Daily Agenda

A Journey of Profound Growth and Reconnection

A retreat is not a vacation. Your time will be filled with activities designed to help you go deeper into your emotions to learn how your unconscious thoughts and habits negatively affect your ability to connect with your partner.

During the first three days, individual sessions are added alongside couples work to address personal trauma, helping each of you process old programming and trust issues that may be keeping you disconnected from one another.

During deep emotional work, challenging and uncomfortable feelings may come up. You will be gently guided through the process of working with them, helping you to discover the valuable insight they have to offer you.


“When marriages fail, it is not increasing conflict that is the cause. It is decreasing affection and emotional responsiveness…” – Sue Johnson

Ross worked with my partner and me after we had realized we couldn’t reconcile.  We had one of the most difficult challenges before us that parents can have – how to let our daughter grow up with two parents, though they lived far apart.  He got us both to see reality, helped us agree to

John R

I have worked extensively with Ross in both individual and couples therapy. I’ve never met another therapist with such extensive knowledge of the complex dynamics that exist in a relationship. The time I’ve spent with him has helped me show up in my own relationship in ways that I never dreamed. My level of patience,

Chris M

I have worked with Ross for many years.  He is a genuine, compassionate therapist – someone who makes you feel valued and heard.  He has incredible positive energy which he directs to both the advancement of his own learning and supporting his clients.  Down to earth, grounded, warm and intelligent – highly recommended!

B R

I have worked with Ross on several occasions and found his knowledge and experience to be very helpful to me as I’ve faced and worked through mental health issues. His approach is always professional and human. There was an immediate connection between us. He got to the core of issues and gave me practical steps

Bruce S

With other therapists, I’ve often felt as if I was running in place. Ross gets things moving. He’s extremely intuitive and has introduced me to EMDR, which is one of the most successful tools I’ve ever used in therapy. Ross’s work has helped me resolve issues that have been with me for years.

Eric B

I am both a bodyworker and psychotherapist. I really, really enjoyed and appreciated Ross’ ability to bring these two approaches together to address the body’s role in therapy, and the mind’s role in contracted muscles, and habitual, health negating postures. But what stands out the most in having worked with Ross is you really know

Elena V, MT, LMFT

Daily Agenda

9:00a – 12:00p: Three Hour Couples Session

Getting acquainted and history taking (personal, family and couple: the legacy of family dynamics and Mom and Dad).

  • Problem definition, goal setting
  • Introduction to couples therapy dynamics and both personal and interpersonal emotion/action cycles
  • Emotional and feeling orientation: the meaning of feelings, emotions, and behavior
  • Our internal dialogues about self and other and the world

12:00p – 1:30p: Lunch Break


We all have a personal and family history. The psychological / emotional learnings and patterns of interaction that we learned in our family inform our “present” thoughts, feelings and actions. These family patterns drive us in our relationships. If our history includes trauma, we often feel even more driven and trapped in our present patterns of relationship.

The afternoon individual sessions target those “driven” behaviors and feelings using EMDR and ImTT, two powerful trauma resolution therapies. Insights from those individual sessions are integrated during our afternoon couples session.


1:30p – 2:30p: Individual Session with Partner 1

Review your history form, worst things list - Mom and Dad trauma clusters – attachment injuries, relationship injuries.


2:30p – 3:30p: Individual Session with Partner 2

Review your history form, worst things list - Mom and Dad trauma clusters – attachment injuries, relationship injuries.


4:00p – 5:30p: Couples Session

Integrating and making sense of our personal and interpersonal cycles.

9:00am – 12:00p: Three Hour Couples Session

Continuing yesterday’s work, and going deeper: A focus on your personal styles of engagement and interaction, what triggers you? How do we describe your personal “in relationship problem behavior?” More in depth work with “raw spots” and “rocky moments,” when your history and the present come together; further work with your relationship’s “dance of disconnection,” and the internal feelings and narrative that go with it, call it “fear and longing in relationship. *

  • Problem Behavior description and definition (what we do to and say about ourselves and each other and how that really works)
  • Reengaging, getting everyone on board and more work with that Cycle
  • Emotional and Feeling Orientation: The meaning of feelings, emotions, and behavior
  • Our internal dialogues about self and other and the world
  • Your emotional triggers and action tendency (what sets you off and what do you do?)

*Experiential: these are NOT discussions, rather, they are experiential investigations including dialogues and interactions/enactments.


12:00p – 1:30p: Lunch Break


We begin to process some of the trauma (or pain and terror, or negative and limiting self-evaluations) from that personal and family history we got into yesterday.

The afternoon individual sessions continue to target any “driven” behaviors and feelings using EMDR and ImTT. Insights from these individual sessions are integrated during our afternoon couple’s session.


