January 21, 2018

What to Expect in Couple Therapy

Before meeting in person, we’ll have a brief discussion by phone about your main concerns and to make sure my approach is right for you. We’ll also talk about the details of scheduling, fees and any other questions you have about the process. I’ll begin by meeting with you as a couple. Here are some of the questions and tasks that will likely come up in the first meeting.

  • How do you see your relationship?
  • How do you deal with conflict and what do your arguments look like?
  • Are you able to be affectionate and emotionally supportive of each other?
  • If things are especially tense now, when were they easier?
  • What do you still like about your relationship?
  • I’ll ask a number of “what happens then?” questions in order to identify the basic pattern you get caught in during conflict.
  • We’ll also agree on goals you have for the therapy and how we’ll achieve them.
  • I’ll ask you to complete a scale to measure relationship satisfaction (Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale). It helps us measure satisfaction at the beginning and progress over the course of therapy. Please download it here: Marital Satisfaction Inventory.  You and your partner should complete it separately and bring it to the first appointment download it here.
  • I’ll ask you to review and sign my Office Policies and Privacy Practices agreements. You can review them here in advance.

Following the first session, I may meet with each of you alone once in order to get to know you as an individual. This gives me a chance to ask you about past relationships and to hear about the family you grew up in. This is also when we’ll talk about any behavioral concerns you have about yourself or your partner, such as a mood disorder or drinking too much. My expectation is that you’ll talk about your individual session with your partner, but that’s your choice. I have a no secrets policy because they usually interfere. Under some circumstances I may even determine that I can’t work with you because of important secrets.

When meeting with couples my goals are to help you:

  • Identify your negative cycle what leads to and maintains conflict. This almost always includes more tender emotions and concerns that help fuel it your pattern.
  • Promote emotional engagement as you clarify your the emotions underlying the conflict cycle and needs in the relationship.
  • Build on your renewed connection as you build on the therapy experience to bring it into your day to day life together.

I often suggest relevant reading or particular tasks to do between sessions in order to help carry the effect of therapy forward. Generally, my style is active and engaging . Most couples need a therapist to help provide structure so the work stays productive and relevant . I maintain a balance between following and supportively leading you into the areas of your relationship that are difficult of just unclear. And I am respectful of your experience: while am an expert on couple relationships, you are the expert on you.
Clients often ask how long therapy will last. I find that 80% of the couples I see are able to complete the work in between 15 and 20 sessions. It can vary widely, depending on complicating factors like a history of trauma or a recent affair and the current level of trust and openness in your relationship. At the end of the therapy I’ll ask you to complete a Satisfaction Survey, which provides feedback regarding our work together. My standard fee for couple therapy is $240 for the initial 90 minute appointment and $160 for subsequent 60 minute sessions. For individual counseling the fee is $140 for the initial appointment and $1250 for subsequent sessions. Insurance often covers at least a part of the cost, but this varies. I can provide statements for submission to insurance