Common Couples Therapy Questions

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox, NCC, LPC
Updated May 30, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Relationships can be challenging. Sometimes, couples may seek counseling to navigate conflict, communication challenges, or joint decisions. Studies have found that couples therapy benefits around 70% of those who utilize it. Additionally, attending couples therapy can often be completed short-term, offering valuable support to struggling couples. When reaching out for therapy, you may wonder what a couples therapist will ask you or what couples therapy sessions look like. Learning the common therapy questions can help you show up to your first session prepared.

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Have questions about what to expect in couples therapy?

Counseling questions 

Cultivating a healthy relationship and getting on the same page with your partner can be challenging. However, research has found that healthy relationships are essential to physical and mental well-being.

Couples therapy may be a rewarding tool for couples who want to improve their relationship. For a couple, therapy can allow couples to talk about challenges occurring in the relationship in a safe environment. 

Communication issues can be one of the most significant problems that couples face. Some couples may also want to engage in premarital counseling to identify problematic areas and to understand relationship dynamics before getting married. Marriage is a big step, and a licensed marriage and family therapist can help couples begin on a positive note. Arguments and conflicts may happen for many, even in a good relationship, but if they start to impact your emotional well-being, it may indicate a need to reach out for support. How you decide to approach these relationship problems can strengthen or hurt your partnership. Therapy may help you develop and exercise the skills often required to communicate constructively and resolve issues with your partner, even if you argue. 

Whether you are feeling overwhelmed by daily challenges or trying to overcome past conflicts, marriage counseling can help you problem-solve and strengthen your bond to keep your relationship healthy. By answering marriage counseling questions and couples therapy questions, you can ensure that you and your partner have the same values and feel safe discussing your sex life as you dig deeper into your relationship. While counseling sessions may be tough, they can bring a sense of teamwork to your relationship. 

If you are getting ready to begin therapy, you may wonder what to expect. Often, the therapist will facilitate conversation between you and your spouse or partner. Or you may discuss the issues in your relationship with your therapist, and they can offer recommendations for you both to try. They might begin this process by asking a series of questions and allowing each of you to respond. Before going to your first session, it might make you feel better to know some of the questions commonly asked.

Examples of couples therapy questions:

Below are a few relationship questions married or dating couples might hear from a therapist when they sign up for couples therapy. 

What conflicts or concerns brought you to seek a marriage counselor? 

One of the common couples therapy questions you may be asked at the beginning of the process is related to the reason or reasons that you decided to attend therapy. Still, it can be a difficult question for some people to answer. Try to be honest and let your therapist know if one of you was more receptive to signing up for therapy than the other. 

For a couple, therapy questions can help to get a discussion started and identify problematic areas in your relationship. If you and your partner have not discussed your conflicts in detail, your therapist might offer further prompts to learn more about why you sought support. You and your partner may have differing ideas of what is occurring and feel overwhelmed. You may both have to agree to actively listen and offer support after you ask your partner questions. Even an ideal relationship can involve two people and two different perspectives. You and your partner could choose to make changes to succeed in therapy. Letting your therapist know your perspectives can help them develop a treatment plan specific to your needs within a safe space. 
Do you hope to salvage your relationship? 

During a counseling session, your therapist might ask you questions about whether you hope to stay together, receive advice for a divorce, or consider breaking up. Regardless of your response, your therapist may offer advice and therapeutic techniques to help you handle the conflicts or decisions about your marriage and family. Honest communication about whether the relationship can continue is often beneficial. 

Are you experiencing a lack of trust? 
Many relationships may become tumultuous due to trust issues. These trust issues may sometimes occur due to cheating or unhealthy behaviors. Other times, trust issues may not have a rational basis. A counselor can work with you to improve the trust levels in your relationship and search for ideas to rebuild that connection. Even significant problems such as infidelity may be worked through in couples counseling if both parties work through them in a meaningful way. However, this can be a personal decision and may vary between couples. 

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What type of love do you feel for your partner?

Your therapist may ask questions about how you love your partner and your love languages during couples therapy. In some cases, individuals might feel attached to their partner and have the desire to spend quality time together but do not experience intense feelings of romantic love. If one partner no longer loves the other, this might be expressed in couples therapy. A therapist can offer techniques for reviving a spark or deciding how to proceed. 

People may fall out of love sometimes, and they can also stop being attracted to one another. However, this process does not necessarily mean that the flame cannot be rekindled. Some individuals might love their partner as a best friend or companion. In these cases, they may be dedicated to reviving romantic feelings. 

It might be challenging for your partner to hear that you don’t love them as you did before. However, honest communication can help you move forward. 

