There are a variety of reasons people may go to therapy for their relationship. Some of these include but are not limited to:
1a. Experiencing an impasse in your relationship. For example, you do not know if you should break up or make up.
1b. You find that conflicts occur more often without resolutions.
1c. You experience unhappiness most of the time in your relationship.
1d. You want a safe space to discuss concerns about the present and future.
1e. You want to strengthen your communication skills with one another.
It is not uncommon for individuals to attend relationship therapy alone. You may want to discuss issues privately with the therapist before bringing your partner in. You may also want to work with another therapist individually while working with your partner in couples therapy. If you are engaged in individual counseling for relationship issues, you want to find ways of letting your partner know that you are taking this step. This will allow your partner to support you and potentially join you later in the process.
There may be common challenges when starting relationship therapy. One of the biggest challenges may be getting both partners to attend or commit. One partner may be more resistant to the process than the other. Once you can get past that hurdle and start therapy, your next challenge is remaining consistent with treatment. Try to commit to a consistent schedule to meet weekly with your therapist. Also, be mindful of setting goals since it increases efficiency for everyone to be on the same page.
There is no timeline for couples counseling because each couple attends for different reasons. Some may attend for a few sessions, others for weeks, months, or years. There are no rules for how long you should stay in treatment. When you feel that you have gained all you can out of the session, you can terminate.
Some important factors to consider when finding the right therapist include someone warm, compassionate, non-judgmental, accepting, and understanding. Some additional factors include but are not limited to someone who makes you feel comfortable talking with, is knowledgeable in the area you seek help, and will help you get the most out of your sessions.