Couples watching water after couples therapy intensive.

What Is The Difference Between Intensive Couples Therapy & Regular Couples Counseling?

The divorce rate generally hovers around 50 percent most years, so it is understandable that many couples are trying to find a way to have their happily ever after with better odds than a coin flip. While most people have heard about traditional marriage counseling, more and more couples are hearing about the benefits of an intensive couples therapy retreat.

“Why should you consider a marriage therapy retreat over traditional counseling? The answer is simple, if you want faster results.”

Marriage Intensives Are Warp Speed Therapy

Most couples therapy intensives are a few hours over an extended weekend. This means you are essentially going through months of therapy in just a few days. On average, people report a 3-day marriage intensive is equal to about 6 months of therapy.

If you have been suffering for years, then it is very appealing to consider finally getting some relief in such a short period of time. The idea of dragging out the process over months often feels very stressful for couples.

The opportunity to have a marriage therapy marathon can be one of the best way to create fast, lasting change. And in a significantly shorter period of time.

Retreats Are Usually Easier To Schedule

Families are busy. Whether you have kids, pets, careers, or a full retirement schedule, it can be extremely difficult to commit to a weekly appointment for an indefinite amount of time. Couples therapy also has the unique struggle of needing to accommodate the schedules of both spouses and a therapist.

The advantage of an intensive marriage retreat is that the schedule is succinct over just a few days. This often makes it easier to plan travel, child care, or other life events around the therapy without the long-term commitment in the middle of your week.

You Can Work In-Person With Experts Anywhere In The World

Condensing the format of couples therapy into a single weekend intensive means that you and your spouse can travel to an expert outside your local area. This gives you a great amount of flexibility to pick a therapist who really fits your needs.

You receive the full benefits of the intensive marital workshop, and take those skills home with you. Traditional weekly therapy would be nearly impossible if the location required a plane trip or long drive.

Even with the growing popularity of teletherapy and virtual options, state licensing laws can make this extremely difficult for therapists to work across state lines.

Motivation Is Usually Higher During A Couples Therapy Intensive

I have noticed that clients who attend a marriage intensive either, in person or virtually, tend to consistently shower higher levels of motivation than couples seeking traditional weekly therapy.

This makes perfect sense because when you commit to an intensive couples therapy retreat, you have to make the most of that time. Often, there’s little follow up afterwards, although in my practice I make a point to offer tuneups to clients who need them.

When couples commit to this work, I find they are inherently motivated to get as much out of the experience as possible. Which means spouses put in the time and work needed to heal or make a decision about their marriage.

Continuous Momentum Builds Each Hour

Traditional couples therapy sessions are about 45-minutes. In most cases, it takes at least a few minutes to settle into the session and get reaquantied with the therapist, engage in small talk, remember what you discussed last week, and then start diving into the topic of the day.

Additionally, at the end of the session there is generally some time for wrap up and planning the next visit. This means these sessions have about 20 to 30 minutes are solid counseling. Because intensive marriage workshops are multiple hours on the same day, the momentum that builds is far more powerful and healing is more intensified than what is accomplished in a single weekly visit.

Regular Couples Counseling Is A Slower Pace

Some couples are not ready to make significant or rapid change in their relationship. If that is true for you, then traditional weekly sessions might be a better option. The slower pace of weekly couples therapy allows each spouse to slowly process the experiences and move at a more gradual pace.

Because of the slower process, this is also a good option for couples where one or both spouses are not motivated to make changes. Intensive couples therapy requires that both partners start the process ready to put in the work.

If you are still unsure of your motivation to change your relationship, then a slower paced weekly session routine might make more sense for you.

There are many good reasons to consider intensive couples therapy retreats instead of regular marriage counseling. The primary question you should ask yourself is “Am I ready to make changes in my relationship and put in the work?”

If the answer is yes, then a private couples therapy retreat might make sense for you.

If the answer is no, then starting with traditional weekly couples counseling could be a great introduction into the process while you determine how motivated you really are to improve your relationship.

Whether you want to move fast or slow, there is professional support than can help you enhance your relationship. Use the link below to learn more about couples counseling, and we wish you the very best of luck in your quest for a happy future.