Are you satisfied with the intimacy in your relationship? 

Conflict may arise if one partner feels that the intimacy levels in the relationship are insufficient. Many couples report sexual incompatibility. This incompatibility may create challenges or desires to partake in outside sexual relationships. A sex or marriage therapist could help couples discuss these concerns and come up with solutions without causing one partner to feel unheard.  

Sex may be an essential focus or aspect of a relationship for many people, but it isn’t for everyone. Some people, like those who identify as asexual, might not experience sexual attraction or an urge to partake in sexual acts. Discussing any incompatibilities, sexualities, or desires may be beneficial. Some couples might explore polyamory, break up, or change the rules of their relationship. Note that violating someone’s sexual consent because you are married or in a serious relationship can be considered sexual assault. Even if you are experiencing sexual frustration, coercion or assault is not the answer and is illegal. Discuss and describe your concerns with your therapist for further information.

If you or a loved one is experiencing abuse, contact the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Support is available 24/7.

Do you see a future together?

Finally, your therapist may ask you questions to determine whether you and your partner feel like the relationship has a future. If your future goals align with your partner’s, it could be a sign that you hope to repair your connection. 

If one person cannot see a future with the other, it could mean that significant work may be in order or that the relationship may be ending. Finding a way to see a future together could be a goal of counseling. Answer this question truthfully and discuss your concerns with your counselor. Trying to align your goals for the future may not always be simple, but it might become more straightforward when you speak with your partner openly about their desires.

Emotionally focused therapy for couples

Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) is an effective couples strategy that focuses on the present rather than on past issues or concerns. Many issues that couples have are based on past problems and actions. The anger and resentment that may occur may have to be discussed in the present, and not left on the back burner, to move forward. 

EFT is a way to help couples get their relationship back to a healthier point. This type of therapy generally involves three stages. The couple may need to realize that their insecurities and distance are harming the chances of the relationship moving forward. This step involves stopping any adverse interactions with one another to halt the cycle that may be keeping the relationship on the rocks.

The next stage of this therapy can involve changing how you interact with your significant other. Discussions about fears, expectations, and many other topics may occur. This stage involves a healing conversation where a couple may learn to talk to each other and figure out how to meet each other’s needs.

Finally, the third step of emotionally focused couples therapy involves advice from the therapist on avoiding falling back into the same negative cycles. For this to work, it may be imperative to learn from past mistakes. If you can continue to have healthy conversations in the future instead of falling into unhealthy patterns, you may be able to lead a happier life together. Focusing on the emotional health of all parties involved can be possible. Still, it may take a commitment to honesty and a willingness to let go of the past.

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Have questions about what to expect in couples therapy?

Couples counseling options

When starting off, questions to ask may include determining how often to go, where to attend sessions, and what plan the therapist has for you. Many couples may face barriers to treatment, such as scheduling, availability, cost, or availability. Although it can be a great resource for some, couples counseling can be expensive, and some therapists in your area may not offer it. If you relate, consider online counseling. 

Online counseling can be done from home, and two parties can remotely join from different locations if required. This type of counseling is often more convenient for couples because it allows them to schedule sessions when they are available. Additionally, online counseling can be cheaper than in-person methods. One study found that online counseling was more effective than traditional therapy for couples, and many of the participants found it preferable. 

The success of therapeutic treatment can depend on the patients and the practitioner. It may be important to follow directions and complete any homework before attending your next session. If you’re interested in signing up for individual support to discuss your concerns, consider a platform like BetterHelp, which offers therapists knowledgeable in research-backed treatments. If you want to sign up for couples treatment online, you can try a site like Regain, which offers similar features to BetterHelp but focuses on couples therapy.  
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“Janie has been listening to my concerns and the things that are affecting me and my relationship. We have just started working together but she has given me a lot of good things to think about, recommended some reading, and is going to send me some prompts to think of ways to phrase my thoughts to my wife in ways that do not make her feel that I am attacking her or that she needs to be defensive. I look forward to continuing to work with Janie to hopefully save my marriage.”

“Pamela has been a GREAT counselor! I needed clarity on my marriage and talking to her was so, so helpful. My husband chose not to get counseling with me, but I still got a lot of value out of speaking to Pamela on my own. 10/10, can’t recommend her enough!”

Takeaway

When you sign up for couples therapy, your therapist may ask you a few questions about your goals, insights, and emotions. Being honest, providing detailed responses, and actively listening can be components of a successful first session. If you’re interested in trying couples therapy, consider reaching out to a therapist or another mental health provider for further insight and support. 
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