Are you nervous before your first session with a couple’s therapist? If you answered yes, you are not alone. Most couples feel nervous before their first session with a couple’s therapist, as they are not aware of what to expect from the counselling process. However, it is important to know that couples can make the most of their sessions by preparing effectively. In this article, we’ll discuss a few steps that couples can take to prepare for their first session.

  • Ensure Both Partners Are Ready And Committed

Couple counselling is most effective when both partners are willing to commit and are fully invested in the process. Both partners should be willing to talk about their concerns openly and to make the necessary changes for the betterment of the relationship. A lack of willingness from one or both partners can significantly hamper the therapy process. A few ways to ensure that both of you are committed to the process are:

  • Clarify expectations from each other before the first session
  • Ensure that both of you feel safe communicating with each other
  • Validate each other’s emotions, such as fear, and nervousness, about seeking couple therapy
  • Be open to listening and understanding each other’s perspectives
  • Keep An Open Mind

While people are becoming more aware of mental health, many couples approach therapy with a lot of misconceptions, which can hinder progress or openness in therapy. Some common misconceptions about couples therapy are:

  • Therapy is only for ‘crazy people’.
  • Couples should be able to sort out all their issues without external help
  • Couples counselling is only for those who are on the brink of divorce. 

These misconceptions can lead to emotions such as shame, and guilt and stop couples from fully committing to the therapy process

  • Discuss Shared Goals

Goals are the most important part of couples counselling and provide direction to the whole process. So take time to discuss what you and your partner want to achieve from the counseling process. Make sure that you and your partners are on the same page regarding the goals, Deciding on goals can also help you feel motivated throughout the process. Some examples of goals are:

  • Learning conflict resolution skills
  • Improving communication or learning better ways of communicating
  • Managing emotions in healthier ways
  • Set Realistic Expectations

While couples counselling can certainly be beneficial, it is important to set realistic expectations. Many couples step into counselling expecting the therapist to provide them with immediate ‘solutions’ or quick fixes. However, it is important to understand that couples therapy is a process that requires time and commitment from both partners. 

  • Make A List

The first therapy session can be overwhelming, with both partners having a lot to share. This can lead to a lot of confusion and lack of focus. Thus, it is advisable to create a list of potential issues that you’d like to bring up in the first session. You can also consider making a list of any questions that you’d like to ask the therapist as well.

  • Be Open To Sharing Personal History

A couple’s therapist will not only explore the relationship dynamics, but they will also explore the family dynamics, relationships, childhoods and other important aspects of the lives of both partners. This is important so that the therapist can understand the root causes of issues in the relationship currently. Answering deeply personal questions regarding your relationships with parents, family, etc. can be overwhelming, but understand that it is crucial for the process.


The thought of seeking couples counselling for the first time can be distressing and overwhelming at the same time. However, couples can make the process smoother and easier by preparing themselves for the first session.  Having discussions on commitment, keeping an open mind, coming up with shared goals, and setting realistic expectations are a few ways in which couples can prepare themselves for the first session.


  1. Center, W. O. T. (n.d.). How to Prepare for Couples Therapy | Willow Oak Therapy Center, Rockville MD. Retrieved March 28, 2024, from
  2. Tips to Succeed in Couples Counseling. (n.d.). Retrieved March 28, 2024, from

Dhruva Koranne

Dhruva Koranne has completed his Masters in Applied Psychology from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, BALM. He has been practicing as a counsellor since 2020 and works to create a safe space for clients where they can open up. In addition to this, Dhruva loves researching and studying about upcoming theories in the field of Psychology. Connect with him on Linkedin