Before we delve into preparation, let’s take a look at what exactly couple counselling or therapy is. Couple Counselling is a type of psychotherapy that uses well-researched methods and techniques to help couples identify and resolve conflicts in their relationships. It may begin with joint and individual sessions with a trained couple counsellor focused on gauging the intensity, duration, frequency, and major source of conflict between the couple, and go on to focus on one concern at a time to resolve each underlying issue. 

Counselling, especially Couple Counseling can be a daunting experience for most. Since childhood we are taught to deal with our feelings and troubles in a private space, so to open up to a stranger, no matter how qualified, experienced, and well-trained they are, can be scary. However, part of being a well-functioning adult is to admit when you need help, especially if an important relationship is at stake. 

8 easy steps to prepare for a Couple Counselling Sessions:

1. Determine the purpose of seeking counseling as a couple

The most important aspect of preparing for couple counselling is to have a clear purpose in mind about what your expectations are. This purpose will be discussed at length during the sessions as well and will be refined to fit into well-defined goals with your therapist. 

One of the ways you can have a productive discussion with your partner about the purpose of seeking counselling is to make individual lists of expectations and then exchange the lists to gauge each other's perspectives. Having done that, you can have a well-informed discussion and pick elements from both your lists to come up with a combined set of expectations for therapy. 

2. Commit at least 4-6 months at the beginning itself

Therapy can be a long process in some cases, particularly in couple counselling as the professional takes both joint and individual sessions with the clients. In preparation for couple counselling, it is very important to have a realistic timeline in mind for your progress as a couple. Having an open discussion with your partner and therapist can help you estimate how long the process may take. 

On average, 4-6 months is the general duration of couple counselling, however depending on your concern and participation this duration may become longer, or even shorter. 

1. Communicate with your partner about choosing the right counsellor 

The right counsellor for you is the one that makes you and your partner feel like you are both being treated equally. They must be non-judgmental, open to feedback, and patient in the process of guiding you towards a healthier and more sustainable version of your relationship. 

It is common for one of the partners to take charge of going to couple therapy, in such cases it is particularly important to find a professional that makes you both feel heard and understood. 

2. Coordinate your individual calendars to make space for regular sessions

Your motivation to take therapy at the beginning is likely high, and it might seem easy to make time for it in the future as well. However, when faced with daily responsibilities and unexpected life conditions, the momentary motivation is likely to lapse. 

Therefore, for sustained progress and good preparation for couple counselling, you must together allocate time to therapy and stick to the schedule. Here, coordinating with your partner can be the olive branch you may need to start your journey toward a healthier relationship. 

3. Aim for utmost honesty during sessions

Most forms of therapy are based on eliciting emotions and putting up questions for clients that they may find difficult to answer. In such a scenario, it is easy to omit certain thoughts and feelings, or even lie about them to avoid awkwardness. 

However, for your journey of couple counselling to actually be fruitful, utmost honesty is key. By airing out all your deep emotions and thoughts, you can get to know yourself and your partner better. This will also allow your counsellor to help you in the most effective way. 

4. Don’t wait until things are at a breaking point between you and your partner 

Therapy is often treated as a last resort, before separation and divorce. Considering that couple therapy focuses on nurturing and strengthening the pre-existing bond between a couple if therapy is taken up when the bond is nearly gone, it can take away from the counselling process. 

It would be a lot more effective if counselling is taken up when you are starting to, or in the middle of having a lot of conflicts and arguments. This is a phase during which you are both still very attached, and usually just misunderstood. 

Therefore, if you and your partner are facing more and more fights, now is the time to take up counselling and rekindle your relationship. 

1. Take responsibility

 It is important to approach couple counselling with a willingness to take responsibility for your own behaviour and how it contributes to the relationship dynamic. Accept that both partners play a role in any relationship issues and be willing to acknowledge your own shortcomings. This self-awareness and accountability will help facilitate productive discussions during counselling sessions. It will allow you and your partner to see each other with more regard and respect. 

2. Keep an open mind

Remember that couple counselling is a collaborative process, and it may involve exploring uncomfortable or challenging topics. It is important to approach the sessions with an open mind and be receptive to new perspectives and insights. Be willing to listen to your partner's viewpoint and consider alternative approaches suggested by the counsellor. Embrace the opportunity for growth and change.

Couple counselling can be a rewarding and empowering experience for both partners. Preparing for these sessions requires honesty, open-mindedness, and accountability for oneself. An overall realization that positive change is within reach for your relationship can make the process both exciting and fulfilling. Keep in mind that relationship healing takes time and requires perseverance, so be kind and patient with yourselves throughout the online counselling process. Remember why you embarked on the counselling journey and hold onto the hope for growth and positive change in your relationship.

It is important to remember that couple therapy is a space for you to repair your relationship, and not to fix your partner.

Author's Bio: 

I am Radhika, I am a psychologist counselor at BetterLYF Wellness organization and today I would like to share some useful information. This article is related to those couples who are seeking couple counselling or relationship advice from an expert, read the article carefully and learn all the steps.