When we are hurting or disconnected in our relationships, it impacts our lives tremendously. You are ready to make change and I know I can be helpful.
The most common questions couples have are addressed in the ‘FAQS’ below. Please look these over and reach out if you need more information or are interested in booking a Private Couples Retreat or Therapy Intensive.
Do you do weekly couples counseling?
No, I only do private couples retreat or therapy intensives.
I think they are much more effective than traditional therapy and I consistently get great results with my couples.
Can I sign up for the waitlist for a Workshop?
I do not have any Workshops scheduled and would not want you to put help for your relationship on hold indefinitely. I encourage you consider either a private couples retreat or therapy intensive with me or finding another Workshop in the area. I am sorry about that. 🙁
What is a Private Couples Retreat or Therapy Intensive?
It’s the only way I am currently treating couples.
Although I am a therapist and have over 20 years working with couples, I view myself as a Relationship Coach.
Instead of a weekly hour with couples like a traditional therapist does, I work with couples over 3 or 4 days and focus on teaching concrete skills/tools so couples can communicate and connect better.
If you are interested, then read more about my private couples retreats or therapy intensives.
How long are Private Couples Retreats or Intensives?
There are two options:
Three days: This option is a good fit for couples wanting to learn how to connect and communicate more effectively. Using structured conversations, you apply the tools and address issues/topics that are relevant in your relationship.
Four days: This option allows for couples with many concerns to have the space and time to work through various topics. Additional topics may be addressed, such as ‘Sexual Intimacy’ or a ‘Relationship Betrayal’ or you may use the space and time to strengthen your skills and learn additional communication tools. You are able to do more work, feel a deeper connection and leave with more confidence.
Any Retreat or Intensive can be three or four days with the exception of the Affair Recovery & Betrayal Repair Intensive. Due to the complexity of hurt involved, the Affair and Betrayal Intensive must be four days.
What is the itinerary for a Retreat?
This description below is a general overview. If there has been an affair or betrayal, the itinerary addresses those needs differently.
Science Behind Our Relationships
In the AM, you learn the science of relationships and why you get stuck in the same places even though you desperately want to change. Together, we determine your relationship’s unique cycle and you begin to make sense of your partner’s behaviors.
Lunch Break (90 mins)
Relationship Assessment & Retreat Plan
In the PM, I meet with each of you individually to complete your Relationship Assessment. Privately, we explore more about your own history, your history of relationships, perspective on your current relationship and goals for the Retreat/Intensive.
We end the day with a summary of the assessment and creating a Retreat Plan for addressing your relationship concerns.
Our ‘Raw Spots’
In the AM, you learn about more about your partner’s inner world. Through structured conversations, you identify and share ‘raw spots’ that lead to arguments or silence.
Lunch Break (90 mins)
In the PM, we may have individual sessions if your Retreat Plan includes this. This optional work addresses wounds or stressors that create blocks in your ability to connect.
Learning How to Listen and Ask Questions
As a couple, you practice listening skills and help your partner feel understood. We also address how to prevent conflicts through effective connecting and communication.
Our Past ‘Baggage’
In the AM, a structured conversation helps you identify and learn how to address some of the ‘baggage’ you bring to your current relationship.
Lunch Break (90 mins)
In the PM, we may have additional individual sessions if your Retreat Plan includes this or it’s clear this would be helpful to increase the connection in the relationship.
Repairing After an Argument
Using all the tools you have gained so far, you learn a specific strategy to repair and move forward after an argument. Using this strategy is one of the biggest steps towards changing your negative cycle and stopping future arguments.
Addressing Hurts and Forgiving
Depending on your Retreat Plan, this may occur in this afternoon or may be on Day Four. Understand why some topics never get resolved and how to achieve closure on longstanding hurts. Using actual hurts you have, you learn this skill by doing.
If you chose a 3-day Retreat, we wrap up our time by processing what you learned, making a commitment to your relationship, and making final recommendations. You leave with a greater understanding of your partner, relationship, and how to communicate and connect more effectively.
This day allows a deep-dive into the topic(s) that plague your relationship and contribute to disconnection.
Topics vary but often include:
- Sexual intimacy and physical touch
- Parenting issues
- Work-life balance
- Addressing a partner’s mental or physical illness
- Shared grief (such as a miscarriage or death)
- Life decisions
- Additional hurts experienced during the relationship
Whatever work was done, you will leave with increased confidence in your skills, improved connection, and an action plan to address your deep-dive topic.
What’s the difference between ‘Retreats’ and ‘Intensives’?
Retreats are an opportunity to improve your relationship overall. It’s a time for you to focus on your relationship in a different space that is supportive and nurturing. I function more as a relationship coach and teach you tools to improve your relationship’s connection.
Intensives are retreats that have a therapy component to address significant relationship challenges. It’s intensive, but not overwhelming. Just like an amazing piece of music builds from a simple beginning, these Intensives allow us to go gradually deeper to get to address the issue and an effective solution.
You may not be clear which is the best fit for your needs. Based on the Relationship Assessment, I will be able to make a clear recommendation of what I think would be most helpful for you.
Where do we have our Private Couples Retreat or Intensive?
