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Why Couples Retreats?

As we have shared with couples in our practices that we are beginning to offer retreats, a number have asked what prompted this. Well, for starters, we have been studying PACT together for many years, with a shared passion for the material. We’ve seen how it impact our couples. We’ve both had the good fortune to assist Stan and Tracey at their couple retreats at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, and at the retreat we assisted together, we turned to one another and said, “We have to do this!” So it is with tremendous excitement that we launch Secure Connections; here’s a bit of what we witnessed that brought us to this point.

We see couples benefit from the power of the group.

You may think few things are harder than being open and vulnerable with a partner, and that its harder still in front of other people. But what if those other people are couples like you, seeking deeper understanding and willing to take risks to find it? Including doing so in front of you? While couples therapy certainly offers privacy and containment to work through challenges you are facing, being with other couples in a retreat setting allows you to experience the universality of human behaviors in relationship. As we lead you through exercises and discussions, you will see your relationship mirrored in others, whatever stage they are in, and it will help you understand where you are now and what to expect. When you add to that the support, playfulness and safety in mutual vulnerability, we see magic happen.

We see couples deepen their connection by learning to work with each other.

When facing challenges that feel overwhelming or impassable, you may feel like you have no idea how to help each other to move your relationship forward. There are definitely times when one on one attention from a therapist is essential in providing support that facilitates critical healing. We don’t see a retreat as a replacement for this, but as a wonderful and enriching addition. In a retreat, the focus is on the group experience, so its up to the two of you to learn to work together to reap the benefits. Its a skill necessary for facing the challenges life presents, and feeling secure in your ability to be there for each other. The retreat experience is designed with this in mind, and while we are at the ready to offer 1:1 support as you’re learning, the purpose is to help you foster the ability to depend on one another and develop your capacity for collaboration and trust.

We believe in the impact that focused time together can have on your relationship.

Couples therapy, in its typical form, offers short appointments that take place in the middle of your day to day life. Much of the time, one or both partners are literally rushing in the door from somewhere else. Retreats, on the other hand, are weekends away from everyday distractions and challenges. Your only focus is on each other and on your relationship. Exercises and discussions designed to deepen your understanding of your relationship, coupled with time alone to enjoy each, other creates a rich opportunity. Add to that the natural setting of IslandWood and the beauty of the pacific northwest, and watch it unleash the possibilities for connection and renewal.

We believe in the power of collaborative minds and complimentary styles.

It is unusual and potent to work with multiple couple therapists. Colleagues and close friends for many years, we have collaborated on client work, served together on a professional board, and coordinated trainings and workshops for Seattle clinicians. In a retreat setting, you’ll be a witness to the energy and joy we have for couples work, and a beneficiary of our cumulative experience and complimentary styles. Together, we provide additional perspectives and insights.  Ultimately, its much like the power to be found in your own relationship.

We see how one approach enhances the other.

We’re not giving up our day jobs! We believe couples therapy and retreats are mutually beneficial; the PACT model of secure functioning can be experienced in either avenue. In PACT, we often say “you are in each other’s care,” which is all about deepening your understanding of your dynamic, thereby enhancing your connection to one another. If you are already in couples therapy, a retreat literally takes your work together on the road. If a retreat presents your first engagement with a couples therapist, you’ll find the focus just described to be a powerful agent in relationship building. Neither is about problem solving but on deepening the bond that builds confidence in doing so yourselves.

If you have other questions, don’t hesitate to post them here or to reach out to us directly. We look forward to hearing from you and hope to see you at a retreat soon. We can’t wait!!


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