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Couples Counselling: What to Expect

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The thought of couples counselling can be quite daunting for some people….

I’ve worked with many couples over the years who have procrastinated for months, and even YEARS, before making the decision to book their first appointment. 

Ambivalence around making the first appointment is understandable.  After all, you’re making an appointment with someone you don’t know, and to be honest, you really don’t know if this person will be effective in helping you make positive changes in your relationship.

I can’t take away all the uncertainty, but I can let you know what to expect when you make an initial appointment with me for couples counselling.

At the first appointment I’m interested in learning all about you as a couple. I’ll ask questions about your history including how you met, how long you’ve been together, what the beginning of your relationship was like and the concern/problem that brings you into therapy. 

I’m trained in the Developmental Model of Couples Therapy. Essentially that means, I aim to understand your relationship, and you individually, from a developmental perspective.  Specifically, I’m working to understand your strengths and stuck points. That is, I’m looking to identify what you already do well, while also looking at the skills and capacities needed to improve your communication. 

Once I have a good understanding of what is causing the distress in your relationship, I share this with you. We then work together to develop a more effective and satisfying style of communication. A style which respects difference, while at the same time, moving discussions forward. 

Myths about couples counselling:

I’ve been told by several couples that they were worried I might tell them they should divorce or separate. That’s not my role. 

I’ve been told by couples that they worry I’m going to take sides. Once again, that’s not my role – and it’s not helpful. 

Facts about counselling:

My job is to work with couples, for as long as it takes, for each person to develop the skills and capacities needed to be a more effective communicator. 

You can’t change your partner, but you can change yourself. I will be encouraging each of you to be mindful of your own thoughts, feelings and desires. With this understanding I will support you in developing the skills needed to express yourself more effectively and to be open to your partner’s perspective. 

Booking an appointment with me means you are making a commitment to developing yourself and your relationship will benefit.  

Trudy Jacobsen

Trudy Jacobsen is a caring, highly competent relationship and marriage counsellor with over 17 years’ professional experience. She is an accredited mental health social worker professionally registered with the Australian Association of Social Workers. Trudy has provided counselling services in a number of organisations and counselling settings, including private practice.