Relationship Retreats for Couples

Being part of a couple in a thriving, warm and healthy relationship is one of the most enriching and rewarding experiences we can have; it almost fundamental to the way we connect friends and family and work colleagues.

Like most things in life, the quality of our relationship with our partner, whether married or not, is dependent on many factors: most of the time we are in control of how we make progress and make our way forward, but there are other times our relationship seems to be at the beck and call of luck, other peoples demands on us or the cruel hand of fate.

Many couples are often unaware both of the current blocks and potential opportunities in their relationship. Whether we feel in control or not, how we respond and behave in light of the challenges will have a significant impact on those we are very close to, love and cherish.

Our relationship retreats are designed to help married couples and those in a close relationship, stay strong and close together at those times when the challenges appear almost insurmountable.

If your relationship is strong then challenges can be managed, if your relationship is weak the same challenges can become overwhelming.

Creating Your Own Future

The Change Experience

Better Together

A six week group programme for up to 6 couples with a focus on looking forward by being together and staying together

Course Introduction

“Personal relationships are the fertile soil from which all advancement…all success… all achievement in real life grows.” Ben Stein

As the UK attempts to emerge from the double dip recession, it seems likely that the word “austerity” will be the word used to sum up the second decade of the 2000s. As individuals, families and communities face these tough challenges, it is perhaps more important than ever for those of us in the support and caring sectors to recognise how these constant demands and stresses affect the well-being and mental health of our clients and patients.

Our challenge is to ensure that we take a proactive, positive and preventative approach to keeping peoples’ hopes and aspirations alive. As practitioners we are well aware of how daily challenges affect the quality of relationships between partners and other family members. We also know how the strength of these relationships can maintain family and social cohesion and keep a positive focus on the future. Being part of a thriving and healthy relationship is one of the most enriching and rewarding experiences we can have and, for many, it can be the life blood of their existence, almost priceless in its value.

However, in this fast-changing world, building and maintaining stable relationships, particularly between couples, presents unique challenges. Occasionally it feels like it would be great to just stop for a moment, pause, and take a breath before moving on. Taking time to reflect is invaluable: it is part of the learning process, allowing us to identify what is going well, what needs to change or improve, what should be celebrated, and what lies ahead that needs preparation.

In a relationship, recognising the need for a period of reflection is not commonly accepted, nor is it a need necessarily shared by both members. Even if it were, finding the quality time to sit down and talk through key and important issues can be hard to come by. Making the decision that “we need to talk” is often the hardest part of the process. It can be so much less demanding to stay on the treadmill, focus on the here and now and keep up the pretence that all is fine while, in reality, the cracks are beginning to appear and are threatening to open up.

It is at this point that we as practitioners are presented with the symptoms of stress, as opposed to its causes. Our challenge is to spot the warning signs early enough – the size of the iceberg below the water – and ensure our interventions (which might not be medicinal) support the growth and maintenance of a relationship, thereby preventing it from entering into a destructive downward spiral.

Individual couples often work with counsellors or a therapist to address their historical issues, but an alternative approach is to explore and discover the future potential of the relationship in a stimulating and creative group environment. The value of a bespoke course is that it allows couples to step back for a moment and reflect on those aspects of their lives which they value and cherish, as well as identifying what they want to improve and change.

Within the confines of a focused course couples have the opportunity to work closely in a relaxed but structured way with skilled practitioners, in order to build and strengthen their relationship. Being away from the phones, texts, emails, and having made any necessary and appropriate arrangements for child care, gives each person the chance to unwind, relax and reconnect with those aspects of their partner that brought them together into a relationship in the first place. Being part of a group and being taken through a gradual, engaging and structured series of exercises, enables couples to explore what they both bring to the relationship and how they can contribute to its growth. When different couples work with each other to share experiences and ideas, the focus becomes fun and enriching rather than threatening.

The process helps couples re-evaluate their individual and combined strengths, reflect on the value of being a couple, and learn how to manage differences in a creative and constructive manner by communicating more openly about emotions, feelings, and thoughts. It can be a very therapeutic change process, helping couples identify their joint values, beliefs, preferences and styles. It also enables couples to realise that, by working together, they can enhance their life and relationship and work successfully towards shared goals.

 

Course Summary

Better Together course

A unique six week course that offersbetter together
an experience that is not generally available.
It will renew, reinvigorate and refresh a
relationship enabling couples to better together
develop joint expectations for their future together.
A group experience that offers couples an opportunity
to engage and to learn from other couples facing
similar challenges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the course couples will:

– Agree and commit to working together towards the achievement of specific outcomes or their joint/shared goals

– Identify their individual and combined strengths

– Explore what they each individually bring to the relationship, and how they contribute to its growth

– Challenge themselves personally in order to appreciate how their words and behaviours bring difficulties to their emotional relationship

– Recognise their differences in terms of values, beliefs, preferences and styles and appreciate the consequences of these differences

– Learn how to manage differences in a creative and constructive manner by communicating more openly about emotions, feelings, and thoughts

– Reflect on the value of being a couple and how working as a couple they can enrich their lives

– Set powerful goals orientated around enriching and strengthening the depth of their relationship

– Learn de-stressing and relaxation using Mindfulness techniques

 

Pre-programme work

– Individual wheel of life

– Then couples wheel of life

– Prepare your thoughts as a couple about what you would like to achieve over the duration of the course

– Key questions:

– What issues would you like to address or resolve?

– What changes would make most positive different to your joint lives?

– What techniques would most facilitate space and time for change in the future eg. Mindfulness

 

Programme outline

Week 1

– Introduction

– Ground rules & confidentiality

– Setting expectations

– Emotional Health and Safety

– Raising and discussing concerns

– Facilitators demonstrate openness and honesty and how to be present & authentic

Week 2

– Check in and warm up exercise

– Introduce models to support couples development and bench mark exercises

– Clarifying and discussing pathways to develop future goals: T-GROW

– The characteristics of the couple from Hell – Mr and Mrs Doomed:

Week 3 & 4

– Check in and warm up exercise

– Developing effective communication skills

– Managing differences

– Setting exercises to enable progress

Week 5

– Check in and warm up exercise

– Managing change

– Reducing stress and anxiety, e.g. Mindfulness techniques

– Maintaining work life balance

Week 6

– Check in and warm up exercise

– The value of reflection

– Maintenance strategies

– Knowing when things are better?

– Ending – the new beginning

Continuing support will be offered to participants.