Conducting the Clinical Intake with Couples in RE Therapy
Typically, the therapist’s initial contact with the couple is by telephone. Sometimes the person initiating therapy indicates that the partner is either reluctant to come in or is adamantly opposed to the idea of therapy. In these cases I explain that while I would be willing to meet with that person alone, nonetheless, because relationship issues are involved, it would be preferable for both parties to participate in couples counseling and to do so from the beginning. I also stress, in response to the explicitly stated or implied distrust of “therapy,” that my focus is on teaching relationship skills focused on improving communication, problem solving, and behavior change. Most people respond very favorably to this frame of reference. I then inquire whether the person who called would be willing to talk with his or her partner about coming in for a first appointment. I also suggest that the partner call me in order to ask me any questions he or she might have.