It Can Be Scary to Call
Calling a prospective couples therapist can cause bit of anxiety—it is someone you don’t know, you are asking for their time, and you are going to be trusting that person with something that is very important and you are not doing well with. People often ask a friend or confidant or a professional for the name of someone to call. You are putting your relationship between you and your partner into their hands.
Heading to Couples Therapy for the First Time
It Is Worth It to Check on Your Future Therapist
It is well worth your time to find out about whom you are going to call, to get a referral from someone you trust. If your contact has firsthand knowledge of what the therapy with that couples therapist is like, that can be helpful. Different couples bring out a bit of difference in most therapists, so it may not be the same for you as it was for the referrer. But more information is usually helpful. Searching the internet can be helpful, but you also need to be cautious of what you find there. I found one review of myself online, the only review that that service had on me, and the complaint the person had was that I “always late.” I had to laugh: I am never late; in fact, I start most sessions a few minutes before the hour. I can certainly think of some mistakes I have made, of ways I am in sessions, of character flaws I have that someone might complain about that I would have to agree with. But being late is not one of them. So be careful of internet information and try to gather a broad spectrum of information about your potential therapist.
Different Couples Therapists Will Be Different
Different couples therapists will have their own ways of doing couples work and this will be particularly so in the first session. It has been drilled in my mind by my profession and the experts in the field that it is important to give Informed Consent (let you know what you are getting into in therapy) and Limits of Confidentiality (where I am required by law to break confidentiality) along with what confidentiality is. So you will find me spending about five minutes on those topics in the first session. I also need to have an understanding of both of you, what brings you, as well as if you are struggling with suicidal or homicidal thoughts, so there are about ten minutes (and sometimes more) that are devoted to a Diagnostic Interview. Most of the Diagnostic Interview is very relevant to both you and me. But the rest of the session is devoted to what you need to talk about.
Most therapists, most of the time, don’t take sides. There are many reasons for this, and the vast majority of the time couples therapists work to stay balanced, working both sides, encouraging both partners to change.
Where, Really, Are the Answers?
Different couples therapists will have different approaches. The best couples therapists will do many things alike—they will have learned the common things that work. Research shows us that experienced therapists are more alike each other than they are like novices in their particular branch of therapy. In their experience and further training, they have distilled out effective practice. So go for the experienced couples therapist if you can. Young therapists can do great things, but they often do not have experience.
You will need to move away from blaming your partner if you want to bring about change for you and your partner. You will need to make changes if you want changes to happen.
The opposite is just as true. It is seldom true that the relationship gets better when the couple is locked in accusing each other. It is so tempting to do, to stay with what the other is doing so wrong, but it gridlocks change.
Therefore, seek out a referral, find out about your prospective therapist if you can, consider experience, find how you need to be changing, and work to do so. These are some of the things that you will find in your first session and beyond that will help you get to the change you are looking for in couples therapy.
Couples Omaha – Dr. Robert G. Kraft – Licensed Psychologist in Omaha, NE
Dr. Robert G. Kraft is a career psychologist in Omaha, NE. He earned his doctorate, as well as his bachelors and masters before that, from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and has practiced in Nebraska ever since.
As well as maintaining his practice, Dr. Kraft is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Creighton University School of Medicine, where he teaches residents about psychotherapy.
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