What to expect from relationship counseling.

by Chappell on October 4, 2010

All About Relationship Counseling

Congratulations!  You’ve decided to get relationship counseling.  If this is your first time seeing at therapist, you probably have some questions about what it will be like.

  • Feeling nervous or having doubts: It is perfectly normal to be nervous or even doubtful when entering therapy.  My advice: talk about it with your therapist!  This is a new kind of relationship.  Take a risk!  This is a great a great time to start building an honest and open relationship with your therapist.  Tell her or him exactly how you are feeling.  Expressing your doubts early on will help your therapist better understand what you are hoping to get out of your work together.  Talking about your feelings during your first session is great practice for expressing feelings that come up over the course of your work.
  • Is relationship counseling for me? This is a great question to ask during an initial phone or in-person consultation.  When my clients ask me this, I ask them about the problems that are bringing them to therapy and what they hope to get out of therapy.  Many times, unhappy or unhealthy relationships (past or present) are at the root of other problems in our lives.  Understanding our past relationships, or gaining tools to improve our current relationships, opens a gateway which allows us to live more consciously and fully.  Other times, there are issues that need to be dealt with before addressing relationships.  I recommend that individuals who have an active drug or alcohol addiction, or who are actively suicidal seek treatment for those issues prior to starting relationship counseling.
  • How long will I need therapy? Unfortunately, no therapist will be able to answer this question for you.  It depends on what you are hoping to get out of therapy.  Sometimes when individuals and families come to therapy to work on a specific problem, other issues arise.  When this happens, you may choose to go deeper into these, or to stay focused on the issue that first brought you to counseling.  If you have a specific time frame in mind by which you need or want to complete your therapy, don’t keep it a secret!  Communicating with your therapist will help him or her plan your work together and make sure there is adequate time for closure.   Saying goodbye is a BIG issue in relationships and may bring up powerful material.  Don’t let your old patterns take over.   Other times, there is not a clear ending point for therapy.  Many people use therapy on and off throughout their lives and others find long term work with a therapist essential to leading the life they want.
  • Money concerns: Hopefully you have already spoken with your therapist about their fee either over the phone or in an initial consultation.  If not, you should ask your therapist what they charge and decide if this rate will work for you.  Some therapists offer a sliding scale or can refer you to someone who does.  Once you’ve agreed on a fee, most therapists take cash or check payment at the time of your appointment–either at the start or the end of your session together.  If you are paying on-line through pay pal, most therapists ask that you pay before arriving to a session.    Don’t let concerns about money complicate your relationship with your therapist.  If something is coming up for you around money, talk about it with your therapist.  Your relationship with money may provide valuable insights about your relationships with people.
  • How often: How often you come in for therapy will depend on several things: your schedule and availability, your ability to continue to grow and work between sessions, your motivation to make changes in your life and in your relationships, and your financial situation.  I recommend starting out with weekly therapy.  This will give you and your therapist a chance to establish a relationship and get some momentum started for change.  As time goes on, you may decide that you can move your appointments to every other week.
  • What other questions do you have about starting therapy?  Please let me know.  I’ll answer your questions as best I can.

Boulder Valley Counseling | Chappell Marmon, LCSW | 1120 Alpine Ave Ste. E|
Boulder, CO 80304 | 303-437-4158

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