This post has been reviewed for clinical content by Clinical Psychologist and Sex Therapist, Dr. K
Couples that come to us are looking for the very best help for their relationship. Many of the couples that I talk to have already tried marriage counseling. They are hoping that an intensive couples therapy retreat will provide the relationship support that weekly therapy failed to deliver.
Who you select as your couples therapist is important. And figuring out how to find a couples therapist is no small task. For a couple looking to improve their relationship, couples counseling is an important place to start.
Training in couples therapy matters
A mental health professional well experienced in individual therapy may not have the specific training to help couples build healthy relationships. Even someone licensed in marriage and family therapy may have only had one course in couples therapy.
Couples looking to schedule a marriage intensive may feel the pressure to select a therapist even more acutely. You are spending an entire weekend with this therapist on one of our couples retreats. It will be just you, your partner, and this therapist in the room; that is a big decision.
Our client services team and marriage counselors put a lot of time and energy into guiding couples through this process. You should not settle for anything less, this is your relationship. This post will walk you through the process of selecting a couples therapist. We will also discuss why it feels so different at Couples Therapy Inc.
The therapeutic relationship with your couples therapist
A term that describes the relationship that an individual or couple forms with their therapist is the "therapeutic alliance."
Focus; The Journal of Lifelong Learning in Psychiatry, defines this concept as:
"... a measure of the therapist’s and client’s mutual engagement in the work of therapy."
That same study describes three elements that contribute to a strong (or weak) alliance:
- the collaborative nature of the relationship
- the affective bond between patient and therapist
- the patient’s and therapist’s ability to agree on treatment goals and tasks
You and your partner will browse our website, looking at potential therapists and reading about best practices in couples therapy. You will schedule a client services meeting and start to think about what your goals are for couples therapy. In your meet and greet with the couples therapist, you will assess the "fit" of this particular therapist to your needs.
Before your couples therapy intensive has begun, you will be preparing for the work of healing your relationship.
One of the most important pieces of that prep work is completing the BIG BIG Book. This self-assessment will provide your therapist with hundreds of data points so that they can start developing treatment goals and tasks before the weekend has started.
What it's like to talk to our Client Services Team
Before talking to one of our therapists, you will schedule a call from someone on our Client Services Team. They will ask about your relationship, tell you about our services, and most importantly, prepare you for meeting with a clinician.
Sometimes, couples therapy is appropriate. Sometimes, it's best to start with individual therapy.
At Couples Therapy Inc., we don't automatically suggest couples therapy for everyone who contacts us. We'll recommend the right services for your situation.
What it's like to talk to our clinicians
Your client services professional will then help you to schedule a call with a therapist.
You and your partner will both need to speak with the therapist. During this call, it is the time to get really specific about what you are looking for. You are planning a weekend together, a very important weekend.
During this meeting, your therapist is getting a sense of your relationship and your goals. They want you to understand how they work and how they might work with the two of you.
Three important ways your relationship with this therapist will be unique
Once you are accepted and arrange a mutually agreed-upon date, the work begins. You establish the therapeutic relationship even before your weekend begins, completing the BIG BIG Book. There is a tremendous emotional investment throughout this process. Your therapist gains a deep understanding of you because of the effort you put into the BIG BIG Book.
Here are three ways this relationship is different:
- It is mutually collaborative. Your meet and greet allows each of you to interview the other. You make sure that the fit aligns with your relationship culture. The therapist tries to ensure that they can work with your goals.
- The bond. Our Client Services team matches you with a particular professional. It's not an algorithm.
All of our therapists come from top training programs and have decades of couples therapy experience. However, working with the professional who is best suited to you and your situation is an important factor to success.
- Agree upon goals and tasks. The BIG BIG Book (done prior to your weekend) and the State of the Union assessment (that begins each weekend intensive) ensure that there is a plan. You provided the context and the therapist provided their expertise and skill to set a course.
How we feel about the therapists that work with Couples Therapy Inc.
You may feel overwhelmed in your search for good couples therapists. We know that you can't go wrong when selecting the right couples therapist at Couples Therapy Inc. By the time you schedule your weekend intensive, we want you to feel the same way!