Featured Image by Gracini Studios from Pixabay
Starting with a couples therapist or relationship coach can be terrifying. I know what it is like to be in the seat of the client myself, and I completely understand how you feel when you first reach out. Taking this step requires courage. Some couples reach out preventively or when they notice the first struggles, but often when we finally reach out, the status quo of our relationship feels more painful than the fear of moving forward into the unknown territory of doing the work to improve it.
Your marriage or long-term relationship is one of the most important things in your life; hence, the stakes are high. Perhaps you are reaching out early, but perhaps it feels like it is five minutes to twelve and things need to change soon. Here are some common concerns new clients have:
1. What if the coach or therapist takes sides?
I promise you that I am neither on your side nor on the side of your partner. Your marriage or relationship is my client. It is like a third entity which I am the advocate for. We will become curious about the relationship dynamics and make changes that benefit this third entity.
2. What if I am at fault and my mistakes come to light?
The sessions with me are a blame-free zone. It is entirely pointless to discuss who has done what to whom. Blaming others or ourselves keeps us stuck in moving forward.
We will focus on each of you taking responsibility for your part in the dynamics, making amends and committing to making changes.
3. What if my partner embarrasses me, and I will be judged?
Some people are more private than others, and the fear of embarrassment is not uncommon. There is not much I have not heard or experienced myself. We are all human, and everything I learn about you and your struggles will only give me more compassion and understanding. I can help you most effectively when I know what unfolds when you are alone.
Image by Gracini Studios from Pixabay
4. What if I lose my temper or become emotional?
Successful couples therapy is state-dependent. So, if you are getting into an activated state in the session, like at home, and interacting with each other in a familiar pattern, we can achieve changes faster. Instead of just talking about the issues, we can practice new skills at the moment. I am a non-partial guide when you get stuck in old dynamics to help you regulate your nervous systems and open up new interaction pathways.
5. What if I won’t feel safe talking about my vulnerable feelings?
It is hard to speak about vulnerable feelings, especially when we are triggered into a fight or flight response. We all have the instinct to protect ourselves. So if our partner triggers our traumas, the partner can appear like the enemy. Hence our “protective parts” are taking over instead of allowing us to access more vulnerable emotions. I am here to coach you on how to relax these protectors, create a safe space with your partner, and access the vulnerable emotions which allow us to connect and be truly intimate.
6. What if I have to talk about my childhood and my past when I have been trying to forget?
Most families are dysfunctional in some way, and many of us have experienced smaller or bigger traumas as children or had parents who were traumatized. The goal is not to dwell on the past but to clear out what holds you back in the present. When we understand our history and our partner’s history, we can understand the present-day dynamics. Whether we want to or not, our partner becomes a proxy for our first loves, which means our parents or caregivers. That also allows us to heal old wounds in our adult relationships.
7. What if our coach or therapist is not comfortable with strong emotions or talking about sexuality?
I can assure you that I am able to be with any emotions that surface. I am also comfortable talking about your sexual challenges. If I ask, you do not have to answer any questions about your sexual connection. However, I am prepared to address physical issues just like any other.
8. Will our specific concerns be addressed if we are a same-sex couple?
Same-sex couples have some specific issues that heterosexual couples do not deal with, and they are sometimes concerned that those will not be addressed. No topic that concerns you and your partner is off-limits. Just as I learn with every heterosexual couple, I also learn what is important in their specific relationship with every same-sex couple. No matter what gender we identify with or what our sexual orientation is, the issue we all have is that we do not intrinsically know how to “do relationships well.”
“We live in an individualistic patriarchal culture that is anti-relational
and we don’t teach our children the skills they need to be relational.”
9. Two hours seem very long. What if I can’t focus for that long?
Most couples are surprised how fast time passes. Two hours allows us to get into topics deeply. Research has also shown that rapid succession learning happens through either longer sessions or an intense therapy experience like a more extended workshop. Hence, setting aside two hours/week for your relationship is the best investment you can make into your marriage or long-term relationship.
10. Will we receive additional resources?
After each session, you will receive a summary of what we talked about, new techniques you learned, your commitments to each other, and any possible assignment at home. My website also has an extensive library of blog posts from the last ten years. I will refer you to different articles so you have an opportunity to read more about the topics we have addressed.
11. What if my marriage or long-term partnership cannot be “fixed” or saved?
Keep in mind that the earlier you come for sessions, the more likely you and your partner can reconnect and build the relationship you both want. However, the goal of therapy or coaching is not to keep two people together no matter what. In most cases, couples shift towards strengthening their relationship and staying together. If that is not possible, I can help you to consciously and peacefully separate. And if you have children, we can work on developing a solid co-parenting relationship between you.
To book a session by yourself or with your partner
reach out for a free Zoom consultation
Belief Change & Relationship Coaching