This is an important question. The answer, as is often the case, is one that you carry within you, individually, or together if you attend as a couple. That is, it depends on the complexity and the duration of the concerns you bring to therapy. These are issues to be discussed at the initial consultation and, thereafter, to be reviewed regularly in order to track change and progress.
There are also circumstances when we may consider time-limited therapy and agree a fixed number of sessions from the outset. Such time-limited work aims to focus on a particular issue and it can be useful to have a clear sense of an ending to help focus and anchor the therapy.
Sometimes it may not be possible for both partners to attend therapy together. If that is the case, we can consider whether it may be helpful for one partner to attend without the other. We can also discuss your situation and think together about what would be helpful going forward.
If you would like to attend on your own, we keep the relationship in mind throughout the work. This can help gain a better understanding of difficult dynamics between you and your partner while also developing more insight into your own role in the relationship.
Well, you won't know until we meet, whether you come on your own or with a partner. What we do know is that the quality of the relationship between you and your therapist is vital and, based on current research, that it may be the best predictor of success in therapy. That's also why I recommend that we meet to discuss your concerns and to get a feel for whether we are a good match and whether you will find therapy useful.
I suggest one such initial consultation (75 minutes) for individuals and up to three for couples. If we then decide against further sessions together, I would be happy to refer you to other therapists who may be a better fit for you.
No, you don't - there is no homework as such. But you may find it useful to think about your situation and how you want counselling or therapy to help, whether you are coming on your own or with a partner. For example, these are some of the kinds of questions that we will explore together in your initial consultation:
What are the concerns that have prompted you to consider therapy? Can you think of things that you want to change, whether about yourself and/or your significant relationships? Do you seek to understand issues in your current or past relationships? Do you recognise patterns that keep repeating and causing problems?