Intensive Marriage Counseling
3 Day Marriage Intensive Retreat
Intensive marriage counseling is condensed, private counseling spread out over three days; you will receive individually targeted, relationship expertise, from two of Vancouver’s best marriage and family therapists. This professional guidance will allow you and your spouse to focus on building a thriving, healthy, satisfying relationship.
The Intensive program will be able to address your needs around a variety of topics including: communication, infidelity, intimacy and sexual issues, financial strains, blended families, children, and career conflicts.
Intensives are designed for couples who:
- Desire results quickly
- Are experiencing significant distress in their relationships
- Are unable to attend traditional therapy each week due to scheduling conflicts or work commitments
- Are prominent members of a community, or who live in a small town, and want more privacy while they work on their relationship
- Have high conflict relationships in which communication is non existent
- Couples who are trying to determine whether or not they should stick it out, or call it quits
- Have tried traditional, weekly marriage counseling and found the results less than desirable.
What You Can Expect
During your three-day intensive, You will be able to go through a process that usually takes five to six months for couples in traditional marriage counseling to achieve.
Our relationship experts will help you to enhance your marriage through conflict resolution, effective communication, building a friendship between your partner and yourself, and opening the doors to a better understanding of you and your partner’s sexual needs.
Intensive counseling is held at our private practice located in the historic Officers Row in Vancouver, WA. You can expect to receive 12 hours of focused relationship work to be completed over the course of 3 days.
Some couples prefer to stay at hotels nearby to allow for greater flexibility and to maintain complete focus on the work they are doing in sessions. We understand that life can be busy and it may feel more convenient for you to stay at home and participate in marriage intensive counseling however, we suggest investing in your marriage by providing your complete undivided attention to your relationship. For this reason we strongly encourage you to make accommodations that will allow you to fully invest in your relationship.
We suggest that you prepare for your sessions, take time off work, find childcare, and arrange for all daily responsibilities to be met during your intensive counseling timeframe.
Your session will be scheduled throughout the 3 day period with breaks. The breaks between sessions are a strategic and an integral part of the intensive format.
The time between sessions should be spent with each other reviewing the material, talking, going for walks, relaxing, napping, or going out to eat. Occasionally, we will provide specific activities for you to complete during this time.
Marriage Intensive Overview
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel or the venue of your choice. Allow yourselves plenty of time so you do not feel rushed. We encourage you to do some sort of physical activity in the morning – a brisk walk, easy jog, yoga, or Pilates – as well as to take a few minutes to ground yourself in whatever quiet, mindful way works for you – e.g. spiritual devotion, meditation, or journal writing.
During this time we will meet together and discuss the history and current state of your relationship focusing on the strengths and goals of your marriage.
Individual Session with Erica
During this session we will focus on identifying areas of high conflict within your relationship, marital stresses and individual triggers. Allowing you to be heard and understood without judgement.
Individual Session with Marissa
During this session we will focus on identifying areas of sexual dissatisfaction, and ways to connect with your partner to increase wholehearted relationship and intimacy satisfaction. This session will allow for a more in-depth focus on how you can enjoy a satisfying sex life with your spouse.
Lunch and Afternoon Break
Use this time to get something to eat, take a walk together, discuss the morning, and take a nap or afternoon rest. You will be tired! Use this time to rest. We will provide you with a list of restaurants and activities you and your partner may wish to take part in while on this break. We suggest something relaxing, going for a walk, taking nap, joining a yoga class, or enjoying a couples massage.
Afternoon Couples Session
We will explain the process for the rest of our sessions and answer any questions you may have. We will work collaboratively to establish a mutual plan of action, taking your marriage from barely surviving to thriving.
We encourage you to have a nice dinner together and spend the evening doing something relaxing that you enjoy. You will have much to talk about. Focus on getting a good night’s sleep.
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel or at another local eatery. Again, allow yourself enough time that you won’t feel rushed. Spend some time preparing yourself for our work together by engaging in at least 15 minutes of physical activity and some mindfulness practice.
Morning Couples Session
We will begin to discuss the hidden narrative that underlie your conflict and what visions you each have for friendship and intimacy.
Lunch and Afternoon Break
Use this time to get something to eat, take a walk together, discuss the morning and get some rest.
Late Afternoon Couples Session
We will meet back together to learn how to manage conflict constructively while working to create a deeper friendship, more intimacy, and positive affect within your relationship.
