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What should I expect from my first couples therapy session?

by | Jul 12, 2021

A first couples therapy session will most likely involve a variety of questions so that the therapist can get to know you and best assess the direction of your therapy journey. It may also involve the therapist directing you, as a couple, to have a natural conversation or perhaps one moderated by the therapist.

Two things to note: This “first session” experience may only be the first of a few sessions just like the first one, as it may take the therapist some time to gather the information needed before implementing other techniques. That being said, each therapist has his/her own professional style and approach.

Let’s start with a “natural conversation”

You will likely start your experience with a therapist in a very natural conversation, just getting to know one another without any visible “therapeutic” interventions, or at least not ones that stand out. These conversations are critical to the start of therapy for the therapist and couple alike. No matter how natural these discussions may feel, the therapist is actively at work gaining valuable information about both individuals, clinically assessing relationship patterns, formulating ideas for future sessions and the overall path of your couples work.


Sometimes, the therapist may assign you “homework” to carry through something addressed in session or to try something new in between sessions. It may be a simple question to ponder; a suggestion to take notice of certain interactions or individual roles; or perhaps an exercise to practice a new way of communicating or being together. Your therapist will tailor the nature of both your therapy sessions and in between session experiences according to your unique story and relationship. It is possible that the therapist may meet with you individually for a short period of time, in addition to the joint session.

You can ask questions too!

Thus far, we have addressed what might happen from the therapist’s standpoint. However, you, the client(s), should also use this first session to ask any questions important to you about your relationship or about therapy, in general. Although you have an opportunity in a consultation to ask questions about the process of therapy, you may have new questions as you have this initial therapy session, and beyond. Being an active participant, in conjunction with following through with any therapeutic suggestions, will greatly contribute to your therapy success.


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Eleni Paris, LMFT

Eleni Paris, LMFT

Eleni Paris is a licensed marriage and family therapist, working with individuals, couples, and families. She has over 20 years of professional experience including clinical work, workshop and seminar presentations, discussion and support groups, writing contributions, collaborative work with various health professionals, and wellness coaching. Eleni works from a strength-based, family systems approach specializing in Solution-Focused, Emotionally-Focused and Narrative Therapies. Her areas of specialty include relationship coaching techniques that enhance couples' communication, strengthening family bonds between parents and children, and improving one's approach to health and well-being. She is a Clinical Fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and has been published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. Learn more about Eleni Paris: