*due to COVID-19, we have suspended all in-person retreats until further notice.
If you aren't getting along with the person who once meant the world to you, there is important new information you should know. It's a way of intervening that stops your fast-moving train into greater marital misery or divorce.
You'll exit the 'divorce super-highway,' or block the 'on ramp.'
No more endless bickering or cold-shoulder bedtimes.
Or vacations and romantic evenings that end in disaster.
Our approach has a 70-90% success rate for distressed marriages who qualify. And forty years of research behind it studying couples just like you.
Meanwhile, 38% of couples who receive traditional marriage counseling end up divorced within a few years. (1)
Maybe you've allowed your marriage to grow stale and lackluster. Maybe you don't adore your spouse anymore. Perhaps you just jointly occupy a home, possessions, and investments you can't easily divide.
That was my story.
I needed to know how to reevaluate my marriage. I needed someone to tell me how basically sound it was, based on objective criteria and that it was worth re-investing in. That assessment would have suggested a need to renew our courting, to express more ardent affection for one another daily, and to intensify acts of kindness.
We needed some confidence that becoming increasingly considerate of each other was a wise move, and a promise that if we did a series of things, and learned new skills, our marriage could once again become beautiful, sweet, and growing. And we needed a reminder that our teenager was counting on us doing just that.
Do you harbor misguided notions about love and marriage? Most couples do. Even many THERAPISTS do. I know I did when my own marriage had problems...
As a clinical psychologist these very misguided notions limited my effectiveness as a couples therapist.
Love needs to be continually tended to and fed. Actual effort has to be put into expressing esteem and admiration, and expressing gratitude.
And when a shocking betrayal or regrettable incident happens, a marriage needs the tools of a skilled professional to put it back on course.
In my case, the strain of two careers and a graduate program took its toll. I focused (as I was taught) on "self-growth" (which basically translated to: "I've got to be me...without you...") and what I wasn't getting from that marriage, not what I was giving to it.
The focus was on deficits.
It was on individual needs. On what we weren't getting from each other. No one was helping us to step back and see the larger picture of a busy life of two basically good, but exhausted people, who had stopped paying attention to their marriage.
If you think psychologists have just as many problems as the average person... you'd be right.
I've had my share.
I divorced a perfectly nice guy and the father of my child. Oh, I had my reasons. And most of them were a bunch of "pie in the sky" ideas I got from theories I learned while in graduate school. They were wrong-headed notions about why marriages fail and how to fix them.
It was nobody's fault, really. Back then, there was no science of healing relationships. While one marital researcher, Dr. John Gottman was conducting his research, it was still in the laboratories. We were all fumbling around trying to help people with ideas that turned out to be more myth and folklore than facts.
LIKE HOW ABOUT THIS MYTH:
"The severity of your problems predicts the likelihood of divorce."
Back then, I did what most people do, "I used my health insurance," and went to a counselor.
But instead of getting help, those weekly 45-minute sessions left me angrier, more hopeless, and totally, totally misunderstood. And we left each session more upset than when we arrived!
I'm Kathy McMahon, a clinical psychologist with over a quarter century of experience. And I divorced. My own marital failure drove me to invest 20 years of study, and learn 5 different models of couples therapy.
Later on, I remarried a “completely different guy.” And guess what?
These same problems reappeared!
I thought to myself: “How could I be so unlucky?”
But it wasn't a matter of "luck" at all.
I was the same person...
...with the same problematic way of relating to my intimate partner.
As Aimee Mann says: "It's not going to stop 'til you wise up..."
And you know what? She's right.
Leaving a marriage, when you don't know what you're doing wrong (or just blaming your spouse...) means it's not going to stop for you, either.
Unless you figure out what you're doing wrong in your marriage and fix it, you're doomed to repeat it.
In 1998, I attended my first training presented by Dr. John Gottman, a pre-eminent researcher on couples. What he taught me was fascinating. We now know scientifically why marriages succeed or fail!
But we also know that excellent marriage counseling is part skill, part knowledge, part practice and part art.
