Private Couples Therapy Retreats
Marriage Retreats In Scenic Vermont
Couples often come to me in crisis as a last effort to save their marriage. After years of struggling, they feel hurt, tired, and hopeless. I get it. Having a happy marriage is hard work. Whether you are struggling in the first year of your marriage, or you have recently become empty nesters, let me be your guide and teacher.
I get results for my clients. I can help you and your partner learn to communicate effectively, increase your emotional connection, repair your sex life, and figure out once and for all if you are both truly compatible with each other.
Why Couples Retreats Are Important
Intensive couples therapy retreats are like warp speed counseling. They usually get results in just a few days so that couples don’t have to struggle in therapy for years without achieving their goals. Couples often say at the end of their retreat that three days of intensive therapy brought more progress than they ever experienced in a year or more of weekly sessions. They are often surprised with how much their relationship can improve in such a short period of time.
Imagine True Healing In 3 Days From A Therapy Retreat
Staying in a toxic marriage feels awful. Most people want to experience positive change as quickly and efficiently as possible. Private retreats accomplish exactly that. Instead of traditional therapy sessions where you have to stop just as soon as you feel progress, retreats keep the momentum so you can work at a deeper level more quickly and effectively.
Most couples are fighting about deeper relationship issues than just laundry, childcare, or kitchen cleanliness. Getting to the root cause of these marital conflicts requires an understanding of each spouses’ triggers and history. When the true source of the conflict can be dealt with, then you can actually experience longterm healing. Even more importantly, when a couple understands the process of this healing, they can recreate it independently and become the best support for each other.
Benefits of a Couples Therapy Retreat
A couples counseling retreat is a very different experience from traditional therapy. You and your partner will essentially be completing 9 to 12 months worth of therapy in just a few days. I often refer to this process as warp speed therapy, and there are many benefits to this approach.
Faster Results, Less Suffering
Many couples have told me they felt very frustrated with traditional therapy because during a 45-minute appointment they really only had a good 20 or 30 minutes of deep therapy. It takes time to talk about and resolve the root issues of conflict, and it’s much easier to accomplish that task when you have a few hours of time. Faster results also means less time in a struggling marriage.
More Time For Deeper Conversations
Because of the momentum that is created each hour during a retreat, we are able to discuss and resolve deep issues that have often kept a couple in a negative cycle for many years.
Easier To Schedule
Families have busy lives, and keeping a weekly appointment can be challenging. Couples often find it easier to schedule a larger block of time for their therapy than committing to the same time slot each week indefinitely.
Lasting Change For Years To Come
A couples retreat is designed to help you repair your relationship or at least make a decision about future compatibility. It is also designed to teach you a process so that you can take control of your own healing by making sure you leave with tools to continue that growth long after the retreat ends.
Procrastination is easy when you know there is another opportunity coming soon. During a marriage retreat, couples have a sense that this is the time to do the work. Motivation tends to be high, which significantly improves the outcome.
What Are The Disadvantages Of A Couples Therapy Retreat?
While a couples therapy retreat provides many benefits to spouses who are struggling, there can be a downside for some couples. It’s important to consider if you and your partner are ready for this kind of intensive therapy process.
Too Fast For Some
While many couples want fast results, some people need time to process. The slower pace of traditional therapy is a better match for people who want time to reflect and think about each point that is discussed in therapy.
Change requires motivation and commitment. Every couple that signs up for a retreat is doing so because they want some kind of change. This usually requires both spouses to be ready and motivated to co-create a solid relationship.
Separation Is Possible
I do not believe in marriage at any cost. During your retreat, I will do everything I can to help save your marriage, but sometimes the only way for everyone to find happiness is through separation.
Fix Your Marriage From The Root
When working with a couple, I always start with the same hypothesis: Your marriage can be happy and successful, and the issue is that no one has ever taught you the skills to make that possible. It’s my job to quickly identify the root cause of your issues and then teach you both a process that you can replicate on your own. That is how you will create strong and lasting changes.
An unhappy marriage can be devastating for both partners and make you question the entire relationship. Unfortunately, 40% of couples who divorce regret it, so be sure you are making the right choice.
Affairs can feel like the end of the marriage and leave someone questioning what they did wrong or blaming their partner. There are ways to survive and prevent affairs by working together and creating a more vibrant relationship.
Couples Therapy Testimonials
Dr. David Helfand, PsyD
Couples Therapy Expert
During more than a decade of professional service, Dr David Helfand (or Dr H) has helped hundreds of people create a happier marriage and more fulfilled life through short-term therapy solutions.
He has been interviewed by multiple news organizations about his specialties in neuroscience, clinical psychology, mindfulness, and sex and intimacy. He specializes in private couples therapy retreats, neurofeedback, and brain mapping, and his couples workbook will be published later this year.
What To Expect On A Couples Therapy Retreat
My job is to teach both of you a process that helps you achieve your relationship goals and that you can replicate on your own. Most traditional therapy focuses on negative content such as discussing what led to the argument or qualities you don’t like about your partner. I conduct my sessions with couples very differently.
During your retreat, I will coach and guide you to make sure the conversations are productive. You will learn how to discuss a negative emotion in way that actually creates an emotional connection. If you understand how to have the conversation in a successful way, you can create your own healing for years to come.
