FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Below you can find a list of our frequently asked questions. If you’re unable to find the answers you’re looking for, don’t fret. We’re here to help you in any and every way we can, so please get in touch.
HOW CAN I JUSTIFY THE COST OF A COUPLES RETREAT?
The cost of a private intensive couples retreat may seem hard to justify until you consider the costs of allowing your marriage to continue down its rocky trajectory:
The average divorce without children costs $10,100 and takes 11 months. (1)
The average divorce with children costs $15,500 and takes 15 months. (1)
The cost in New York increases to $24,500 for a divorce leading to trial on two or more issues. (2)
The cost of a divorce that involves child custody and/or child support issues is about 50% more expensive than the average. (2)
Alimony payments can leave the supporting spouse with 40% of their income or less, depending on the number of children and the financial burden of the supported spouse. (3)
Divorce creates deep and permanent emotional impacts on children, including feelings of guilt, emotional sensitivity, difficulty adapting to change, anger/irritability, destructive behavior, poor academic performance, lack of interest in social activities, increase in health problems and loss of faith in marriage and the family unit.
Viewed in this light, the cost to attend a couples retreat is much lower than it seems, both financially and emotionally. You have the incredible opportunity to rescue your family, its legacy, and your most important relationship.
HOW DO I SIGN UP FOR THE RETREAT?
Click the 2023 Retreat tab on the menu bar to reserve your spot. If you have any questions, please fill out our contact form or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will happily answer them all!
WHY DO YOU BELIEVE SO MUCH IN YOUR INTENSIVE COUPLES RETREATS?
Because you make more progress, sooner:
A private intensive couples retreat offers change, connection and healing in days rather than the months or years required for an hour-per-week therapy session.
You stay focused on your relationship, each day. There is no wasted time in our group or private coaching sessions.
Starting with orientation, history, goals and focus and your current situation, you immediately begin to work on your relationship.
Individual sessions focusing on each spouse are easily integrated into the course of the day to deal with individual trauma/difficulties in the present and then integrated into the relationship work.
The effects of trauma (broadly defined) are being recognized as a primary contributor to most presenting problems; attachment style and personal relationship history are recognized as contributing to the harmful conflict cycles couples get caught up in and these problems can be addressed, resolved and integrated quickly, not over months or years.
Actual problem-solving, individual attachment, stabilization, and practical living strategies can be integrated “here and now” as you focus on the relationship needs throughout the day.
WHAT TYPES OF PROBLEMS CAN BE SOLVED IN A COUPLES RETREAT?
Every couple is unique in how they connect to one another and the issues they face in their relationship. We have worked with couples facing all sorts of problems and found that couples can recover from anything, provided that both partners are motivated to do the work. Below are some reasons why couples decide to embark on a private intensive retreat:
Contemplating divorce: Most couples that come to a retreat have been in a state of distress for quite some time. Often one or both partners have already contemplated divorce. It is imperative that couples in this situation address their core issues immediately, or else divorce may be the inevitable conclusion. Weekly hour-long therapy or coaching sessions simply do not provide enough time or depth to work into the bulk of the resentment, distrust and attachment issues faced by couples in a situation this emotionally precarious. A retreat provides a safe and supportive environment where couples have the opportunity to unpack all the aspects of their relationship that are causing them to suffer, transforming their distrust into a framework of communication and understanding and restoring their faith and trust in one another.
Going through an affair: Often couples come to the retreat as a result of newly discovered infidelity, or an old affair that has not been properly healed yet. An affair is a powerful act of betrayal and can instantly thrust a relationship into serious emotional turmoil, destroying the trust and safety that couples feel towards one another. A retreat gives each partner the time they need to share their side of the story, go deep into the emotional impact that the affair has had on them and to take the necessary steps to rebuild broken trust and move forward with renewed vows.
Problems with emotional and sexual intimacy: Intimacy can degrade over time as poor communication and old relationship wounds are left unhealed. As partners begin to feel emotionally and sexually distant from one another, physical attraction often suffers as well, further increasing the negative cycle and their sense of disconnection. A retreat gives couples the opportunity to heal old relationship wounds, reestablish trust and intimacy and to learn tools they can use to effectively navigate future issues before they affect the foundation of the relationship.
Empty nest syndrome or living like roommates: In long-term relationships, there is a tendency for partners to take each other for granted. This often has to do with responsibilities and stressors outside of the relationship; e.g. children, work-related stress, etc. After such a long time of neglecting their emotional connection, the couple may end up feeling more like roommates than partners. This may persist for some time but often comes to a head with a major life change, like children leaving home for college, or one or both of the spouses retiring. A retreat provides the opportunity for couples to reestablish why they are together and to remember why they began their relationship in the first place, rekindling lost passion and developing a renewed sense of connectedness.
