By Judith Lolas, MSW, ACSW
Q. My partner and I are at a terrible point in our relationship where we are not sure if we have a future together. If she decides to try to resolve our problems, we will do therapy. That is what I want. What should we expect from a good therapist? How do they work?
A. Couples therapy is not unlike regular therapy. The first session or two, you can expect the therapist to do some information gathering. This usually involves a social and medical history and anything else pertinent you may want to tell her or him. In the next few visits, most therapists will allow their clients to simply vent, talk about the issues they feel brought them there. It's a team effort; the therapist listens and brings to your attention patterns of dysfunction or issues which are revealed, and together you begin to work at them. The therapist may want to see you each separately at first and then together, or vice-versa. The therapist will want to observe your interactions and patterns of communication with each other to see if intervention can help.
Mainly it's a journey of discovery and healing, but if you are not honest with the therapist, then you reduce greatly your benefits. I hope this helps . . . good luck!