In addition to regular couple therapy offered on a weekly or every other week basis, Keeping Connected offers an intensive couple therapy option. Intensive couple therapy or marriage counselling takes place over a three-day time span on a weekend. It is a good option for couples that are unable to attend weekly therapy appointments due scheduling difficulties (sometimes it is easier to reserve an entire weekend for therapy than to fit in an hour each week). The intensive couple therapy is also good for couples that need to see results quickly, and can’t wait the two or three months it would take to get the equivalent number of sessions by attending weekly appointments. But what actually happens in intensive couple therapy? Does intensive couple therapy really work?
Prior to beginning the couple therapy intensive, each partner submits intake and screening forms and takes part in a phone interview to ensure that the intensive therapy program is a good fit. Then, just as with weekly couple therapy, the actual three day intensive program begins with assessment. As a couple’s therapist, I use this time to get to know each partner and the couple relationship. I listen for the strengths of the relationship, as well as the difficulties in addressing challenges. I start to hear patterns in the interactions between the couple, and this is where we focus much of our time.
Couples often come in to the therapy intensive with repetitive patterns of communication. They tend to argue about the same things over and over again, or they argue about different things but the argument always looks the same. Or they don’t argue much at all, but have disappointing interactions that leave both partners feeling further apart than ever. Intensive couple therapy can uncover these communication patterns and help couples make changes, increasing connection and relationship satisfaction. By the end of the three-day intensive, couples report a better understanding of what is really going on in the relationship and have already experienced new ways of communicating within the therapy sessions. These new ways of communicating often lead to an increased feeling of connection. Couples leave with a plan to continue to build on the work they’ve completed during the intensive.