Online Couples Therapy – What to Expect and Getting Started [2021]

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Online couple’s therapy makes meeting with a therapist as easy as sitting together in your living room. Don’t wait any longer to get the details you need to know to get started with online couple’s therapy. 

Table of Contents

  • What is Couples Therapy? 
  • When to Reach out for Couples Therapy Online
  • What to Expect from Online Therapy? 
  • Online Versus In-Person Couples Therapy
  • How to Find a Therapist
  • Getting the most from Couples Counseling
  • How to Get Started with Online Therapy

What is Couples Therapy? 

Couples therapy is a way to work through difficulties in the relationship, build stronger communication, and reconnect to one another.

Couples therapy builds skills in communicating by adjusting our wording towards each other, as well as, learning to listen to one another. 

Couples therapy processes with the couple what changes they would like to see in the relationship while gaining understanding around unfulfilled wants, desires, and needs.

During couples therapy, you are able to reevaluate your role in the relationship and begin to break old cycles that potentially your family taught you or you learned from past relationships. 

Couples therapy works on rebuilding the relationship while looking at individual contributions and the changes that need to be made in order for both parties in the relationship to feel happier.  

Typically in couples therapy, the therapist will see the couple together for one or two sessions, then will see each member of the couple individually for a session. 

If further individual sessions are needed the therapist will discuss that with you and set you up with another therapist not related to the couples session. 

Couples therapy is not just for heterosexual couples either. Whether you are in a homosexual relationship or polyamorous relationship, you can seek therapy to build these skills as well. 

We involve all partners in therapy, if you want them to be involved. 

Couples therapy is also not just for those who are married or engaged. Couples therapy is for anyone who is in a relationship with someone else. 

Couples therapy not only assists in building your intimate relationship but can also help you to build skills with platonic relationships. 

Therapists who work with couples are able to recognize strengths and challenges in your relationship and we want to work with you to obtain the goals you desire. 

It is always best to reach out for couples therapy sooner rather than later to address concerns in the relationship. Many couples wait until the dreaded “D” word is mentioned and then come in. By then it becomes a last ditch effort to maintain the relationship rather than a genuine interest and reflection to strengthen what there was or is.

There are even options for premarital couples therapy which as a therapist myself, I would suggest for all and every couple, not everyone has the same skills or knowledge as their partners in dealing with conflict or difficulties in a relationship and planning for success is the best practice. 

When to Reach out for Couples Therapy Online

When it comes to most therapy, therapists agree that the best time to start not only online couples therapy, but couples therapy in general is before you feel you need it. 

As mentioned before, premarital counseling with a licensed therapist can be highly beneficial for the future of your relationship as it encourages having more difficult conversations before you get married. 

Some topics that can be discussed in premarital counseling are: 

  • Parenting Styles
  • Debt
  • Religion/Spirituality
  • Childhood traumas
  • Partner expectations and roles
  • Careers and Education 
  • Values and Morals 
  • Political views 
  • Sexual Expectations
  • Financial Expectations
  • Family Health 
  • Boundaries (Physical, Mental, Material, Family, Friends, Work, etc)
  • Mental Health History

Many times in sessions, couples and even individuals will state that they wish they would have been more proactive in healing the situation or having these difficult conversations from the beginning.

Some common challenges that occur with couples are: 

  • Infidelity, including emotional and physical affairs
  • Difficulties with intimacy and sex 
  • Stress around finances, parenting, work-life balance 
  • Major Life transitions such as getting married, having a child, moving, grief 
  • Expectations not being met in the relationship with time together, sex, intimacy, dates, etc. 

There are always opportunities to work on and strengthen your relationship in therapy whether it be a small tune up or some major fixes, online therapy can help you get there. 

In any relationship there can be events that lead to anger, resentment, depression and anxiety which will only increase, the more you delay beginning couples therapy and truly addressing the root of the issues between you and your partner(s). 

What to Expect from Online Therapy?

Online therapy is also known as a video session or telehealth. Online therapy consists of reaching a common goal between the couple but rather than being in the office, we are through a computer/phone screen.

As with most therapies, we will begin the first session by identifying the perspective of the issue and gathering information about the relationship and history of the issue that has arisen. 

A few possible questions that may be asked in the first session would be: 

  • What is bringing you to therapy now?
  • What has or hasn’t worked for your relationship thus far? 
  • How did you meet? What attracted you to each other? 
  • What significant events have you faced in your time together? 
  • What small conflict has arisen in your daily life recently? 

