A couples retreat is a great alternative to self-help books or private couples therapy. Every relationship faces distress and challenges related to communication, affection, disagreements and other issues. More and more couples are realizing the value of professional relationship counseling.
Many people are not inclined to attend this therapy. They don’t have the time or resources for private counseling. Or, they may not be ready for private therapy or feel their situation is not grave enough to warrant it.
Other people have tried self-help DIY books to no avail. Usually, only one partner has read them or buys-in to the concepts, and the other partner is indifferent. The books ended up being another source of conflict and frustration for the couple.
Thus, many are turning to couples retreats and they are pleased with the results. The Gottman Institute, an organization that conducts relationship research, claims the results of this is equivalent to six month of therapy.
Couples therapy — also known as couples counseling, marriage counseling and marriage therapy. It is a process to improve committed relationships and resolve interpersonal conflicts with the guidance of a counselor trained in relationship therapy.
It has the same goals as couples therapy. However, they are meant to merge the benefits of a vacation with couple counseling.
The idea is that people are more apt to take in new information in a comfortable and relaxed environment. Partners can get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, clear their minds, and emerge with a mindset and tools for personal improvement.
Types of Couples Retreats
There are many types of couples retreats. Some are structured as an all-inclusive vacation getaway with lodging, meals, recreation activities and classes. These can last up to a week but are usually weekend fares.
Other are pared down as a Saturday morning workshop and couples are encouraged to plan their own relationship-bonding activities afterward.
Also checkout: 6 exciting ways to keep your relationship fresh and fun
For those who think a It is the last resort for those on the brink of a breakup — you are wrong.
A couples retreat can indeed repair a broken relationship. However, it is also useful for partners in good relationships. It provides practical, actionable steps for couples to address small, normal relationship issues before they grow into insurmountable and painful conflicts.
Just like private therapy, it bridges the gap between partners and improves affection but in a shorter, less expensive way.
Features of an Ideal Couples Retreat
Relationship experts say impactful couple retreats should have these features:
At least 1 overnighter
Couples should plan on spending at least 1 night at a hotel. For those with young children and are unable to be away from home overnight, they should try to recreate an “overnighter” as much as possible. They can go to dinner after the workshop and ask the babysitter to put the children to bed. That way, the couple can continue with the intimate conversations and affection, and work on homework exercises.
Comfortable and private
The setting must be design to put you at ease. There should be no group sharing. Couple should be allowed private time and space to work on exercises together with the guidance of the professional. Although participants do not share personal information, participants often say they find emotional strength in knowing they are not alone in relationship conflicts.
The concepts and exercises should be based on research. A professional counselor trained in couples therapy and relationships can certainly add his or her experiences as a marriage therapist. However, the workshop should not solely rely on anecdotal stories, personal opinions or trending theories.
The retreat material should be supported by data. A retreat based on “feel good” slogans can do more harm than good.
At least 10 hours
To truly be an event that lets you dig deep into your relationship, the retreat should be at least 10 hours. Usually, they are for 2 days. With the global pandemic, many therapists are offering online retreats consisting of 5 weekly workshops lasting for about 2 hours.
Provide time for participants to understand the research, learn and practice new relationship skills, and connect with their partner through heart-to-heart conversations.
Author Bio: Sunny Skousen’s aim as a Professional Content Curator is to engage and influence her audience with thoughtful and research-based blogs. She specializes in writing about Therapy, Family Therapy, Faith-Based Counseling, Anxiety Disorders, Mood Disorders, Grief/Loss and Trauma, and more!
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