Couples Therapy Retreat- Transform Your Relationship in 14 Hours

couples therapy retreat florida

When it comes to the nuanced, messy, and complicated work of marriage counseling, there are never guarantees regarding results. However, a model of couples therapy gaining more traction and promise in the field offers couples the opportunity to work toward fixing their issues in a condensed, accelerated format format through a couples therapy retreat.

I’m going to break down the difference between traditional and intensive couples therapy retreats Florida so you can consider the best fit for you and your partner.

What is a Couples Therapy Retreat?

Traditionally, couples therapy occurs in weekly 50-minute sessions over the course of several months. A marriage counselor will meet the couple each week for 50 minutes at a time to work on addressing conflict, improving communication, and bringing them closer together.

While this model works well for some couples, others face challenges incorporating a weekly meeting for therapy into their schedule after they take account of work, childcare, and family responsibilities. Each missed session can disrupt the momentum and set the progress back.

Additionally, some couples find it difficult to gain traction in weekly, 50 minute sessions. A marriage retreat consolidates 12 weeks (3 months) of therapy into a single weekend. This model allows clients to dive deeper into therapy without disruption and to jumpstart their progress.

Different therapists and models of therapy will structure intensive sessions slightly differently. Using the Emotion Focused Therapy model, which is the model I will detail below, a therapist works through the same steps, stages, and goals of treatment in an intensive method.

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A therapist working from the Emotion Focused Therapy model traditionally works with a couple on a weekly basis. The treatment structure looks something like this:

  • Session 1: Both partners present, define problem and goals for treatment
  • Session 2: One partner present only, review individual history
  • Session 3: Second partner present only, review individual history
  • Sessions 4- Onward: Both partners present, work toward goals for treatment

Due to the complex nature of working with couples, it is critical that the therapist perform these detailed intake assessment sessions at the individual and relationship level. Still, this often means couples are in therapy for 4 weeks before the transformative part of treatment really begins.

In intensive couples therapy, the schedule tends to look something like this:

Day 1:

  • 9:30-12:30- discuss immediate concerns and goals + each individual session
  • 12:30-1:30- you’ll break for lunch while the therapist compiles info so far + creates a plan
  • 1:30-5pm- conjoint sessions as a group of three toward the goals established

Day 2:

  • 9:30-12:30- continue working as a group of three and discuss reflections from prior day
  • 12:30-1:30- you’ll break for lunch while therapist evaluates progress
  • 1:30-5pm- deeper emotional work where we work on reestablishing your connection and consolidate the work

While you are working toward the same goals of creating greater connection, improving communication patterns, or healing from wounds like mistrust or betrayal, the intensive format can guide couples to their goals more quickly.

This intensive format of therapy offers benefits and a unique way to manage the traction that can be difficult to maintain over the course of weekly therapy, where sessions are stopping and starting over and over.

In addition to having the full attention of the couples, the couple gets the full attention of the therapist. While in weekly therapy a counselor is jumping from one client to the next all day, in a couples therapy retreat, the couple gets the undivided attention and clinical focus of the therapist.

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Is a Couples Therapy Retreat for You?

A couples therapy retreat is a great option for couples who would like to improve some aspect of their relationship, even if that just means that you’ve been really disconnected and you’d like to prioritize your relationship again. You do not need to be in a crisis in order to get something out of these weekends.

If you are in a crisis, many couples prefer an intensive session because progress is much more urgent. Intensives can help to process the pain of a betrayal or loss, while equipping the couple with communication skills to address those issues when the retreat is over.

You don’t need to be married, either. A couples therapy retreat Florida is a wonderful opportunity for couples to understand and heal faulty interaction patterns as they move toward a more committed partnership.

The couple also does not need to live in the same location as the therapist. Many couples turn the intensive sessions into a marriage getaway. Our practice serves Southwest Florida, where some couples live, and some couples travel to, for a marriage retreat in Florida. The retreat is a chance to focus on each other, apart from all the distractions of regular life.

The couples therapy retreats Florida most often serve as the beginning of a therapeutic relationship. After the weekend, intensive marriage retreats, the therapist can continue to see the couple on a weekly or biweekly basis and build off of the foundation the intensive created.

One potential drawback of therapy in an intensive format is the, yes, intensity of treatment. Sometimes, 50 minutes of talking about emotions and conflict is all the a couple can manage at a time.

With that, it’s important to consider if you have the skills to manage your emotions throughout the weekend as difficult situations and intense emotions come up.

Just like regular couples therapy, the following are contraindications for intensive couples therapy:

  • Ongoing affairs
  • Substance abuse
  • Domestic violence, physical, emotional, sexual abuse
  • Suicide ideation or attempt in the past year

Couples in this category should seek their own individual therapy first and then reassess their readiness for couples work.

Before a scheduling a weekend intensive, a therapist will screen the couple. Screening will assess for any of the aforementioned contraindications as well as overall fit.

Once scheduled, the therapist will send the couple preparation and intake paperwork. These documents seek to:

  • Understand each individual
  • Highlight relational history
  • Address pain points

All of this information is gathered to make the most of the first day of therapy.

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Final Thoughts

In terms of therapy that will work for a couple, there is no one size fits all. Sustained change happens slowly with persistence over time. Still, intensives are a way to set couples up to support one another in a new relationship pattern and discover the root of their issues more quickly. From there, they can focus on practicing new communication with each other.

A marriage intensive gives couples a chance we hardly ever get in modern living. This is the chance to slow down, turn phones off, be away from work and kids, and really focus on each other. These conditions set couples up to address and transform core issues in their relationship.

Contact us for more information on our affordable marriage retreats in Southwest Florida.

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