In our professional lives, we deal daily with the trials of deep and penetrating pain from a broken heart, after all. Working exclusively with marriages in crisis, we've learned how to speak directly to the troubled soul. The restless heart. Mend the deepest betrayals and lies.
We're learned to comfort and reach those with an embittered attitude who now feel justified or hell-bent on withholding or getting even. To confront those who won't accept their role in causing their current predicaments. We look through selfishness and into self-interest and emotional survival.
The point-counterpoints round-robin arguments that other therapists get lost in, we've learned, years ago, to cut right through. We have something to teach you about how to fight well. We can help you to speak so your words will make an impact or to listen with a 'third ear.'
We know how to de-escalate, contain, confront and reach into the deepest part of you. We know that part of you that wants the very best for yourself and your family. We been trained to recognize it when we see it.
Our skill is in helping couples confront their deficits in the marital arts of showing consideration, kindness, thoughtfulness, or concern. To focus on what may be missing in their marriages, not within their spouses.
For some, these are genuine expressions of affection, embraces of appreciation, and words of admiration and pride. For others a lack of companionship, confidence, faith, or true partnership have left them distant and empty.
Still others haven't learned to balance equality or dependence. It's not either or. All couples have to figure out what's "too close" and what's "too far away." Some couples have never figured out how to depend upon one another. Instead they turn to their families-of-origin or friends for deeper companionship and counsel.
Rather than seek ideas and share secrets with their treasured spouse, they withhold and share secrets with others. They are private and withholding with their spouse, but not with valued others.
It's confusing where loyalties should lie with blended families. The marriage becomes a battle ground pulled between children, extended families and ex-husbands or wives.
We may never have grown up to witness a marriage that was tender and sweet between a selfless couple that knew how to rely on and trust each other. You may not have witnessed adults taking responsibility for their actions and saying: "I'm sorry..." with deep conviction. Instead you may have seen blame and counter-blame. Vicious fights that escalated beyond all reason. And perhaps you've learned those tactics well.
Havi Kligfeld was amazing! I felt very comfortable with her from the start - like I've known her my entire life or like she could be a best friend. She was very warm and inviting and really took the time to listen to my partner and I. She offered advice and shared stories when it was appropriate but she kept the conversation focused on us.
Havi is very professional and she knows her material well. Other therapists my wife and I visited, tried to teach us material from Gottman, but it wasn't presented well and it was lost on us. Havi is an excellent teacher and my wife and I instantly understood what she was talking about how we could apply it to our marriage and our everyday lives.
I would recommend Couples Therapy Inc to anyone experiencing marital issues and I would recommend them as a FIRST option. My wife and I visited a few therapists before finding Couples Therapy Inc and it almost made our relationship worse. The short sessions, the long delays between sessions, and the therapists who couldn't remember the details of our relationship presented barriers and were not conducive to solving our problems. We felt more and more like we were alone in this and that therapy (in any capacity) wouldn't succeed. We felt hopeless.
Couples Therapy Inc, in many respects, was our last effort to repair our relationship. However, it should have been our first choice. If we had led with Couples Therapy Inc, we would have repaired our marriage years ago and with much less pain and suffering.
I can't express how impressed my wife and I are with Havi, she's really amazing!
"We have seen numerous therapist over the last three years and you have, by far, exceeded all of our expectations. I got there on Friday with a lot of anger over our situation. By the time we left Sunday afternoon I felt free...
Angela had a very nice way of not taking sides, yet giving good strong comments and thought-provoking scenarios. She absolutely knew us when we got there and often referred to our history. She was extraordinarily easy to talk to and also has a nice sense of humor. She gave us practical tools to use when I was very upset and we left with a new vision of our future and tools to use to improve our communication. I was skeptical heading into the weekend but now I am so glad that we did it.”
Angela Voegele // Certified Gottman Therapist, Board-Certified Sex Therapist
"Before we called Couples Therapy Inc. we were distressed. The core issue was healing from infidelity. This was our first time in counseling after 31 years together. We are now in baby steps mode in learning how to better communicate.
I loved how direct Daniel was and that he knows the science behind the work. I would recommend Daniel. I like his no BS style and he has a real knack for gathering information and making it applicable and understandable.
