Relationship Boot Camps or “Couple Intensives” are quickly becoming my favorite approach to treating relationship issues for couples.

These day-long sessions are ground breaking for those seeking to implement changes right away. They also serve as an effective alternative for the many couples who struggle to keep up with the long-term schedule required to attend traditional couple’s therapy.

While traditional couple’s therapy or marriage counseling doesn’t work for everyone, a relationship boot camp is a way to get the benefits of effective couple’s therapy in a hurry and avoid the pitfalls of traditional therapy! This new innovative approach that I, along with a handful of colleagues, are really honing!

For some time, churches and laypeople have offered couples 3 day retreats or a weekend. While these experiences may provide some benefits to couples, they are no match for sessions facilitated by masters of The Couples Institute.

For the last 35 years, the founders, Drs. Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson, have trained therapists in over 50 countries. They’re trusted experts on The Today Show, The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, and more. And they’re sought after guests for the world’s preeminent couples therapy conferences. They are considered pioneers of couples therapy, and they have developed a new intensive apprenticeship program to pass their knowledge off to a few carefully chosen therapists.

Each year, Ellyn and Pete interview and select only 5-10 therapists for their advanced Master Mentoring program. Over the course of a year, we study closely under Drs. Bader and Pearson, learning what they do, why they do it, and how to do it.

There is no other couples therapy training program like it on the planet, and the therapists who graduate are exceptional at identifying couples’ real issues and treating the underlying issues. Many couples who work with therapists from the Master Mentoring program experience massive and lasting relationship transformation and healing, especially after a Couples Intensive experience.

Traditional therapy is time intensive (think weekly meetings for months), involves interruptions (having to get current with therapist about the latest fight and only getting half way through an issue only to wait until the next session to bring it up again), and requires a skilled counseling therapist.

It’s no wonder the average couple doesn’t pursue outside help for healing of their relationship issues.

Couple Intensives provides a welcome alternative.

The term “Couples Intensive” is gaining attention, but the term isn’t widely known among the general population. In my practice, I am still experimenting with the search term and am partial to the term “relationship boot camp” because of my background and time spent in exercise and triathlons.

I am releasing a series of articles where I am going to be providing details on these advantageous sessions. Basically, we set aside a day to work on the relationship.

One couple, one day, with one exceptionally trained therapist!

The couple does some preparation work and then comes in ready to get to work. We establish a laser focus on the agreed upon issue and incorporate interventions that are grounded in many experiences of the Developmental Model approach.

Just last week, I completed one of these marathon sessions with a couple. The couple was able to make a weeks’ worth of progress in one day on an issue they struggled over for the last few years.

In this example, the wife was able to identify and articulate the real reason for her strong desire to save money. She was able to unpack her fear and talk about how scary it was for her to think of not being prepared for the future.

The husband was dealing with his own existential crisis; he didn’t want to have worked so hard only to be told he should be sacrificing more.

Through the session, he was able to express his fear of “dying without living” and his need to be able to experience certain things. The couple was able to understand the other’s desires and they were finally able to negotiate in a way that worked for each of them.

It would have taken at least a month’s worth of traditional therapy to get this far with this issue – that is, if they didn’t have anything else come up in-between counseling sessions.

The above scenario is just one example of a relationship issue that can be quickly and effectively dealt with during a Couple’s Intensive. There is no limit to the potential benefit and healing to couples who participate in these relationship boot camp intensives, provided they are willing to put in the work!

If you are not sure how to go about negotiating difference or there is a real conflict of important values, consider getting personalized Marriage Counseling in Harrisburg with a professional counselor to help you deal with this issue. Schedule your initial therapy session now or inquire about the new Couple Intensives Service available here in Harrisburg PA (completing one of these is like a fast-tracked 3 months of weekly therapy).