If this will be your first experience with couples counseling, you are undoubtedly wondering what to expect. Perhaps you’re feeling a mixture of emotions: some combination of anxiety and hope. Even if it’s not your first “rodeo” with couples counseling, you may still be wondering what to expect with Ms. Reichlin. After all, therapists can and do operate very differently from one another.
Below is a broad outline of what most couples can expect when coming in to see Ms. Reichlin. Obviously, those presenting in crises mode or with unique ancillary circumstances, will need special handling suited to their particular needs. But once those are met, if at all possible, they, too, will at some point be introduced to most of the steps below.
The First Couple’s Session
In your first session, you will each be given a chance to share your version of, and experience in, your relationship. While this is happening, the other partner is asked to sit back and just listen. Then, the process reverses so the other partner can speak.
It can be challenging at times to sit quietly while your partner is relaying their “reality”, (usually because it sounds so different from your own, (otherwise known as “wrong”), or because you feel attacked or criticized in the process). But Ms. Reichlin is pretty good at helping every one stay calm and on track.
The typical result of Session One? Both parties leave having had an experience of being heard as well as one of having heard the other in a way not achieved in a very long time.
The Second Couple’s Session
In most cases, the second session is devoted to learning the Imago Dialogue – a communication tool taught all couples entering into Imago Relationship Therapy . 99% of the time, couples leave this session with instructions on how to commence Ms. Reichlin’s original 20 Dialogues-In-20-Days at-home practice program.
The typical result of Session Two? Couples leave, maybe for the first time in a long while, feeling calmer, a little more connected and with a growing hope that this new counseling might be helpful.
The Individual Sessions: In many cases, the next sessions will be devoted to each of you separately coming in for an individual session with Ms. Reichlin. The purpose of this is to offer each partner a chance to speak openly with Ms. Reichlin, without having to worry about the other’s reaction. It also affords Ms. Reichlin an opportunity to get to know each of you a little better.
The Third Couple’s Session and Beyond
By week five, having been taught and begun practicing your new communication tool, the Imago Dialogue, you have accomplished quite a bit. Not only have you improved your communication skills, but more importantly, in most cases, you will have begun to experience a renewed sense of calm and connection based simply on having been working together as a team to improve your relationship.
With the above accomplished, it will now be time to begin talking about the issues that brought you to therapy in the first place. Only now, you will be approaching those armed with a new tool, improved connection and the initial beginnings of a renewed sense of safety in your relationship.
Stage properly set – time to get to work!
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