Sample 3-Day Retreat Itinerary
You can schedule a 1-4 day retreat with me, and the 3-day program is the most popular for couples who are in moderate to severe crisis. Please review the details below for an example of what to expect during a 3-day couples therapy retreat.
Every retreat client receives free access to the online couples course so that you can begin learning the skills of a healthy relationship as soon as possible. You will also receive a relationship questionnaire to be completed before your retreat so that I can learn as much as possible about your relationship before meeting with you.
The first day of your retreat starts with an overview on the science of what makes relationships and marriages successful. Then I will conduct an individual intake with each partner to better understand your goals for the retreat, the history of your marriage, and your personal experiences that have shaped you into the person you are today. After the intakes, I will review the foundations of couples communication before helping you practice with each other while offering coaching and guidance.
The second day of your retreat is a deeper dive into helping you communicate your needs, triggers, and underlying emotions behind events that have occurred in your marriage while ultimately helping both of you to move in a positive direction. This day is tailored to each couple based on your goals and the topics that need to be addressed.
The final day of a retreat is a pivotal moment. If you were able to connect and make progress during the retreat so far, then we will continue that momentum and go even deeper on day three. If it appears that the marriage cannot be saved or one of you decides you want out, then we will negotiate a trial separation that is either designed to help you reconnect or mindfully separate.
The last phase of every retreat is to provide ongoing suggestions that will help you continue to make progress for years to come. These might include specific exercises to do together, homework assignments, reading recommendations, or other activities that engage you both in making a positive step towards your goals. I am also available to discuss your aftercare plan with any provider or therapist who will be supporting you.
What Happens During A 4-Day Couples Retreat?
The 3-Day couples retreat program is the most common format. However, you also have the option of scheduling a 4-day program which allows more time for individual work during the retreat. The itinerary for the 4-day retreat is very similar to the 3-day except that on the second or third day I will generally spend time doing trauma therapy, hypnosis, neurofeedback, or another similar intervention to help each individual heal and grow in service of the relationship.
The Neuroscience of Relationships
You will become better at whatever you practice. If you speak with kindness, your relationship will feel kind. Most couples contact me because they have become masters at arguing. Therefore, part of my job is to help every couple consciously put their marriage in a positive state as much as possible so that those experiences will replicate themselves…
Researchers have repeatedly found that happy relationships require a ratio of 5:1 positive to negative interactions. This means for every negative experience together, you need 5 positive ones to then feel good about your partner. My goal is to help you surpass this ratio so that you thrive as a couple.
Additionally, I want to teach you how to turn negative emotions into a positive connection. Brain scans of couples in love and disagreement shows us that these states are very similar neurologically. Therefore, discord in a relationship is actually an opportunity to connect if you know how to appropriately redirect that energy and emotion.
Online Couples Course Included With Every Retreat
Couples Therapy Retreat: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
I get results. I’ve worked with hundreds of couples to help them repair or improve their marriage by teaching them how to enhance their emotional connection, reinvigorate their sex life, or make a determination about separation and divorce.
Each day of the retreat is equal to about 2 months of really good therapy. We are able to continuously work on your goals without stopping and starting which creates momentum and allows for deeper work with better outcomes. Many people find it difficult to attend weekly sessions, so the condensed format of a retreat also allows for easier attendance. Finally, condensing the therapy into a few days instead of months or years mean you will spend less time suffering.
All in-person Retreats are held at my office in St Johnsbury, Vermont. Due to state licensing laws, virtual retreats are currently available only if you will be physically located in VT, MA, or FL during our meetings times.
Retreats are regularly offered Monday through Wednesday. Weekends are also available for an up charge. I can accommodate other days or schedules on a case by case basis.
Couples therapy retreats are not covered by any insurance. Insurance only covers traditional therapy.
Couples Therapy Retreats are $1600 per day for a 1-4 day program. About half of the couples I work with also add a brain map for each spouse, but that is optional if you want to learn more about your nervous system health.
Because Retreats are offered on a limited schedule there is a strict cancellation policy. A non-refundable deposit of 50% is due upon booking, and you can transfer your deposit one time in specific cases. The final payment is due 2 weeks before your retreat.
The full policy is available in the “Client Informed Consent” document.
Not at this time. I work with one couple at a time to maintain your privacy and allow me to focus on your specific needs.
In order to get the most out of your marriage retreat, I highly recommend completing the online course prior to arrival. This will give you an introduction to the skills I will be teaching, which means we can really jump right into the process when you arrive.
Additionally, if there are any topics you need to discuss or repair, then make a list so we can strategize how to address them in the most efficient and effective way possible.
Not at all. The general research suggests that about 60-80% of couples the engage in therapy see a notable improvement in their relationship. In my experience, the ones that struggle more are the same couples who should have started therapy years ago.
For some couples, traveling together builds a connection that helps improve their relationship. Other couples find traveling to be very stressful and taxing on their marriage. It’s important to consider your dynamic when answering this question, and I also often recommend short day trips instead of week-long excursions.
The research frequently shows that couples who remain coupled-centered have better outcomes later in life. This means prioritizing each other, communicating effectively, being kind, and feeling heard and supported will help reduce the risk of future issues in your marriage.
Let's Get Started
Already Scheduled A Couples Retreat?
If you and your partner have already scheduled your retreat, please review the resource page for information about next steps, local accommodations, and other helpful tips to get the most benefit out of your retreat experience.