Translations Of Awkward Phrases In A Couple's First Counseling Session

Feel more prepared for your session.

Couple in a therapy session, feeling one way, acting opposite Jacob Lund | Canva

As a couples therapist, I am privy to the kinds of conversations and relationship defining moments that laypeople have to turn on reality TV to witness.

Most couples are nervous during their first sessions and it may be hard to draw them out about how they really feel about the relationship. (Hint: if you’re in my office, you’re not thrilled.)



This post can give you a window into what people say in their initial intake sessions and what they really mean.

1. Our sex life is fine.

Translation: Our sex life is terrible.


RELATED: 9 Signs Your Stagnant Relationship Is Quickly Dying

2. I really respect him as a father.

Translation: The one thing I can’t complain about is he usually remembers to pick the kids up at daycare.

3.  She really puts the kids first.

Translation: If I had just suffered a massive stroke, she would step over my unconscious body to keep bedtime on schedule.

RELATED: Why My Marriage Always Comes Before My Kids

4. Sure, we could improve our communication.

Translation: I keep forgetting why she said we’re here. If she just stopped complaining we would be fine.

5. There are some issues with his parents.

Translation: I get a nervous twitch before any major holiday that could require seeing my in-laws. During their visits I require sedation.


6. I’m still attracted to him.

Translation: If he had a personality transplant I could conceive of having sex with him again.

RELATED: What It Really Means If You're Not Attracted To Your Partner Anymore

7. He doesn’t make me feel special.

Translation: on Mother’s Day he got me a card, and by “he” I mean the kids brought one home from school. It is unclear whether he noticed that I lost 20 pounds. I am considering lighting myself on fire to see whether he notices and/or extinguishes me. Possibly if I was in front of the television.

8. She doesn’t appreciate me.

Translation: If I didn’t provide a paycheck and some childcare I believe she would have already started sleeping with the contractor redoing our kitchen. That guy gets way more compliments than I do.


9. He doesn’t listen to me.

Translation: People need more than a three second conversation in between checking email and watching TV. Even the goddamn contractor listens to me more than he does. And he’s cute.

10. I am the only one trying here.

Translation: Right now my deepest wish is that you take an hour or so to explain to my spouse why they are dead wrong. You and I will shake our heads and give each other sidelong glances when my spouse is being particularly ridiculous. After the first few sessions, my spouse will have an epiphany about how crappy s/he has acted, applauded by both myself and you, the therapist. Champagne will be uncorked and my deepest needs and desires will be met in my marriage thereafter.



RELATED: 5 Signs A Marriage Cannot Be Saved (And You Should Stop Trying)


Dr. Samantha Rodman Whiten, aka Dr. Psych Mom, is a clinical psychologist in private practice and the founder of DrPsychMom. She works with adults and couples in her group practice Best Life Behavioral Health.