Retreat Pricing and Details
COST: $13,500 for the 5-day private couples retreat. Please note that this does not include meals or accommodations.
TIMING: We meet from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM, with a 90 min lunch break and additional breaks as needed each day, totaling 30+ hours of intensive work.
SCHEDULING: Retreats are available throughout the year on any available days. Ideally, we like to start our in-person retreats earlier in the week, providing you with the opportunity to take the weekend to enjoy your time in Northampton. Our online (three or five day) retreats may span a weekend.
FOLLOW-UP: We are happy to provide online follow-up coaching to help you integrate the tools and changes you acquire during the retreat and to support your progress moving forward. We can make these arrangements following your retreat. We recommend that you have an ongoing couples therapist at home.
1 Year of Weekly Couples Therapy vs 5-Day Retreat
Frequently Asked Questions
Because you make more progress, sooner:
- A private intensive couples retreat offers change, connection and healing in days rather than the months or years required for an hour-per-week sessions.
- You stay focused on your relationship, each day. You work from 9 to 5 each day with a lunch break and other breaks as needed throughout the day; there is no wasted time saying hello and catching up or shutting down a session – it is ongoing.
- Starting with orientation, history, goals and focus and your current situation, you immediately begin to work on your relationship.
- Individual sessions focusing on each spouse are easily integrated into the course of the day to deal with individual trauma/difficulties in the present and then integrated into the relationship work.
- The effects of trauma (broadly defined) are being recognized as a primary contributor to most presenting problems; attachment style and personal relationship history are recognized as contributing to the harmful cycles couples get caught up in and these problems can be addressed, resolved and integrated quickly, not over months or years.
- Actual problem solving, individual attachment, stabilization, and practical living strategies can be integrated “here and now” as you work through the day.
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.
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.
- Eliminate patterns of behavior and interaction that do not work: Learn why your relationship is in conflict and why resentments accumulate over time. Find out how your personalities interact and recognize the key challenges that push you off track in your relationship.
- Identify the negative cycle that your relationship is stuck in: Learn about your unconscious attachment style and how it affects your ability to stay connected to your partner, complicates your ability to proactively work through issues, and contributes to personal attacks, blaming, withdrawal and shutting down. Learn new ways of coping with challenges so that you can see the cycle as your shared enemy, not your partner, and maintain a positive connection even in the midst of challenging moments.
- Learn positive communication skills: Learn how to communicate about anything, even difficult issues, without triggering and disconnecting from your partner. The tools you learn will support your ability to make requests of your partner, set healthy boundaries and feel truly heard in your relationship.
- Learn tools to address negative feelings: Our emotions are at the core of all our relationship problems. You will learn tools to enhance your communication skills, self-confidence and self-soothing abilities, and the ability to more effectively support your partner through their own feelings.
- Build a foundation of trust with your partner: Our marriage can only thrive on a solid foundation of trust. You will gain an enhanced understanding of your partner and derive more enjoyment from your relationship as you learn to strengthen your connection with regular daily practices.
The cost of a private intensive couples retreat may seem hard to justify until you consider the costs of allowing your marriage to continue down its rocky trajectory:
- The average divorce without children costs $10,100 and takes 11 months. (1)
- The average divorce with children costs $15,500 and takes 15 months. (1)
- The cost in New York increases to $24,500 for a divorce leading to trial on two or more issues. (2)
- The cost of a divorce that involves child custody and/or child support issues is about 50% more expensive than the average. (2)
- The average cost of a “less severe heart attack” is about $760,000 and a "severe" one can cost up to $1,000,000. (3)
- Alimony payments can leave the supporting spouse with 40% of their income or less, depending on children and the financial burden of the supported spouse. (4)
- Divorce creates deep and permanent emotional impacts on children, including feelings of guilt, emotional sensitivity, difficulty adapting to change, anger/irritability, destructive behavior, poor academic performance, lack of interest in social activities, increase in health problems and loss of faith in marriage and the family unit.
Viewed in this light, the cost to attend a couples retreat is much lower than it seems, both financially and emotionally. You have the incredible opportunity to rescue your family and your most important relationship.
If you do end up getting divorced, you can rest assured knowing that you tried everything in your power to work things out. An amicable divorce is significantly quicker and less costly than average. If you have children, you will have learned powerful tools to effectively co-parent, supporting your ongoing relationship.
Most likely our intensive couples retreats are not covered by your insurance company. We are not affiliated with any HMOs or PPOs and we do not accept payments from insurance companies. We recommend that you check with your insurance company to see what mental and behavioral health services your policy covers.
Yes, the process that guides our couples retreats is based on Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for Couples.
EFT proceeds through recognizable stages and steps. It is intensely emotional work and creates an enhanced bond in your relationship and appreciation for your life. Creating trust and safety in your personal interactions is the first critical step that runs through and informs all other steps. Below is an overview of the steps involved in this process:
- A clear assessment of the relationship and each partner
- Self awareness and recognition of your personal external actions and “inner cycles” and how they are related to your attachment history, relationship history and early family conditions of love and attachment
- A recognition of the negative cycles your relationship gets caught up in
- Discovering the emotions that drive your behavior (primary emotions such as hurt, fear, powerlessness, and secondary emotions such as anger and frustration)
- Discovering your behavior in the cycle such as withdrawal and going away or pursuit and aggressive demanding
- Recognizing and stopping the cycle and then, in safety, exploring deeper feelings, wants, needs and yearnings as well as fears
- Learning to recognize “raw spots” that trigger you into old emotional patterns and create “rocky moments” in your present relationship
- Understanding the meaning you each give to your partner’s behavior and feelings, your personal story, and your view of the world
- Strengthening your bond through carefully crafted emotional interactions
- Then healing attachment wounds from the past (early in life) and relationship wounds in your present relationship
Attachment Theory – our modern understanding of the human bonding and differentiation process – or more simply stated, a modern theory of love, has evolved to describe our early patterns of emotional interaction in relationship based on our history with our significant caretakers. These learned patterns – attachment-oriented emotional responses — are initiated and driven by emotion and explained by our inner narrative: our story, about ourselves, our significant others, and the world.
As a model of intervention, relationship repair and maintenance, EFT grew from the systematic observation of couples in therapy and what worked to repair their relationships. The use of emotion was key in this process. A unique aspect of EFT is that it is Integrative: it looks within at what’s going on emotionally inside each partner; and it looks between to see how each of the partners organize their experience into interactional patterns and cycles. EFT works with these emotionally driven patterns to restructure and strengthen the bond between the partners in a relationship.