How to Prepare for Couples Therapy

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Published Date|
April 23, 2024

How to Prepare for Couples Therapy

Walking into couples therapy can feel overwhelming - you’re preparing to let someone else into your personal relationship and confront problems you’ve been avoiding for a long time.

In a large city like Toronto, even choosing which couples therapist to see can feel overwhelming. With so many choices in places like King West and Liberty Village, it can feel hard to even begin the therapy process.

Knowing what to expect during couples therapy and how to choose the right couples counsellor can make this easier.

Here at KMA Therapy, we’re relationship experts. For over 15 years, we’ve helped our clients and community learn everything they need to help their relationship thrive and succeed during couples counselling.

After reading this article, you’ll know five steps to take to prepare for couples therapy and feel confident walking into your first therapy session.

5 Steps to Prepare for Couples Therapy

Follow these five steps to prepare for couples therapy.

1. Decide what type of therapist to see

While a search for “couples therapists near you” will provide you with a lot of results to choose from, it can be helpful to get a bit more specific.

While many therapists work with couples as part of their practice, you might want to see a therapist who focuses specifically on couples.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) specialize in treating relationship issues by focusing on the context of your family system.

They focus on:

  • Resolving conflicts
  • Improving communication
  • Strengthening family bonds

LMFTs can be a great choice if you’re experiencing strain on your relationship related to larger family dynamics or challenges involving children.

Sex therapists use talk therapy to help you and your partner address sex related concerns in your relationship.

Sex therapy can help with issues including:

  • Performance anxiety
  • Suppression of sexuality
  • Shame surrounding sexuality
  • Compulsive sexual behaviour
  • Reaching orgasm more quickly than desired
  • Inability to orgasm by yourself or with a partner
  • Difficulties communicating wants and needs with a partner

Working with a sex therapist can be a great choice if you’re experiencing intimacy issues that are affecting your relationship.

The Gottman Method is another type of therapy that can be incredibly helpful for relationships. 

Focusing on nine components of your relationship, including trust, commitment, conflict management, and shared meaning, therapists using the Gottman Method can help you strengthen your relationship.

The Gottman Method can help you:

  • Enhance the friendship within your romantic relationship
  • Foster positive communication
  • Manage conflicts

2. Choose between online and in-person therapy

Toronto offers an abundance of therapy options to choose from.

Neighbourhoods like King West and Yorkville offer many couples therapists, including both online and in-person options.

When choosing between online and in-person couples therapy, consider factors like your comfort with online communication, long-distance relationship dynamics, location convenience, and access to specialized therapists.

Read Online Couples Therapy in Toronto: The Ultimate Guide to learn more.

how to prepare for couples therapy

3. Find a therapist who works for you

Now that you know what type of therapist you want to see and how you want to see them, you’re ready to begin your search for a couples therapist.

When choosing a couples therapist, make sure to consider:

  • Their location
  • If they’re a personality fit
  • Their cost and insurance coverage
  • Their experience working with couples and relationships
  • Any niche experiencing you’re interested in (i.e. sex therapy)
  • How they align with your personal values and relationship goals

Websites like PsychologyToday are a great place to start, and allow you to filter your search by your specific interests.

When choosing a therapist, consider whether they offer a free consultation or a paid introductory session. This first meeting with a therapist can be a great way to know whether they’ll be the right fit for you, learn more about what the couples therapy process will look like, and ask any questions you have.

While both paid introductory appointments and free consultations offer many benefits, there are a few reasons you may prefer one over the other.

An introductory appointment is typically the same length as a regular therapy session, where the therapy clinic gathers more information to match you with the right therapist within the practice. This paid session allows you to share your personal history and explore the issues you’re facing, and you’ll leave this session with a detailed treatment plan. 

While this can be a valuable option to learn exactly what to expect during therapy, it can feel daunting to repeat all of this information to the therapist you’re matched with, and it can be expensive.

Free consultations are typically between 15 and 30 minutes, and are unpaid. This allows you to explore how compatible you are with a therapist or a therapy practice without having to make any financial commitment. 

This can be a great choice if you’re exploring multiple therapists, but can feel rushed and you typically won’t leave with a detailed plan.

Read Therapy Introductory Appointment vs Free Consultation to learn more.

4. Clarify your reasons for coming to therapy

Knowing your reasons for coming to therapy can help you solidify your goals for couples therapy.

Watch this video for a list of reasons why you might be interested in couples counselling:

5. Identify your goals for couples therapy

Instead of only focusing on what you want to stop doing in your relationship, think about the strengths you have that you’d like to build, and what you’d like to see more of.

Common goals in couples therapy include:

  • Improve intimacy
  • Learning better communication skills
  • Overcoming differences and finding common goals
  • Understand your behaviours and learning how your relationship is impacted
  • Manage other concerns impacting the relationship, including anxiety and depression

Next Steps for Couples Therapy in Toronto

After reading this article, you know five ways to prepare for your first couples therapy session.

Here at KMA Therapy, our team of couples counsellors is here to help you improve your relationship.

We offer therapy at five convenient locations across Toronto: Yonge and Eglinton, King West, Yorkville, Liberty Village, and Yonge and Sheppard, and we offer virtual counselling sessions for anyone in Ontario.

Book an appointment today or download our Therapy 101 Guide to learn more.

If you’re not ready to book an appointment, explore these articles to learn more:

Author |
Emily Weatherhead (Guest Author)
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