If your marriage or romantic partnership has entered a period of emotional distress, there’s no shame in seeing a therapist. As experienced Reston, VA couples counseling specialists – including those who practice at Lindsey Hoskins & Associates – can confirm, individuals are more likely to regret “not” seeking assistance than they are to regret seeking assistance when their marriage has become particularly challenging.  Here are some strategies for approaching therapy that should make the experience as manageable and effective as possible.

Select a Therapist Wisely

Some therapists have greater experience than others. Naturally, those with longer work histories are likely to have a broader knowledge base. However, there can be benefits to working with a newer therapist who isn’t yet set in their approach. Make sure to select someone who deals with couples, as many therapists only deal with individuals. Once you’ve found someone whose approach, experience, and location intrigues you, conduct a preliminary interview to make sure you’re choosing someone you like.

Schedule Sessions Proactively

It’s best to attend therapy sessions when you aren’t particularly stressed or have time-sensitive responsibilities bearing down on you. Arrange your calendar so that you can be alert and ready to open up when you get together with the individual who is working with you. Know what time of day works best. The evolution of telemedicine has made visits more convenient than ever. Choose mornings if that’s when you feel particularly ready for a challenge. Go for evenings if that’s when you are your most agreeable self. 

Always Speak Freely

Therapists know that what you tell them is to be held in strict confidence. Remember, too, that they are not there to judge but to provide guidance. The only way they can offer useful advice is if you remain honest. Commit to being an open book. The candor with which you discuss feelings and circumstances will have a profound impact on the quality of your sessions.

Prepare Outside of Consultations

Before your first round of therapy, write down what you want to discuss. That way, you won’t forget to bring up important concerns. Your therapist is likely to assign “homework” to be completed outside of the office. There’s only so much that can be achieved during limited periods of time, and a therapist cannot make you change for the better. Only you can do that. Fail to finish the requested tasks and your next meeting will be less fruitful.