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couples counsiling

Published on June 14, 2014 by brbegrl

is it recommended for the couple to seek counseling separately to address individual issues, or will the couples counselor advise them,after the first session, if either person, or both should seek individual as well as couples counseling? I am not aware of how to begin this healing journey and truly want to get what I am willing to put into it, hence possibly needing individual sessions??


Hello brbegrl,

This is such a great question. When I coach couples I always begin talking to each partner separately. I find this gives each of you an opportunity to feel their ‘side’ is being clearly heard and to feel comfortable and confident with me.

As I speak to each partner I listen to their individual story, without including any of the information I’ve learned from the other partner in our conversation. This ensures I hear what you each say in the most objective way and also each person knows I keep their conversations with me confidential.

I’ll give each of you personal homework to help you clarify your wants and needs so together we can create healthy and productive conversations between the two of you.

Then when the three of us agree it’s time to talk together we have a foundation where both of you will feel heard by the other.

This method has proven very successful in bringing couples back to the place where they feel committed and connected to each other again.

I hope this is helpful,

Coach Christine Your Tango Expert

Hello brbegrl,

This is a good question? I would answer it this way. I usually like to bring you and your partner together (if possible) and allow the process flow naturally.

As a coach, if I my intuition shows me that an individual is blocked from moving forward in the relationship, I will coach them individually if he/she is willing.

Otherwise, the relationship can really grow, if the coach can provide insight to both you and your partner through exercises, homework and one-on-one coaching.

Coach Keith Your Tango Expert

Hi brbegirl,

I would have to agree with some of the other answers already provided...with a twist. Whether to proceed with individual or couples counseling can depend on the issues that get brought up. Obviously, even individual concerns have an impact on a couple, but how they get addressed can be influenced by just how serious a concern is.

For instance, I was working with a couple where the woman had experienced a major trauma. The man knew about it, but it was readily apparent that she had not processed the trauma at all. So, while there was work that I did with them as a couple focusing on communication and support and trying to address some issues, I recommended that the woman meet with another psychologist to address her concerns in a more intensive fashion.

In your case, it might be optimal to sit down with your significant other and a counselor together, then based on what comes up make a determination of what the most effective and efficient course of treatment should be. If the counselor wants to meet with you both individually and as a couple, have a discussion about what information from the individual sessions will be shared in the couples sessions.

Whatever happens, going to seek the help you need is always a good step. Take care...

Dr. Gray (