The following scenarios are fictional examples provided for the sake of this story. If one of these scenarios resonates with you, an Intensive programme may be able to help you and your partner move through your issues to build a more meaningful relationship together.
Scenario 1 – Jack & Jessica
Jack and Jessica have been married for 10 years and have three kids. Jack works long hours and Jessica has recently gone back to fulltime work herself, now their youngest is in school. Jessica misses connecting with Jack on a regular basis and Jack misses their physical connection which has diminished as life has grown busier. They realise they are drifting apart. Time is passing by, and the relationship is the last thing that gets attention at home. Jessica encourages them to attend couples’ therapy and they decide to do an Intensive due to their work and family commitments which make it difficult to commit to regular weekly sessions. They like the idea of doing an Intensive Retreat and making it a weekend to go away and reconnect.
Prior to the Retreat, they do an online assessment and meet individually with their therapist, Kristina. Over the course of the first day of the Retreat, they open up to each other and share their fears and hopes and dreams. Jack is surprised to hear how much Jess misses him; Jess is shocked to hear how lonely Jack has been feeling. They have a series of conversations where they learn to connect on a deeper level. They work through some skills building exercises and tackle the long-held issue over their in-laws influence on their life. That night, they share a night out together where they relax and feel the light-heartedness they had in their earlier days of their relationship.
On Day Two of the Intensive Retreat, they tackle issues around their upcoming career changes; Jessica wants to take a promotion, but it means that Jack may have to wind back his work hours to spend time with the kids. They learn how to compromise and spend time creating rituals of connection and developing a deeper meaning and purpose of their lives together.
A few months on, Jack and Jessica are getting used to enjoying time together again. They have decided to come in for quarterly check-ups with Kristina for the rest of the year as they put their new skills to work.
Scenario 2 – Richard & John
Richard and John have been in a five-year relationship; it’s been an exciting time in their lives although now their careers seem to be taking them in different directions. Recently Richard felt betrayed as John was spending more time with a new work colleague. When Richard & John do get to spend time together, arguments seem to escalate, and harsh words are said. Both long for the way they used to be.
Richard gives John an ultimatum and they decide to do couples’ therapy to find their way through what Richard feels is an emotional betrayal. An Intensive programme interests them as it helps them manage their time and work commitments and find a way to heal their relationship as quickly as possible. Kristina agrees to do two Fridays in a row rather than consecutive days. Together they agree to a ceasefire on any contentious issues until the two Fridays are complete. John agrees to be transparent about any contact with his work colleague and not to be in communication with them outside of work.
Following the online assessment process and individual therapy sessions, they have their first Friday Intensive session. During the first day of therapy, John is given the opportunity to express his remorse about any hurt that he has caused. They both come to an agreement about what is OK and what is not OK in their relationship. They come to a deeper understanding of the kind of commitment they want in their relationship, and they feel safe to park their concerns until the next day of therapy.
On the second Friday, Kristina focusses on how they can affair-proof their relationship moving forward, and they have a series of conversations where they learn how to manage conflict in a healthy way and connect on a deeper level.
Following the Retreat, Richard & John have a monthly evening appointment via Zoom to help guide them through the resetting of their relationship.
Scenario 3 – Mary & Steve
Mary and Steve have drifted apart while the kids were growing up and now, in their early fifties, the kids have all flown the coop. Steve is looking forward to retirement and spending time in his garden. Mary feels like her life is just beginning and wants to travel. Mary worked part time whilst the kids were at school, and now back to working full time, she has been given the opportunity for a promotion. Mary feels it’s her time to shine. Steve doesn’t want her to take the promotion and is surprised when Steve says their relationship isn’t working. Steve is shocked and wants to reconnect with Mary so they can enjoy their later years together.
Mary & Steve can attend sessions weekly, so they do not do an intensive programme. During weekly sessions with Kristina, they remember all the good times and meaningful experiences they’ve had together. They learn how to rebuild their friendship, the foundation of their relationship and create a new and meaningful life together where they can honour each other’s hopes and dreams.
Over the course of 10-15 appointments, gradually spaced out from weekly to fortnightly to monthly, Kristina takes them through a series of deep conversations where they get to know each other again.
They rewrite their stories on how to have fun with each other, they build a deeper understanding each other’s worlds, learn to work on their perpetual differences, talk about contentious issues and affirm what they want most, is to support each other.
Ultimately, Mary and Steve rebuild their relationship into the marriage of their dreams.
It’s not all sunshine and roses
It may sound simple when written in a few paragraphs, but couples do deep work in their therapy. Research shows that, on average, couples wait about six years to start therapy following any issues in their relationship. So, it’s not surprising that it doesn’t always work. Attending therapy before your relationship is at crisis point will give you a better chance at success.
Is this you?
Does one of these scenarios sound familiar to you? Or do you think you might be heading down one of these paths or one like it?
Contact us to speak with my Practice Manager or to set up a free consultation phone call with me to understand what therapy options are best for you and your partner.
Check out my video to hear more about what happens during an Intensive Retreat with me.