Enjoy a nice evening together. Hopefully, you will have already made dinner reservations. Explore the area surrounding the Historic Fort Vancouver or Officers Row, you will have much to talk about. Enjoy your time with one another, but be sure to get a good night’s rest.
Please remember to have a good breakfast, and if possible spend some time exercising and preparing yourself prior to our appointment. During this final time together, we will solidify the gains we have made over the past two days and prepare a plan of action for you to use as you move forward together.
This session will focus on deepening you and your spouse’s awareness of what gives your lives meaning and purpose.
Frequently Asked Questions
Check out some of the frequently asked questions in the list below.
If your question isn’t answered here, give us a call at 360-836-4439.
- Each partner should have Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson as well as the Seven Principles for Making a Marriage Work by Dr. John Gottman.
- Fill out all paperwork, including all online assessments.
- Arrange for childcare and time completely off of work.
- Make lodging arrangements (recommendations available upon request)
While some clients feel they have gained what they need during the intensive, I recommend that you continue with counseling once you return to your normal routine. We often can continue to work with couples after intensive couples counseling. However, if this isn’t possible due to proximity, we will gladly give you referrals to therapist in your area you can continue to check in with. Don’t worry, we will work with the other therapist and help make that transition as smooth as possible.
Couples therapy is an investment in your relationship. How important is it to you to have a healthy relationship with your partner? What is it worth to you?
Think of it this way. You may save up a couple thousand dollars to go on an awesome vacation with your partner. Sure, it’s a beautiful place, you have some delicious meals, and your hotel is quite nice. But if your relationship is suffering, your vacation may not be all that you dreamed it would be. Just because you are on vacation does not mean that the negativity and distance within your relationship stays at home.
Another way of looking at your investment in couples therapy is asking yourself if the success and quality of your most significant relationship is as important as your sofa, or the upgraded package on your car – because the cost is about the same.
Additionally, a bad relationship can have negative impacts on both your health and your wallet. Toxic relationships have been shown to shorten your lifespan and are responsible for deteriorating your physical and mental health. Not only is dealing with health concerns expensive, divorce averages $15,000 and adds the expense of maintaining separate households.
If you are seeking couples therapy and you are unsure of the financial commitment, feel free to give us a call anyway. We can provide referrals to other therapists in the area who accept insurance. And, depending upon your current need, we can discuss other resources such as workshops and books that may be helpful as you decide your readiness for couples therapy.
The intensive format has many advantages over traditional weekly therapy sessions:
- Couples in crisis often need results quickly, and intensive settings allow us to make progress faster. In three days, you will spend the focused attention and receive the professional guidance that normally takes four to five months for couples in traditional weekly marriage therapy to achieve.
- Many clients report that it is easier to take a few days completely off of work than to try to get away for a few hours each week for traditional weekly therapy sessions.
- The intense marriage counseling setting allows you to leave the everyday stresses behind and really focus on your relationship without other distractions such as work, kids, church responsibilities, or other family obligations.
- Traveling to a marriage therapist may allow for greater anonymity for couples who are prominent members of the community or who live in smaller towns.
If your mental health insurance benefits include couples counseling, they will most likely cover a portion of the intensive. Please contact your insurance provider for information on marriage counseling coverage and out-of-network benefits. While we do not bill the insurance company directly, we can provide you with the necessary paperwork to submit the claims for insurance or health savings account reimbursement.
*Note that text and email are not secure methods of communication. Please reserve text and email communication for scheduling a time for consultation only. We can discuss the details of your particular situation during our phone consultation.
In order to be fulfilled in our lives and relationships, we have to be willing to invest in those things that matter most to us. Many people invest years of their lives in school and training in order to practice their chosen career, knowing that in the end, it will be worth it. Your marriage is the most important asset you have. People who are happily married are more successful and happier at work. They are less likely to experience burnout and more likely to feel a sense of fulfillment in their chosen career. Research continues to demonstrate the benefits of healthy marriage, inkling longer lifespan! The financial cost associated with divorce attorneys, moving, alimony and child support are only a small representation of the true cost of divorce. The trueexpense is the heartache, emotional exhaustion, loneliness, and despair that accompanies distress in a relationship. While it may sound a bit cliché, the real question is how could you afford not to invest in the one area of your life that research has proven over and over again is your greatest possible source for success and happiness? You spend so much time and energy taking care of people around you. NOW is the time to take care of yourself and your most important relationship.