conflict handled in your family?

What drew you to each other when you met?

If I was a fly on the wall during your most recent argument, what would I see?”

Do you feel safe with your partner?”

Do you have any concerns about anger expression for yourself or for your partner? What would you like to achieve through therapy?

In other words, you will probably be discussing your childhood, family dynamics, coping skills, and attachment style. Clients are always free to ask me any questions they have as well. I am very open and transparent in my approach, and I never judge.

2. Clients will probably talk more than the therapist

During the first couples therapy session, I often try to set a framework from the very beginning by saying something like this:” During the first session, I take a more passive role because I really want to give my clients an opportunity to tell their story in their own way. I might ask questions, or I might just listen. But I rarely interrupt.” This way clients do better because they know what to expect during the next 90 minutes of session.

3. You therapist will probably ask you something like this at the end of the couples session:”How was the session for you today?”

Again, it provides an opportunity for a client to voice their discomfort or concerns about the potential relationship with the therapist. And remember, it is important to be honest because good therapists will never get their feelings hurt by hearing your truth.

I hope this information helps you to better understand on what to expect during your first couples therapy session in Wake Forest, North Carolina. If you are still feeling stuck, feel free to call me at (703) 347-3200 for a free 15-minute phone consultation. I’d be happy to hear about what is happening and help direct you to the right person.

If you are looking for help with your relationships or marriage, you can read more about how I can help here. Please do not wait several years before you seek couples counseling. You deserve to be happy today!


Irina Baechle,LCSW is a founder, owner, and a licensed therapist at IrinaBaechleCounselingLLC. She specializes in helping distant couples and anxious singles build truly connected and meaningful relationships. She currently offers online and in-home counseling services to residents of Virginia and North Carolina (and most countries abroad). Click here to schedule your free 15 min consultation. Follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Youtube for useful tips and resources.

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