Standard therapy is generally conducted in one hour sessions over a period of weeks or months. While this approach is often suitable for couples with time and budget constraints, it is often slow and more difficult to make positive change. My experience over the past 20+ years is that couples therapy that includes some intensity generally gets better results.
Couples therapy consists of 4 phases
4. Relapse Prevention
Phase 1 - Assessment
During the Assessment phase you and your partner will be asked to complete and online questionnaire which generally takes about 90 minutes each. You will then attend a 1 hour couple session where I will focus on understanding the history of your relationship and how your relationship has developed the current challenges you are experiencing. Next you will each attend a one hour individual session so that I can develop a deep understanding of your individual histories, personalities, values and needs. During the final hour of the Assessment phase we will all come together again so that I and provide you with feedback about how your current relationship issues might be addressed and together we can set some goals for the therapeutic phase.
Phase 2 - Therapy
The therapeutic phase is the longest phase and can last anything from 5 or 6 hours to 20 - 30 hours depending on the issues and challenges you and your partner are facing. During this phase we will be working together as intensely as possible to assist you to develop new skills for managing conflict, repairing old hurts, deepening your friendship and intimacy system and creating a strong, articulated sense of shared meaning.
Phase 3 - Consolidation
During this phase we will be fading out therapy, perhaps only meeting every 2, 3 or 4 weeks to ensure your new learning has been integrated and you are successfully managing your relationship so that you are both feeling connected, happy and satisfied.
Phase 4 - Relapse Prevention
Relapse is a very common phenomenon across all types of therapy. In order to prevent this happening to you, we will set up follow-up consultations perhaps 3 to 6 monthly for a year or two, until you both feel confident that you have mastered the skills of creating a great relationship and no longer need a helping hand.
Standard therapy fees are $210 per hour - private health rebates may be available depending on your health fund.
Two day programs
Marathon Couples therapy usually consists of 2 days in which you and your partner engage in therapy for 6 – 7 hours per day broken down into 4 x 90 – 100 minute sessions. This is a very intense process so the day is split with regular breaks and opportunities to take time out.
Couples therapy includes 3 broad phases. Phase 1 is the assessment phase - Prior to your Marathon, I email you and your partner a number of questionnaires for each of you to complete. Sometimes these can feel onerous to complete but, these questionnaires help me to understand both your individual histories and the history of your relationship as well as some of the main issues that have developed over time and bring you to couples counselling now. It also helps us fasttrack your therapy. The more detail you include in these questionnaires the better I will be able to get to the heart of matters.
Phase 2 is the treatment phase - this is what we do during your two days with me. From your assessment information I create a treatment plan which we talk about during the first hour to ensure we all share the same goals and so I can help you understand the process. After that we begin working on your most problematic concerns. My role is to assist you and your partner to have constructive conversations so that you can reach greater understanding and a closer more connected relationship. The focus will be both on addressing issues and on assisting you to develop better skills for managing your relationship - to become Masters of your relationship.
Phase 3 is the relapse prevention phase. 2 weeks after your intensive with me I will check in via email to see how you are managing. I will continue to check in for around 6 months to ensure you stay on track and that your relationship continues to get stronger and healthier. During that time if we identify any issues for additional work I might recommend a range of options that might include:
a few appointments either in person or via web conferencing with me - these are charged at $210 per hour;
assisting you to find a suitably trained therapist in your local area with whom I can liaise to assist in ongoing treatment;
recommending additional resources such as books, videos, podcasts etc;
other support options.
Couples who have engaged in this process in the past have reported that while the 2 days were taxing, they were able to process a range of unresolved issues, "leave the baggage behind" and go home with a renewed sense of commitment, closeness and hope for building a closer, more satisfying and intimate relationship together. On-going web conferencing sessions help to consolidate these gains and reinforce the skilful use of new communication strategies and behaviours.
Once you have made a decision to engage in intensive therapy it is very important that you try to “call a truce” on any on-going issues in your relationship for the time being. Intensive marathon therapy is a commitment to re-build your relationship and the process begins right now. Whatever issues you are currently struggling with will be addressed over our two days together in a way that allows both of you to feel heard, understood and validated. Effectively, what this means is that for the next few weeks until we get started you can ‘shelve’ your problems knowing that they will be addressed then, and now is an opportunity for you to have a break from working on those concerns and instead focus on what you would like to build once we have effectively dealt with them together.
The cost of Marathon Therapy is $2,000 per day for weekdays and $2,500 per day for weekends. (Please note: Your travel and accommodation costs to Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast are not included). $500 of the fee is paid as a deposit to confirm the 2 days and to cover the cost of the assessment phase, the balance is paid at the end of your first marathon day. Your deposit is fully refundable less any expenses incurred up to 7 days prior to your booking.
Exclusive Couple Retreats
Three day programs
When your privacy is essential, these retreats allow you to engage in completely confidential intensive couples therapy in a luxurious setting of your choosing. Some examples may include:
Or suggest a venue that you prefer.
Your retreat will include 3 days of intensive couples therapy with Trish, a highly trained and experienced Gottman Method Couples Therapist, Master Trainer and Consultant, and 4 nights accomodation at your preferred venue. Your travel arrangements and costs will be your own responsibility.
