What is a Relationship Intensive?
Relationship Intensives condense over a month of therapy into one day – to fast track the healing process. It’s often used for clients starting therapy in a lot of distress, or simply eager to get things underway faster.
How do I decide if this is right for us? For both intensive sessions the key criteria is both parties being willing and engaged. Long sessions, where one party is uncommitted or undecided, are typically counterproductive.
Intensives and Marathon sessions are not suitable where there is active addiction; an ongoing affair; serious mental health issues or domestic violence.
Relationship Intensives are designed to massively fast-track the healing and connection process for couples. They can be used for almost any issue a couple experiences. They aim to do in a day or two, what otherwise might take a couple of months in therapy. They jump-start the therapy process, often shifting couples quickly into a more connected, loving space making the whole therapy process more enjoyable and effective. They can also be good for couples at a tipping point, trying to decide whether to stay or go.
Follow up work and strategies are typically assigned and can be supplemented with Zoom sessions.
- Strong desire to make change happen fast
- Mutual commitment to overcome issues and get reconnected.
- Clients with inflexible work environments doctors, builders etc
- Travelling from overseas or other parts of the country.
- More complex issues (trust breaches etc)
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Intensive sessions effective?
Intensives are scientifically validated as an effective and supportive way to achieve significant relational gains in a short period of time. When accompanied by appropriate follow-up activity they have been shown to be extremely effective at shortening the length of therapy required, the overall cost, and increasing the level of connection between the couple.
Why do Intensives work?
Typically couples approach therapy with problems that have been existing for a long time. Gottman’s research suggests couples wait an average of over 6 years before seeking help. Often couples approach therapy as a last resort of desperation, just before divorce. So trying to address problems that have existed for years (and sometimes decades) in a short therapy session, once a week, is often not sufficient. Additionally the therapist needs to determine what the key issues are, and this takes time. Typically the first 3-4 sessions are largely assessment, engagement and basic psychological education. Intensives allow these first activities to be done immediately and to then move straight into targeted change interventions.
Benefits To You of An Intensive
This is something individual to each couple and is the first bit of pre-session homework. Make time to have a conversation with your partner, to see if they are on-board. (Having a strong sense of if this is right for you is an important part of successful treatment.) If you end up not being sure, simply book a normal first session. Also feel free to reach out to Steven for a brief conversation if you have a particular concern.
I’m worried I (or my partner) will be overwhelmed…
Clients are often worried that it will feel overwhelming, but typically this is not the case. Unlike couples’ workshops, there is complete privacy and all sessions are individually tailored to your needs and situation. For many couples simply booking a day or two off work is easier than multiple shorter appointments. We will take breaks for rests, stretching, food and bathroom breaks. It will be a full day and you will probably be tired at the end of the day, however resolving issues more thoroughly tends to lead to strong feelings of satisfaction – a job well done.
Where are sessions held?
Full day sessions are held in your home, online or elsewhere by arrangement.