After the first session, your therapist will mostly likely check in and make sure that you and the therapist are a good fit for each other before going deeper into treatment. 

This is highly important, as not every therapist is made for every client and not every client is a good fit for every therapist based on multiple different factors and expertise. 

After the first session, you will also decide with the therapist whether you will be coming weekly or biweekly. 

As a therapist myself, I typically suggest against doing once a month sessions as those tend to be reserved for couples who are on their way out of therapy or may not need as much assistance any more. 

 Each frequency measurement has it’s pros and cons. 

Weekly can be more intensive and may require more of your time and effort, but if you are both committed to it, it can be very beneficial.

 As far as biweekly goes this can be an option for those who need time to implement the techniques a little slower or maybe your work schedule is a little more difficult. Either option is great and can help you reach your goal as long as the dedication, commitment and effort is there. 

After that, each session will begin focusing on how the couple’s cycle is negatively impacting the relationship and if adjustments can be made on a personal level to better the relationship. 

After one or two couples sessions, the therapist will ask to speak to each of you individually for a session as this will give more details into family, personal issues, and some freedom to express concerns that may get overlooked in couples sessions. 

Couples therapy primarily focuses on rebuilding trust and friendship in the relationship through deeper dialogue. 

Online therapy is not too different than in-person therapy but the smaller differences can make an impact on the progress of a couple’s therapy depending on the effort of the couple. 

A few helpful hints in putting your best effort forward is: 

  • Checking wifi speed – needs to be about 10mbps for best connection. 
  • Showing as much as your body in the camera – much of our communication is non-verbal so having the computer several feet away and being able to see the whole couple on the screen is ideal. 
  • Decreasing Distractions– this is for inside distractions and outside distractions. This could be setting up an activity for kids in their own rooms (if old enough) and closing your bedroom door. Also included is putting your phone away and turning off notifications from your computer and phone as those can be highly distracting.
  • Scheduling – by scheduling couples sessions while the kids are napping or at bedtime, this can be beneficial as well. Looking into a babysitter or family member to come over to play with the kids during your session time. 
  • Separate Rooms – this can be beneficial for long distance relationships or even a couple in the same house. If you need your own physical space during the session, you can log in with separate devices in other rooms. 

These are just a few suggestions for a worthwhile session. In therapy, we want to make sure you are able to gain what you need from each interaction with your therapist. 

Online Versus In-Person Couples Therapy

Online therapy can be convenient, safe, and beneficial for the couple. 

Online therapy tends to be more convenient for couples due to work schedules, whether you are working late or have to get up earlier, a session done virtually requires less drive time and a little more flexibility in your schedule. 

During sessions online, it’s not uncommon for a pet or small child to join the session or interrupt at some point. We expect for it to happen as being at home can create those awkward moments. 

During my virtual sessions with clients, typically if a small child or pet interrupts, I will smile and wave and ask them how they are. 

Another benefit of online therapy is being able to stay home with the kids and not have to find a babysitter every week. 

Teletherapy can be beneficial when traveling, if you or your partner have to travel for work, live in another state, are long distance or even deployed, teletherapy is highly beneficial. 

Therapists can send links to both members of the couple and you can still have your session with no problem. 

While being online can be more flexible and during this time a bit safer due to COVID-19; there are also a few drawbacks.

 One of those being spotty internet connection. 

Many times in sessions online, the video will freeze, there will be a delay in sound or completely shut off. 

This can cause some issues as it will disrupt the session and require for phrases to be repeated. 

Another drawback is being in your own space or at home can create more of a comfortableness during a session. 

Which increases the chances of you becoming more tempted to look at your phone, answer a text, have the TV on and be distracted in general; it tends to become more difficult to be present and in the moment when having online therapy as the distractions can be endless. 

Granted being comfortable in your home can also be a benefit but being overly comfortable is when the difficulty comes in. 

Being able to practice skills in your own home can also be a great positive to teletherapy. 

Practicing the skills in your home where you are meant to practice them can create a better correlation in positive responses and the skills you are learning in therapy to be a better couple.

Some other potential drawbacks, is that for the virtual sessions, therapists and clients alike, are unable to read full body language. 

This can create an issue as a decent portion of our communication is through our body. 

