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Couple Cunselling FAQs

1. How long does a counselling session last?
Like individual counselling and therapy, couple sessions last 1 hour. The usual frequency of sessions is weekly, but it is not very unusual to have fortnightly sessions. Frequently as counselling progresses and there are good signs of progress, the frequency of sessions can be reduced.

2. How many sessions will we need?
It is not possible to predict a number of sessions. In very general terms, the average is 6 to 10 sessions. However it is usually true to say that the longer the problems have existed, the longer it usually takes to reach a satisfactory outcome.

3. I feel that we need help with our relationship but my partner refuses to come and says that we ought to be able to work things out ourselves. I don’t think we can. Is there any point in me coming to counselling on my own?
This situation often occurs. Maybe you have tried a few times to convince your partner that you both need help. It may be that your partner does not know or does not fully understand what to expect from couple counselling. Perhaps he / she expect that they will be blamed for the situation or does not trust the confidentiality of the counselling.

Very often, especially if there is a history of poor communication, you may need to reconsider the way you approach the question. Avoid a blaming attitude. You are more likely to get a positive answer if you say something like:
“I feel very unhappy because we seem to be so distant from each other and we seem to be fighting so much. Please don’t think I am blaming you. I know we are both to blame. I love you deeply but we don’t seem to be able to find the happiness we once had. I think we need professional help so that we can both be happier”

Then give your partner time to consider.

If he / she still refuses you could still receive benefit from individual counselling. When one partner makes positive changes to his / her own ways of relating, then the whole dynamic of the relationship changes. Counselling can help you to look at ways to change and improve your own communication patterns and how to bring those changes into your relationship. Doing this usually has a positive effect and you may find that your partner will adopt a more positive attitude and could eventually bring him / her to decide that counselling would be helpful.

4. Neither I nor my partner have ever been to counselling before and are very nervous about it. What should we expect?
The initial session will be devoted to a gentle exploration of the problem(s) from the individual perspectives of both partners. We will discuss your expectations and what you hope to achieve. We will also discuss goals and formulate a strategy for reaching those goals. Sometimes it will take more than one session to achieve this but please remember that ultimate success often depends upon a clear definition of the problem(s) and a clear and agreed strategy for achieving desired goals. Relationship counselling is not about apportioning blame although sometimes there is a need to discuss past behaviour with a view to healing hurt and what needs to change for the future.

At the initial session I will also answer any questions you may have about the counselling process or about your particular situation.

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