The first session of couples therapy or counseling is all about getting to know your clients, understanding their problems, and finding out how each individual perceives the issues in their relationship.

Many therapists ask themselves how to conduct the first session. Is it better to meet with each partner separately at the beginning or should one talk directly with both partners together? This article will help you decide and gives you ideas about the advantages of both models.

After deciding how you want to conduct the first session it’s time to prepare some questions that will help you to learn more about the clients in their first meeting with you. Some counselors and therapists prefer to send a couples therapy intake questionnaire or assessment before starting.


Don’t miss the 26 Must-Try Couples Therapy and Counseling Exercises and Activities


The advantage of using this tool is that you already know the most important details about your clients before meeting them which will make your preparation a lot easier. You can immediately start working with your clients as you got the standard questions out of the way.


So what are the most important questions to ask in the first couples therapy intake session?


Get the basic information:


  • The time they are together as a couple and if they live together
  • General family situation and background (children, stepchildren and their age, do they live together with them)
  • Jobs
  • Periods of separation and the history of their relationship
  • Situations, events, and stressors that may have contributed to the current relationship issues
  • Recent changes in their lives and relationship


It’s recommended to use a couples therapy intake form before the first session to get this fundamental background information about your clients. These questions make sure you won’t miss anything. You will have all this data at your fingertips for future reference if you ask them to share their answers in CleverMemo with you.

After you got this basic information it’s time to find out why they decided to start a couples therapy. It’s the chance to learn more about their relationship, the dynamics, the roles, feelings, and issues.


Example Questions for the First Couples Therapy/Counseling Session:


  • Why did you decide to start couples therapy?
  • What did you try to solve your problems before starting this therapy?
  • Why do you want to stay together?
  • What is the best about your relationship?
  • Which qualities, strengths, and traits do you like about your partner?
  • What do you like about each other?
  • What don’t you like about your partner?
  • How would you describe each other’s roles in the relationship?
  • What is good about your relationship now?
  • How would you rate the chances that things can improve?
  • What could each of you do to promote change?
  • How much are you willing to work at creating the desired change?
  • 57 additional Couple Therapy Questions for your next session


You will often get more honest and in-depth responses if you ask clients these questions separately. That’s why it’s recommended to assign them as homework before the meeting and then get into details during the first session.


Goals for the Couples Therapy:


What changes and improvements do you want to see in the relationship?


It’s important to find out if both partners are equally motivated and willing to work on their relationship. They should also create and shape a vision for their ideal relationship. Having a common goal is crucial for the success of any couples therapy.

The Couples Therapy and Counseling Toolkit includes 14 worksheets and exercises. It enables you to support clients on their way to living in the most perfect relationship they could ever dream up! The Tools provide you with all the worksheets and exercises you need to guide your clients on the path to a relationship of love, harmony, personal development and growth.