There can also be a disconnect between the couple and the therapist when it comes to an intimate setting that creates trust between the two parties. 

Now there are ways to prepare for that by setting up a designated area for therapy, making sure that the TV is off and phones are silenced just like in a face to face session. 

Easy adjustments in the home so that you can have the benefits of a successful session. 

For in-person sessions, you are able to be in a neutral atmosphere and have a designated moment to be a present couple.

 In-person sessions have no interruptions, no issues with wifi giving out and both parties in the couple have a better chance in being fully engaged in the conversation. 

As you can see, both types of sessions can have it’s benefits and drawbacks. As a couple, you will need to choose which is most beneficial for you. 

How to Find an Online Therapist

Some people say the most difficult part of therapy today is finding a therapist you can feel comfortable with. This is even more difficult when you are doing couple’s therapy. You have to find a therapist you both work well with.

Your first stop is Google. You can search couples therapy or marriage therapy to find someone.

Once you find someone, the next step is to visit their website. See if they have any reviews. Hopefully, their website will give you a good idea about what it’s like to work with them.

Another great place to find a therapist is a directory. There are several to choose from. is a great resource, and probably has the most variety of therapists to work with. is another resource that many people use to find a therapist. If you identify as a person of color, you can try

There are also therapy services, like or that you cannot use your insurance for, but you pay a certain amount per month and have access to your therapist through their service. 

Getting the most from Couples Counseling

If you have ever couples counseling before in person, transitioning to online may feel quite different and potentially a little disconnecting at first.

 But, it can also give the therapist a new perspective into your life as well which can create a fuller picture of the stresses and struggles you may deal with as a couple.  

A few tips for couples(or even individual) sessions: 

  • Have a wind-down plan for afterwards: give yourself time to transition back into work or childcare rather than jumping fully back in. Taking time together as a couple to go for a walk or separate from a moment can be highly beneficial so you have time to process and decompress before jumping back in. 
  • Patience is key: It took time for you and your partner to get where you are today and it will take time for you and your partner to get where you want to be. Therapy takes time and so does change. Completing the homework assigned, applying and utilizing tools and techniques suggested and sometimes taking notes in session can result in quicker results. 
  • Committed Scheduling: Knowing when, where, and how to engage in you session can provide some predictable comfort during a time of unpredictability. Keeping your sessions consistent will give you a certain time to be able to process what you are experiencing during the week. 
  • Everything takes work: Relationships take work, it’s almost like having a second job. Relationships take time, consistency, attention, and effort. Just because you are in couples therapy does not mean your relationship is a failure, it actually shows a huge strength in seeking support and assistance.  
  • Your Relationship is the Client: For therapists, the relationship is our client. What I mean by that is that the therapist does not have an agenda. We are not here to take sides nor are we here to tell one person that they are completely wrong and one is completely right. Our job is to help heal and strengthen the relationship between the two of you. We look at the interactions and communication errors that have lead you both to where you are at and teach you how to reach your new goal. 

Understanding what couples therapy means and what it is and is not will help your relationship become and go where you want it too when you decide if couples counseling is right for you. 

How to Get Started with Online Therapy?

Online therapy is similar to In-person therapy as the procedure to start services is the same. 

When you want to begin sessions, call the therapist’s office, they will take down different information from you such as name, address, email address, telephone number, insurance information and credit card information. 

There will be paperwork that both partners will need to fill out before the first online session. 

You will receive a link to e-sign and fill out the needed information after you set up your day and time for therapy. 

Some of the information that will need to be signed are similar to going to a medical doctor’s office- HIPAA Forms, Confidentiality forms, Consent to Treatment, and a questionnaire about what brings you in. 

The office will then set you up with your therapist and give you your first appointment. 

At that time, you can mention that you would like to do virtual sessions. 

The intake coordinator will click a button on our end to allow us to know what type of session it will be. 

The day of the session, you will receive a link via email to begin your session at the designated time. Client’s are more than welcome to change to in-person at any time and vice versa. 

As you can put together, both in person and online therapy has it’s benefits and drawbacks. 

Overall though therapy can be beneficial no matter what platform you utilize. 

Ultimately, it is up to you and your partner what you decide will best help you reach the goals you want to achieve. 

Whichever platform you choose, know that couples’ therapy helps to rebuild empathy, understanding, friendship and love between you and your partner. 

Are you ready to create the relationship you want?

Ready to explore your options?

Reach Out Today

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