1:30p – 2:30p: Individual Session with Partner 1


2:30p – 3:30p: Individual Session with Partner 2


4:00p – 5:30p: Couples Session

Integrating and making sense of our personal and interpersonal cycles. This means a refocus on your internal experience, emotions, dialogues and action tendencies: that cycle again.

9:00a – 12:00p: Three Hour Couples Session

Continuing yesterday’s work, and going deeper: A focus on your personal styles of engagement and interaction. Now, you are on the edge of really identifying and articulating your cycle, your dance of disconnection and you begin to catch yourself going into it; and we go deeper into your emotional truth, your fears and longings, and the drivers behind your behavior.

We begin the difficult and vulnerable process of putting those wants, needs, and fears on external speaker. We begin to experiment more with your developing sense of trust and your ability to stay in touch with your inner experience, express that experience to your partner and then hear how it impacts them. We work with your developing sense of trust that comes with understanding self and other.

  • Developing a clear picture of your behavior in the cycle
  • What emotionally triggers you?
  • Where does it take you in your internal narrative?
  • Articulating your feelings and your level of trust
  • How can you create a secure base for action in your relationship?

12:00p – 1:30p: Lunch Break


We continue to process some of the trauma (or pain and terror, or negative and limiting self-behaviors) from your personal and family history.

The afternoon individual sessions continue to target any “driven” behaviors and feelings using EMDR and ImTT. Insights from these individual sessions are integrated during our afternoon couple’s session.


1:30p – 2:30p: Individual Session with Partner 1


2:30p – 3:30p: Individual Session with Partner 2


4:00p – 5:30p: Couples Session

Integrating and making sense of our personal and interpersonal cycles. We will slow it all down, do a structured walk-through and make sense of it; then integrate it emotionally.

9:00a – 12:00p: Three Hour Couples Session

Continuing yesterday’s work, and going deeper: A focus on your personal styles of engagement and interaction and The Longing/Yearning vs Fear Continuum and The “Please Hold Me / Be There For Me” Conversation. We again go deeper into your emotional truth, about how your past behavior has served you and now limits you and isn’t needed. We focus on the difficult and vulnerable process of speaking those wants, needs, and fears.

We begin to experiment with your developing sense of trust and your ability to stay in touch with your inner experience, express that experience to your partner and then hear how it impacts them. Can you ask for what you want? Can you respond to your partner’s needs?

  • Have we created the safety necessary for you to be vulnerable?
  • What are you really afraid of in this relationship?
  • What do you long for from your partner?
  • Can you trust, open up and respond to your partner?
  • Can you resonate with each other and feel loved?

12:00p – 1:30p: Lunch Break


1:30p – 2:30p: Couples Session


2:30p – 3:00p: Break


3:00p – 4:30p: Couples Session to Completion

A continuation of the morning’s work, we take the afternoon to continue making sense of your personal and interpersonal yearnings and fears and working with them to strengthen your bond. If you are ready, we begin the process of looking at past hurts we call Relationship Injuries and the healing process. Again, we will do a structured walk through and then integrate it emotionally. Can you really stay in the Here and Now, recognize and/or avoid the cycle of disconnection, maintain trust and talk about your softer feelings?

9:00a – 12:00p: Three Hour Couples Session

Hopefully we’ve reached the point at which your trust and bond are strong enough to begin the process of healing old Relationship Injuries. We talk about how you were hurt and how it impacted your relationship; we make sense of your actions and reactions. These injuries impact trust and connectedness so this is a real test of your new connection. Once more we address the difficult and vulnerable process of putting your hurt, wants, needs, and fears on external speaker. Can you share your pain, can you respond and understand your partner’s pain? Can you begin to understand and forgive?

  • Can you love and be loved and deal with the hurt this brings with it?
  • Can you listen to your partner’s hurt and respond to it?
  • Can you understand and talk about the pain and consequences of your behavior and apologize?
  • Can you accept apology and let your partner know what you need from them?

12:00p – 1:30p: Lunch Break


1:30p – 2:30p: Couples Session


2:30p – 3:00p: Break


3:00p – 4:30p: Couples Session to Completion

A continuation of the morning’s work, we take the afternoon to put it all together and consolidate before we complete the intensive. Again, we will do a structured walk through and then integrate it emotionally. Can you really stay in the Here and Now, recognize and/or avoid the cycle of disconnection, maintain trust and talk about your softer feelings? Can you celebrate your connection?

The answer is YES.

Retreat Location

What Kind of Problems Can Be Solved in a 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 all can be healed, no matter how drastic, 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 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 longterm 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 roomates 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 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 Active Affair: A huge part of this work is the willingness of partners to engage in the therapeutic 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 been ended. 

Retreat Location

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