Why a Couple’s Retreat vs. Traditional Counselling

There are many reasons why people choose a Couple’s Retreat or marriage intensive over traditional talk therapy for marital issues. First of all, traditional therapy  (CBT cognitive behaviour therapy) is extremely limited when dealing with the emotional bond that is romantic love.  It involves the thinking rational brain not the emotional limbic brain.  It also tries to motivate you to change your behaviour by appealing to your rational mind. The problem is that the next time your partner triggers you, the anger, hurt and resentment in your Emotional brain hijacks you and everything you knew about dealing with conflict or behaving rationally goes out the window.  Romantic love is a slave to the emotions.  If they are positive, we behave in beautiful ways. If they are negative, watch out!

Another reason to choose a marriage retreat over traditional weekly appointments is that the latter approach is extremely slow.  Even if you are lucky enough to have found a super skilled and compassionate coach or therapist, it takes a while.  In my work and in life, I tend to be extremely impatient for results. I think most people are.  There is momentum that helps the healing process at an Intensive retreat. Reconciliation happens when we feel understood and for that to happen, we need to have a deep conversation. Giving yourself one weekend with no distractions is the way to go.

Here are some reasons why people come to my Couples Retreat.

  1. CLARITY:  They have been sitting on the Relationship fence for a long time. They are confused, conflicted and numb. They’re tired of the same communication dance that plays out over and over.  In many cases, they are in crisis and they are playing the blame game.  They’ve lost hope and yet…they can’t bring themselves to break up the family. There is a lot on the line:  A home. Stability. Identity. Friends. Family.  So the majority of the couples who come to my marriage retreat come for clarity: do they stay or do they go?
  2. RE-SET/HEALING:  The second group of people come to work on their issues. They are not in any crisis but they keep falling into communication holes. They’re not as happy as they could be.  They’ve fallen into some bad habits and they want to be pro-active. They want to fix their issues before they become too big. This group of people usually like to learn and educate themselves. An ounce of prevention….
  3. CLOSURE:  These couples come for emotional closure–to “uncouple” at the highest possible frequency and with the kindest of intentions.  They want to do the “work”– so that they can co-parent and not hurt the kids. They also do the work so that they can avoid a costly divorce, and finally they come for closure so that they can understand themselves and what went wrong so that they don’t attract the same type of partner with the same issues next time around.
  4. CRISIS: These couples come because something “big” has just happened, (usually one person announces they want out or that they’re in love with someone else or one person discovers that there is an extra-marital affair) and they need immediate help. Traditional weekly counselling cannot address the canyon of hurt that betrayal brings.  Betrayal is a deep wound and you need an intensive approach to help heal the shock and trauma of the event and to find some stability and a plan for moving forward.
  5. TRADITIONAL COUNSELLING DIDN’T WORK: These couples are sick and tired of going to different therapists only to come out more frustrated and feeling alone and disconnected. Finding the right professional to work with can be a daunting task. I’ve heard it all–from therapists who take sides to counsellors who do more damage.  One of the biggest differences between traditional counselling and an Intensive workshop/retreat is that the conversation in talk therapy is between one partner and the professional while the conversation at my retreats is between the two of you. Great things can happen when someone teaches you how to communicate your inner most feelings to your partner. Vulnerability is the bridge to understanding.
Grace Cirocco
179 King Street
St. Catharines, ON
L2R 3J5 Canada
Telephone: (905) 688-0868
Fax: (905) 688-2788
grace@gracecirocco.com