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Couples retreat

Who comes to the private retreats?

I’m amazed and in awe of how hard couples are willing to work to make things better in their relationships. People come wanting to do to things such as rekindle their love, deepen their friendship, to feel closer to one another again, to have support in communication and conflict, or to make some major decisions in regards to their relationships.

The troubles that bring couples to the couples retreat are as varied as the people. Sometimes people have grown apart, other times there has been an affair. They may be having difficulty resolving arguments and want to be able to move past them. Sometimes people come feeling frustrated and wonder whether things will ever get better. Other times one person feels s/he is more committed to the relationship than the other.

Couples who attend are from any cultural and ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation, and stage of life.

What happens during the retreats?

People are often surprised what happens during the retreat. Understandably, some people arrive skeptical: “Is this really going to make a difference?” Sometimes they wonder if they’re going to get blamed for what’s been happening. What often happens though is that the troubles that brought them to the retreat seem much more manageable by the end. Couples often are able to talk about things more honestly and sincerely than they ever have before. They’re often also able to listen much more openly.

Amazing changes can come about. Couples who thought they were headed for separation or divorce have found hope, love, and encouragement still exists in their relationship. Others have found progress in previously “stuck, gridlocked issues.” Many couples are able to utilize new tools to talk about issues calmly, to listen to understand, and to complain without criticizing. Couples are also able to build upon the strengths they already have in their relationships in meaningful and rich ways.

For examples of changes that can occur during the retreat, please go to:

Moving Past Skeletons in the Closet During a Couples Retreat

A Couples Retreat for Counselling Virgins

How to Save a Marriage

What is the retreat agenda?

Prior to the retreat, I will send you questionnaires to complete individually. They will give me an idea of what’s been happening in your relationship-i.e. how you feel you communicate, how things are going in different parts of your lives such as relationships with family and friends, finances, intimacy, or significant events that have occurred. It will also be an opportunity for you to consider what your best hopes are in terms of our time together during the retreat.

The first day of our couples retreat I will meet with each of you individually for an hour. This will give us a chance to talk about some of the information I’ve gathered from your questionnaires and collaborate on your goals for the retreat. It’s also a good time to discuss any questions, concerns, and for you to get acquainted with my approach as a therapist.

After our individual meetings, we will meet as a triad. The goal is to spend the majority of our 10 hours with the two of you meeting with me together, but this may change somewhat depending on what is happening in your relationship.

The agenda is custom-made for you based on your questionnaires, our one-on-one conversations, and what occurs during our time together. It is my intention to work to the best of my ability to meet your needs, wants, and goals as a couple.

What is the approach used during the retreat?

The approach I use during the retreats is called the Sound Relationship House created by John Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman. It entails focusing on the friendship, ways to build a closer connection, things we do that can get in the way of a relationship lasting (called the Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse), things we can do to help us work through conflict contructively, shared visions and goals, trust, and commitment. It’s a really nice framework for thinking about relationships and offers tools that are easy to understand and use.

For more reading on the approach, please see:

The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work

Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage

What Makes Love Last?

What do people say about the retreats?

Press the link to read some comments on the private retreats I’ve offered: Couples Feedback

Work, rest, and relaxation

The couples retreat is an opportunity to make some meaningful changes in your relationship. Although we will be working hard throughout the retreat, there is also ample opportunity for you to enjoy some of the many advantages of being in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. For some ideas, please go to my previous blog: Things to do while you’re at a couples retreat in Banff

 

 

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