I offer three different location options:
- My Place
- Your Choice
Learn about the different Retreat locations here.
Do we stay overnight?
No, these are daytime only. They generally start at 9 and end at 4, although minor time adjustments can be made.
How many couples attend?
Just you. I work with only one couple at a time; you have my complete attention, time, and focus.
What do we receive during a Private Couples Retreat or Intensive?
- My complete attention on you and your relationship from 9-5:30 daily for three or four days. This is the equivalent of 6 to 9 months’ worth of couples sessions.
- Resource Workbook that includes exercises and information to support you at home.
- Relationship Assessment based on an initial online intake and individual sessions that occur during the Retreat.
- Individual Intensive Sessions (2 or 3 per person) designed to augment our couples work. These sessions specifically address stressors you have individually in your relationship.
- Structured practice of relationship tools.
- Beverages and snacks to nurture and sustain you during our time together (if our Retreat/Intensive is at my location).
- Email summary of tools and strategies you used during our time together.
- Exclusive access to subsequent relationship coaching with me, based on availability in my schedule.
Does insurance cover this?
Insurance companies support the more conservative treatment approach of hour-long, weekly couples sessions. I am able to bill some portions of the Retreat/Intensive, if you have out-of-network benefits.
One relevant aspect of using your insurance is that the insurance company requires I give a mental health diagnosis and the insurance company will have indefinite access to my notes and your record. When the insurance company is involved, your privacy is not complete, unfortunately.
What is the cost?
Retreats and Intensives cost $2,000 daily, with a 3-day minimum.
I encourage you to consider this investment against other options:
Weekly couples therapy at $300 hourly for 9 months = $10,800
Average cost for a divorce in Massachusetts = $12,000
Cost of time away from children and your partner = Priceless
What are the scheduling options?
I schedule Retreats and Intensives from Thursday through Monday. Generally, four-day Retreats or Intensives are Thursday-Sunday and three day Retreats are generally Friday-Sunday.
Share your scheduling needs with me and I will find something that works. These Retreats and Intensives are all about helping you and your relationship succeed.
What are the steps to enrolling and attending a Retreat or Intensive?
Step One – The Consultation
Contact me to ask questions and set up a video consultation.
During the consultation, we review your relationship’s struggles and the kind of help you are wanting. You will learn more about how I work and if I am the right person or ‘fit’ for you. It’s also my opportunity to assess and make sure I am the best fit for you, from my perspective. I want you to succeed, so we all need to feel confident about our work together.
We discuss the types of Retreats and Intensives, length, and location options, so you have all the information after your consultation.
Step Two – After the Consultation
Most couples spend time thinking about the options and reading the information again. Generally people do not make a decision during the consultation.
If you decide to work with me, we schedule your Retreat/Intensive! A 50% deposit is required at this time and we clarify the type, length and location.
Step Three – Confirmation and Intake
You each receive a confirmation email with the specifics that we have agreed upon. Additionally, you each receive a link to my client portal where you complete necessary paperwork.
Step Four – Relationship Assessment Questionnaire
Once you have accessed the client portal, you complete a confidential “Relationship Questionnaire”. This is the written part of your Relationship Assessment; we will continue the Relationship Assessment during our individual sessions that occur during the Retreat/Intensive.
Step Five – Final Payment and Details
One week before your Retreat or Intensive, the final payment is due. This is when we tie up any loose ends, such as snacks you would enjoy and any concerns you have.
Step Six – The Retreat or Intensive
We meet and you begin to see your partner differently within the first few hours! I balance it between lecture, video clips, and guided conversations you have with your partner.
On the second day, you continue to practice and strengthen your relationship skills as you go deeper and address the barriers/struggles to authentic connection.
Step Seven – Follow-up Email
Within a few days of the Retreat or Intensive, you will receive an email summarizing many of the tools you learned. Additionally, I give a list of general relationship tips that are concise and actionable. This email and list help you maintain your gains.
Step Nine – Afterwards
Couples are often anxious or even sad to ‘leave the nest’ after their Retreats or Intensives. I want you to succeed and I know it takes time and practice to change relationship patterns that have occurred over years (or even decades).
Once we end our work, you may reach out to me for ‘tune-ups’ or additional work, if warranted (and based on my availability). If we do that, the work will not be traditional couples therapy. I will assist you as a relationship coach–continuing to be very focused on strengthening your skills and improving your relationship at home.
Again, I truly want you to succeed!
How successful are these Retreats and Intensives?
The model used, Emotionally Focused Therapy, has a 90% success rate at reducing distress in couples.
Every couple I have worked with has left in a better place. Most couples move forward on the path of strengthening their connection and enjoying their relationship more.
Even if a couple decides not to continue their relationship, they are able to engage in more productive and compassionate conversations after this. The understanding and communication tools gained make co-parenting and other interactions more effective and less combative.
You may contact me with the form below or call me at 413-218-7926.
I know even starting this process can feel scary and anxiety-inducing. I would love to be helpful, so reach out. 🙂
And…thank you for your faith in me. I truly want you to succeed.
“Hold Me Tight®” is a registered trademark to Sue Johnson.