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FAQs before starting marriage counseling

You want to find a therapist. You want to make sure that the person you find will be a good fit and great to work with. You probably have some questions already. Here are some questions that I get asked a lot from potential clients – Check them out below and let me know if there is anything else that you’d like me to answer.

 

How do I schedule an initial couples counseling phone consultation?


You can use the SCHEDULER HERE ON MY WEBSITE and find a time that works for you to chat. I will call you at the number you indicate at that given time and we’ll plan to talk about 20 minutes.

If you have additional information you’d like me to have prior to our initial phone consultation, please use the Contact form on this website.

Is marriage/couples counseling confidential?


The short answer is – Yes, in general, the law protects your privacy in terms of communication between a client and therapist. If you want to share information with another professional, you will have to sign a written form of authorization. The long answer is this: There ARE exceptions to confidentiality and they can be found below. In these situations, authorization is NOT necessary for the therapist to disclose information.

 

– Disclosure of possible harm against self

Disclosure of possible harm against another

The suspicion of or proof of abuse and neglect of children or vulnerable adults

– Prenatal exposure to illegal drugs (such as heroin, cocaine, amphetamine) or excessive and/or habitual use of alcohol

Disclosure about the misconduct of another professional (mental health or health care professionals included)

– Death of a client (therapist has the duty to provide the parent or the spouse access to the child’s or spouse’s records)

– Age of a client (parents of minor may request access to the child’s records. Specific questions in such cases may be discussed with the therapist as there are instances in which the client, though minor, may be able to request specific information to be withheld from his/her parents)

– Court order

 

How long are marriage counseling sessions and what is their frequency?


Generally speaking, Danka will meet with individual clients once a week for a 50 minute session. Depending on each client’s specific circumstances, this may occasionally be altered as needed. Note that Danka uses a consistent scheduling approach in that she will give you the same time and day for your ongoing appointments. That means that unless otherwise indicated or discussed ahead of time, you will be meeting on the same day of the week at the same time each week, making it easy to plan ahead for you and for Danka.

 

For couples work, Danka sometimes sees clients on a weekly basis for one session (50 minutes) or, more often than not, on a biweekly basis for two sessions at a time (equivalent to 100 minute sessions).

 

How early do I need to arrive for my initial couples counseling appointment?


If you were able to print the forms that you received from Danka via email ahead of time and fill them out, you need to arrive at the time of your appointment and bring your intake paperwork with you.If you were not able to print the forms ahead of time, you will need to come 30-45 minutes early to the initial appointment, allowing yourself time to fill out the paperwork before your initial session. Danka will leave a copy of the form for you in the waiting room along with a pen for your convenience.

Do we need to bring anything to our marriage/couples counseling sessions?


Once you bring your completed initial intake forms – unless otherwise agreed upon between you and the therapist (AKA homework assignment, book or article etc.) – there is no need to bring anything else on a weekly basis. Should you need an extra dose of caffeine or herbal infusion before starting, Danka will have complimentary coffee and tea available for you once you arrive.

 

When starting couples counseling, what can we expect in our first and second session?


 The truth is, the first and second sessions are sort of filled with information gathering. This is designed in a way that hopefully doesn’t feel extremely overwhelming and will be in the form of:

  1. Reviewing information you have already provided
  2. Filling out a few additional forms
  3. Initialing and signing consent for services forms
  4. Reviewing personal health information
  5. Reviewing personal and family history by way of a genogram
  6. Getting a feel for support networks in place by filling out an ecomap
  7. Reviewing and signing off on the client rights and responsibilities form

All of this is done with one hope and one goal only: to present information to Danka about you and your family so that she may be able to serve you in both the most productive and sensitive way possible. Knowing your strong points and your weak ones, understanding the history and the past, she will be able to assist you in managing and directing the future in a way that would be most healthy as well as personally and relationally satisfying. Danka looks at it more as a beginning of an authentic relationship. You can’t reach that without authentically presenting yourself and being with another. So, be patient. It’s important to allow time for this thing called process.

 

How do I/we know we need couples counseling?


A surprising number of individuals and couples have posed this question to me before. When is it that couples should seek professional help? Especially when it comes to couples therapy, people seem to be a bit more perplexed as to the answer. Research shows that most couples wait too long before seeking therapy. While there are many ways of knowing – and you might already have arrived – below are some questions for you to consider. There is no order according to significance.

It would be safe to say that if you or your significant other positively answer to any one of these questions, it would most definitely be a worthwhile investment of your time and energy to at the least sit down together and have an honest conversation about what is going on. If either one of the partners answers positively to more than two of the questions below, outside perspective will likely be valuable and often necessary. You can have a good relationship. Whether you are married or not, if you are willing to work on it, you can even have a great one.

And, regardless of what happened in the past or what happens during the course of therapy, Danka will be the last person in the room to raise her hand and say: “I’m done”.

 

  • You and your spouse no longer know how to enjoy one another. Fun doesn’t come around your house anymore.
  • You and your partner stopped talking about your problems and/or stopped fighting altogether, letting the silent treatment rule your home most of the time.
  • Your children keep asking you if you are getting a divorce. Or – your spouse keeps asking if you are going to leave him/her.
  • Your once committed relationship now resembles more that of a rommate situation. You coexist and might still be civil with each other but fail to connect in any meaningful way.
  • You cannot remember the last time you were sexually intimate with your spouse and if you can, it was several months or years ago.
  • It’s getting to a point where you have nothing to say to each other and if you do, it is destructive and hurtful and meant to be that way.
  • You also feel like any effort to improve things will be in vain before you ever even try solving them in the first place.
  • You dread being in the presence of one another and look forward to times away.
  • Something happened that caused one of you to lose respect and/or trust for the other person.
  • One or both of you have been involved in an affair (emotional or sexual) or fantasize about the possibility of being with another person.

 

How long does a therapeutic relationship usually last?


 As cut and dry as this question may look to you, it is almost impossible to answer without starting with the usual: It depends. It depends on who you are and what you need. It depends on whether you are an individual, family or a couple. For premarital counseling, our relationship might last 5-7 sessions. If you are an individual client, a couple or a family, there are hundreds of variables.

Depending on what you walk in with and what you might want to walk out with, how skills-based and goal-oriented you might be, how deep or surface-layered your hopes and expectations are, you might be looking at anything from a few months of therapy to a year or more – and everything in between. Bottom line, you and Danka will discuss this openly at the start of your sessions together and will revisit the topic periodically throughout your therapeutic relationship, allowing the possibility for alterations to the initial goals as needed.

 

Finding a Marriage Therapist might seem like a daunting task. If there are questions that you didn’t get answered, please comment below, and I will add them to the list when appropriate.

My goal for you is to find a therapist that you will be happy with, one that will help get your relationship to a better place. If I can be helpful in any other way, let me know.