Do you have schedules that do not allow you to come to therapy on a regular basis? Is your relationship in great distress and you desire to get some relief quickly? Do you live out of town? If the answer to any of these questions is “Yes”, then an intensive style of couples therapy might be right for you. We often refer to this type of therapy as “Marathon therapy” because we spend 15-20 hours with you over the course of 2 or 3 days. If you are wondering how to fix a relationship in extreme trouble, intensive work is the best way to do it.
What are the advantages of Intensive Marathon therapy? These extended sessions offer couples the opportunity to process their issues in an in-depth way without running out of time. Many couples who have experienced both traditional therapy and marathon therapy have stated that the marathon sessions helped them make progress more quickly. Marathon therapy is designed to help couples deal with their conflict, but we go beyond the problems of the relationship to help the couple re-build their basic relationship.
So what is the process of this Intensive therapy? We begin by gathering information about your relationship through written questionnaires. Each of you would fill out these questionnaires independently and send them to your therapist who then would score them and evaluate the relationship based on John Gottman’s research. When you come for the session, we begin by having you sit down and talk a little about what has brought you into couples therapy and the history of relationship up to this point. Each of you will have some individual time with the therapist so that we can fully evaluate the relationship. We then will develop the goals of the therapy and get down to the intensive work.
We use tools and techniques and couple therapy exercises, also known as interventions. These couple therapy exercises have been proven to improve couples communication skills. And, these tools are simple to use. They are yours to keep and to practice at home after you have completed your treatment.
There are some downsides to this type of intensive couples therapy. Sometimes couples need ongoing support and time to repair damage in the relationships, time for trust to rebuild, and a three day intensive therapy doesn’t allow for that. We work carefully with couples who attend intensive therapy to establish a plan for ongoing support when that is needed.