Do not be disheartened if you’ve opted for marriage counselling or couples therapy based on recommendations from your partner, friend, or physician. Before scheduling an appointment, take a moment to reflect on it and ask yourself “Am I willing to engage in a therapeutic relationship?” Here are the specific questions to consider:
- Despite this not being my idea, is it meaningful for me to engage in counselling, could it be useful for me, am I willing to?
- What do I want out of counselling?
- How soon do I want to see the results?
When you do meet the therapist, reflect on the first meeting and ask yourself:
- What is my impression of the first meeting?
- Did the therapist understand me? Did I understand her or him?
- Is the therapist’s gender, culture, social class, or sexual orientation similar or different from mine?
- What are the implications of that?
If you find the therapist to be different in any of the above categories, ask yourself:
- Will I be able to communicate freely in this environment? Is there anything that I will try to hide?
- Will I try to portray myself in a specific way?
- Will I try to guard and protect either myself or the therapist from my feelings or thoughts?
If the answer to any of the above questions concerns you, ask yourself:
- What worries me about being honest with the therapist?
- Is there any specific evidence for this worry?
- Is there something specific I need to know about the therapist in order not to worry?
The client-therapist relationship requires a delicate balance. This equilibrium is characterized by a level of closeness that is comfortable, yet distant enough to ensure professionalism and objectivity. It is the therapist’s duty, rather than the client’s, to uphold this delicate balance. As a client, you may find yourself in a relationship with your marriage counsellor or couple therapist that veers towards either excessive involvement or excessive distance.
Here are the signs of your therapist being too personal and NOT therapeutic:
- She or he reveals information about herself/himself that is not relevant to therapy or that is not beneficial to you. It also includes any information that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- She or he initiates touch that is in ANY way uncomfortable to you.
- He or she reacts emotionally in a way that makes you feel the need to protect the therapist and in a way care about the well-being of the therapist.
Here are the signs of your therapist being too detached:
- He or she jumps to conclusions without carefully exploring all the possible aspects of your story.
- She or he tries to impose her/his meaning onto you, especially when you are trying to resist and keep your view of things.
- You have a general feeling that the therapist does not understand you and your experiences.
- He or she is distracted easily and you feel that you need to work hard at keeping their attention.
- You feel that the conversation is shallow and the therapist fails to address deeper issues.
If you notice any of the aforementioned signs, it is advisable to have a conversation with your marriage counsellor about your concerns. If you couples therapist does not address these concerns satisfactorily, it may be prudent to consider marriage counsellor or couples therapy somewhere else.
There are many qualified and experienced marriage counsellors and couples therapists in Toronto, Vaughan, Richmond Hill and other areas around the GTA. It is worth noting that, in our experience, many couples explore the services of two to three therapists before finding the right fit for the best marriage counselling Toronto and Vaughan have to offer.