FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Below is a list of frequently asked questions regarding couples therapy. It is normal and encouraged to ask many questions when choosing to work with a couples therapist. If you can’t find what you are looking for, please get in touch.
WHO IS DR. WILDEY, AND WHAT ARE HER CREDENTIALS?
Dr. Wildey is a licensed clinical psychologist and a professor in the psychology department at Grand Valley State University. She has over a decade of clinical experience after her graduate training specializing in couples therapy and working with relationships of all types. Dr. Wildey is licensed in the state of Michigan (License #6301015706) and can work with couples across the state of Michigan. You can learn more about Dr. Wildey here.
WHAT IS COUPLES THERAPY?
Couples therapy is a therapy approach that centers on both members within a romantic relationship to help them achieve their goals for their relationship. Some examples of goals for therapy may include improving communication, helping to navigate a particular or ongoing conflict, rebuilding connection and intimacy, or navigating a break-up/divorce in a healthy manner. Goals are determined typically during the first couple sessions of therapy.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED COUPLES THERAPY?
Nearly all couples can benefit from therapy together with a trained professional who specializes in couples therapy. Whether it is to address existing problems or challenges, strengthen an already stable relationship, or simply develop skills to help navigate a particular crisis, couples therapy can be beneficial. For those unsure about the need for therapy, considerations should include whether the relationship is negatively impacting quality of life like one's sleep, job, parenting abilities, appetite, decision-making abilities, or relationships with friends and loved ones. Indicators such as repetitive arguments, a lack of communication, affection, or intimacy, and feeling more like "roommates" instead of romantic partners may suggest that it is time for a couple to seek the assistance of a trained professional.
WHAT TYPES OF COUPLES DOES DR. WILDEY WORK WITH?
Dr. Wildey works with couples from diverse backgrounds, encompassing differences in age, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. Furthermore, the couples she engages with represent a spectrum of relationship types. Whether couples seek counseling during the early stages of dating, for pre-marital guidance, marital counseling, long-term relationship support, or working through a separation, Dr. Wildey is committed to assisting couples at any stage or type of relationship.
WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF SUCCESS IN THERAPY?
Success in therapy varies for each couple. In a positive and productive therapy process, many couples gain greater clarity about decisions that may shape their lives, including the choice to stay together or part ways. It is essential to note that couples therapy cannot guarantee a specific outcome. However, several factors are linked to a more productive and positive therapy experience. First and foremost, couples should ensure they work with a licensed professional specifically trained in couples therapy. The primary indicator of 'success' in therapy is the therapeutic relationship; both members of a couple should feel comfortable and connected with the therapist. Therapists with advanced training in couples therapy understand how to build connections with both members of a couple more effectively than therapists without specialized training. With that said, evaluating this connection may take a few sessions, and if a good fit is not perceived early on, couples are encouraged to explore alternative providers. Although specific therapy techniques are important, they typically take a backseat to the crucial relationship and connection between the therapist and the couple. Dr. Wildey works diligently to establish a relationship with the couples she works with, involving trust, support, and validation. Simultaneously, she challenges and encourages couples to expand their thinking, beliefs, and understanding of one another. Recognizing that her approach may not suit everyone, Dr. Wildey checks in after a few sessions to assess fit. If her style is not a good fit for a couple, she provides recommendations to other therapists. Dr. Wildey is committed to ensuring that couples feel a strong connection with their therapist, even if she does not provide those services.
WILL DR. WILDEY TELL US WHO IS "RIGHT" AND WHO IS "WRONG"?
No. Dr. Wildey works to understand both partner's viewpoints, and she will validate and empathize with both partners. The job of a couples therapist is not to take sides or place blame on one partner versus the other, even in cases where one partner might have done something that violated the trust of the other (e.g., had an affair).
WHAT CAN I EXPECT IN THE FIRST SESSION?
In the first session (and typically the first few sessions), Dr. Wildey will discuss the process of therapy, gather a significant amount of background information on the relationship as well as each individual’s own life, and goals for treatment will be established.
WHAT IS A TYPICAL SESSION LIKE?
A typical session can depend on the needs and goals for each couple. Sometimes there may be a specific agenda or issues/progress/homework to discuss, and other times the entire session may focus on core emotions or something that requires additional processing. Active participation and collaboration are important to increase chances of improvement. There may be some homework/activities that are assigned for future sessions or simply things to work on before the next session. Generally, a brief check in will occur at the start of a session to assess for any significant changes since the last session, and billing and scheduling will be discussed at the end of the session.
HOW LONG WILL THERAPY LAST?
Unfortunately, providing an exact answer to this question is challenging, as the number of sessions couples may need varies significantly. Typically, couples engage in therapy for a duration spanning from 8 to 20 sessions. However, the actual number can differ based on specific circumstances. For example, couples focused on building or enhancing specific skills with minimal conflict may require fewer sessions. On the other hand, couples dealing with substantial trauma or trust issues, such as infidelity, may require a greater number of sessions to address their challenges effectively. Generally, the sooner couples seek assistance before their issues become deeply ingrained, the shorter the treatment cycle in therapy tends to be.
HOW OFTEN WILL I NEED TO SCHEDULE SESSIONS?
Typically, therapy starts off more intensive (e.g., weekly or bi-weekly) and might taper off to fewer sessions over time. Many couples who feel they have made significant progress might choose to continue coming for occasional “booster” sessions (e.g., once every couple months) to monitor their progress and have a regular check-in for their relationship.
ARE THERAPY SESSIONS CONFIDENTIAL?
Yes. Clients can trust that all sessions and personal information are held in the strictest confidence. Furthermore, all forms of communication via the SimplePractice Client Portal, teletherapy, email, or phone adhere to high-security standards. Dr. Wildey is ethically and legally obligated to safeguard clients' personal information. The primary exceptions to confidentiality involve cases of suspected child or elder abuse, or situations where there is risk of harm to oneself or another person.
HOW MUCH DO SESSIONS COST? IS INSURANCE ACCEPTED?
Sessions are 75 minutes in length and the cost is $270 per session. Insurance is not accepted. Please see “Rates” for more details.
HOW CAN I SCHEDULE WITH DR. WILDEY?
Please contact Dr. Wildey via email to inquire about scheduling an appointment. As a reminder, Dr. Wildey only practices on Wednesdays from 8:30am-4pm, and she only works with four to five couples per week. As such, there is typically a waiting list.
HOW WILL SESSIONS BE CONDUCTED?
Sessions are currently being conducted via telehealth or in-person. With telehealth services, Dr. Wildey can work with couples across the state of Michigan.