Mid-life crisis or major life changes: A mid-life crisis can often trigger turmoil in a relationship, as one or both partners reevaluate the premise of their connection and the meaning they derive from their life. A crisis can occur when somebody hits certain age milestones, loses their longtime career or retires, sending them into a deep cycle of questioning and despair. A retreat gives a couple the opportunity to deeply analyze the confusion and disconnection generated by such large life changes, develop important coping skills for the shifts that are happening and to reaffirm their decision to stay together and continue building their relationship.
Pre-marital issues or fine-tuning your connection: It's easy to fall in love, but often quite challenging to stay that way. It takes emotional intelligence, well-established communication skills, and a robust set of tools to address all of the ups and downs that occur over the course of a relationship. Proactive couples will choose to address these issues before they become a larger problem, often before they take the plunge into marriage or soon after to ensure that the relationship stays on track.
WHAT TYPES OF PROBLEMS CANNOT BE SOLVED?
There are three issues that we call the Three A's that make it impossible for us to move forward:
Abuse: The core of this work is creating a foundation of trust. Abuse completely destroys trust between partners and makes it impossible to safely open up to one another.
Active Addiction: Active addiction is a compulsive behavior that interferes with the relationship. It has equally deleterious effects on the trust shared by partners. An intensive retreat only works where active addiction has been successfully surrendered.
An Active Affair: A huge part of this work is the willingness of partners to engage in the coaching process together. The goal is to reestablish trust and connection and deepen your bond. During an active affair, your loyalties and connection have been severed, leaving your partner vulnerable. This scenario makes it nearly impossible to move forward with meaningful work until the affair has ended.
WHAT RESULTS CAN I EXPECT FROM A COUPLES RETREAT?
Eliminate patterns of behavior and interactions that do not work: Learn why your relationship is in conflict and why conflicts and resentments "stack" over time. Find out how your personalities interact and recognize the key challenges that push you off track in your relationship.
Identify the negative cycle that your relationship is stuck in: Learn about your unconscious emotional need and attachment style and how it affects your ability to stay connected to your partner, complicates your ability to proactively work through issues, and contributes to personal attacks, blaming, withdrawal and shutting down. Learn new ways of coping with challenges so that you can see the cycle as your shared enemy, not your partner, and maintain a positive connection even in the midst of challenging moments.
Learn positive communication skills: Learn how to communicate about anything, even difficult issues, without triggering and disconnecting from your partner. The tools you learn will support your ability to make requests of your partner, set healthy boundaries and feel truly heard in your relationship.
Learn tools to address negative feelings: Our emotions are at the core of all our relationship problems. You will learn tools to enhance your communication skills, self-confidence and self-soothing abilities, and the ability to more effectively support your partner through their own feelings.
Build a foundation of trust with your partner: Our marriage can only thrive on a solid foundation of trust. You will gain an enhanced understanding of your partner and derive more enjoyment from your relationship as you learn to strengthen your connection with regular daily practices.
DO YOU USE A KNOWN, DOCUMENTED, ORGANIZED AND RESEARCHED APPROACH?
Our intensive couples retreats are based on the science of healthy bonding in adult relationships most clearly described by Sue Johnson, the originator of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, in her book Hold Me Tight.
We use a systematic, empirically-validated theory of adult bonding as the basis for understanding and alleviating relationship problems. The benefits offered by a retreat persist long after returning back to your daily life. (Research)
Below is an overview of the steps involved in this process:
A clear assessment of the relationship and each partner
Self-awareness and recognition of your personal external actions and “inner cycles” and how they are related to your Dominant Childhood Feelings, Dominant Adult Fears, Dominant Emotional Need, and relationship history and early family conditions of love and attachment.
A recognition of the negative cycles your relationship gets caught up in
Discovering the emotions that drive your behavior (primary emotions such as hurt, fear, powerlessness, and secondary emotions such as anger and frustration)
Discovering your behavior in the cycle such as withdrawal and going away or pursuit and aggressive demanding
Recognizing and stopping the cycle and then, in safety, exploring deeper feelings, wants, needs and yearnings as well as fears
Learning to recognize “raw spots” that trigger you into old emotional patterns and create “rocky moments” in your present relationship
Understanding the meaning you each give and the motivations you ascribe to your partner’s behavior and feelings, your personal story, and your view of the world
Strengthening your bond through carefully crafted emotional interactions
Then healing attachment wounds from the past (early in life) and relationship wounds in your present relationship