The Retreat Process
Prior to your retreat you will be sent links to a confidential online questionnaire which you will each need to complete at least 1 week prior to attending. Your 4 day retreat will generally look something like:
Day 1 - arrive at the venue, book in and get settled. The evening is yours to enjoy;
Day 2 - (approximate timings)
8.30am - 10.00am - Assessment session 1. This is a joint session that allows me to get to know you both and begin to understand your relationship history and dynamics;
10.15am - 12.30pm - Assessment session 2 and 3 - Individual interviews - I take turns in spending an hour with each of you so I can get to know you at a deeper level and understand both what makes you tick and what your relationship needs and concerns are;
12.30pm - 1.15pm - Lunch at your leisure;
1.15pm - 2.15pm - Feedback session - together we will talk through both the challenges and strengths in your relationship and establish goals for the therapeutic phase;
2.30pm - 4.30pm - Therapeutic session 1 - We will begin by assisting you to have a healthy and functional conversation about one of your areas of conflict during which you will begin to learn the skills, tools and strategies for better managing conflict in your relationship including how to de-escalate conflict, how to deeply listen, provide validation and empathy to meet your partner's relationship needs.
4.30pm onwards - you are at your leisure to enjoy your beautiful surroundings.
Day 3 and Day 4 - (approximate timings)
8.30am - 4.30pm -You will have time to talk in depth about the struggles and challenges of your relationship in a way that simply cannot happen in the traditional style of couples therapy. There is time to process past injuries that have never healed, and time to understand how these injuries have impacted the relationship. There is time to learn and practice new communication skills to help you have more productive conversations. There’s time to rebuild. I will provide an environment of safety for both of you, and you will be treated with dignity and respect, without judgment, throughout the process. Couples who have experienced this form of therapy usually describe it as life-changing and transformative. I will also provide you with a clear plan of action moving forward and make recommendations with regard to follow up consultations (if needed). You will also be provided with a couples toolkit full of resources and reminders to help you to continue to safely navigate your way to a long term, highly satisfying, healthy and happy relationship.
Day 5 - (approximate timings)
10.30am - Check out and make your way home (travel arrangements are your own responsibility)
Frequently Asked Questions
1. When is intensive therapy not suitable?
There are some situations where individual therapy would be required to resolve individual issues prior to attending couples therapy these include:
If there is active alcohol and/or drug addiction on the part of either or both partners, from either partner’s perspective;
If there is serious violence in your relationship, threats by one or both partners that serious violence might occur, or fear of such serious violence on the part of one or both partners;
If either partner currently has an untreated major mental illness (schizophrenia, recurrent psychotic depression, or bipolar/manic-depressive illness.) Note: This does not include past, successfully treated psychotic episodes (e.g. post-partum depression with psychosis);
If there is an undisclosed, current affair that you are not willing to disclose (such secrets predict marital therapy failure);
If either partner is currently experiencing suicidal or homicidal thoughts, or has a history of serious harm inflicted on him/herself or another person.
If you have any concerns in these areas please feel free to contact us to discuss appropriate options for you.
2. How much does it cost and what is your refund policy?
The cost of the full retreat will vary depending on the location and dates you choose. As an indication most retreats will cost between $15,000 and $20,000 AUD. Payment terms and conditions are as follows:
25% deposit to confirm your dates and venue - this is fully refundable, less any expenses already incurred up to 2 weeks prior to your retreat should you need to cancel or re-schedule;
25% paid 1 week prior to your retreat - this is non-refundable;
Balance paid in full at the end of day 1 of your retreat.
3. What is your cancellation policy?
Retreats can be cancelled any time up until 2 days prior to your confirmed dates as per refund policy above. Retreats can be rescheduled up until 2 days prior to your confirmed dates as per refund policy above.
4. I am a high profile personality, can I be guaranteed of privacy?
As a Clinical Psychology I am bound by the strictest rules of confidentiality as per the Australian Psychological Society and the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Authority Our confidentiality policy is as follows:
"We respect the confidentiality of information obtained from clients in the course of our work as allied health professionals. We may reveal such information to others only with the consent of the person or the person’s legal representative. However, in those unusual circumstances where failure to disclose may result in clear risk to the client or others, the allied health professional may disclose minimal information necessary to avert risk.
In the event that the allied health professional feels it is necessary to disclose confidential information the matter will first and foremost be discussed with the client and, where possible, written consent will be obtained.
Should you require additional information about confidentiality a copy of the APS Ethical Guidelines on Confidentiality can be found here
To arrange a retreat or to discuss any questions or concerns please contact me directly and confidentially here
RIA Couples Workshops
Relationship Institute Australasia
Discover the Art and Science of Love Couples Workshops.
Two days filled with practical, simple tools and exercises confirm, strengthen and restore your love. For couples of every orientation this workshop has been shown to achieve results similar to those of 6 months of marital therapy (though the workshop is not therapy). Outcome studies demonstrate attendance produces positive results for 86% of those who attend (based on exit surveys) along with the memory of re-connecting and the knowledge that “we can do this!” You will take home a box of techniques, cards, tools and tips to support your relationship in your everyday lives.
We run these workshops at venues all over Australia throughout the year. For details hit the button below.
Book An Appointment
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