What three benefits resulted from working with Couples therapy Inc?
I was really glad to find Daniel because my husband is very averse to any sort of mental counseling.
Daniel Dashnaw // Couples Therapist (pre-licensed)
We know that when we're seriously ill and need surgery, we can't just call the first name on a Google search. We need to have some idea of how to find the best medical professional we can afford. Medicine is regulated so that even if your cousin Charlie has a sharp knife and likes to cut things, he's not the person you'd turn to.
Neither can he set up an office as a "surgeon." He needs a medical license, that includes general medical training and then specialized training in surgery.
Unfortunately, this is not the case with Couples Therapy.
There is no license necessary to hold retreats for couples. There is no "rotation" in couples therapy for any counseling program, even Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT's) (there may be a single course). If you want to become a couples therapist, you do it on your own dime, after your degree.
And somehow, when it comes to our marriages and our love life, some of us open our hearts and minds to whoever might listen. Or put in "marriage counseling" in Google and hire a person with a catchy landing page, ask our friends, or just look up a name on our insurance panel.
But even in matters of the heart, there are better ways to find excellent help.
Only a few psychotherapists are devoted to the complicated art of healing marriages.
Both have approved supervisors who can teach other therapists the skills in these models.
There are perhaps 1000 certified EFT couples therapists and under 300 Gottman-certified couples therapists worldwide.
All of our therapists are trained in two levels of Gottman Method, most have Level Three and experience in several other models.
I can't emphasize how rare that is for a therapy practice.
Seven of our couples therapists are Certified by the Gottman Institute. Four are MASTER TRAINERS who work for and train for the Gottman Institute.
We also have many therapists with EFT levels of training and one certified EFT therapist, on the track to become a supervisor of EFT.
We know how to help couples.
We know that diagnosis is essential in medicine. That happens with an interview, examination, lab work and perhaps X-rays. Couples Therapy has an assessment, too. We look at you as an individual, your marriage, and your situation. We do this using interviews, assessment instruments, and videotaping of a particular set of interactions.
Like a diamond, your marriage is the hardest “jewel” in the rocky world of relationships. But with a magnifying glass and precision skill, the jeweler's tap brings out the luster. Many marriage are rough stones with hidden brilliance. Just waiting to shine.
Careful assessment is our "magnifying glass." "The BIG BIG Book" (which includes a Gottman Assessment and a lot more...) allows us take a closer look at you as an individual in your marriage. It's an online tool. Completing it will have a huge impact on you, too. Our couples tell us it was the start of their couples therapy retreat.
This online assessment is scored, and your words are carefully read and analyzed, side-by-side with your partner's tome. We do this before we even meet.
When you arrive at this couples retreat, we'll explore your early relationship history, "The Story of Us," and with your therapist, you'll work collaboratively, constructing your most critical relationship goals during our time together.
With the help of The BIG BIG Book, you'll be asked finely-tuned questions about your marital issues.
It requires hundreds of hours of training and thousands of dollars in supervision. It takes years of working with couples as licensed professionals to perfect our art and gain a stable footing as couples therapists. And these costs are passed on to you, the troubled couple in need of help.
Our retreats range in price from $3000 - $5000* for the intensive. You get what you pay for if you are ready to do the hard work to change things around in your marriage.
We say that we don't compete against the "All Purpose Therapist" who is like the GP of Medicine. We compete against the divorce attorney or the heart attack.
You don't go to a GP when you have a heart attack. You go to a cardiologist.
And divorce attorney's retainer will cost you twice what our intensive couples therapy will cost you, all told. A bad marriage takes a toil on your health and your future longevity. We encourage couples to choose the most highly trained professionals they can afford.
You'll have a Couples Retreat Expert for an entire weekend, devoted to helping you resolve your most formidable relationship challenges. Choose with confidence. We have some of the most experienced couples therapists in the world...Over 500 years of combined clinical experience. Many have well over 25 years of experience.
Instead of seemingly endless weekly "45-minute sessions," you'll spend a solitary weekend--just the two of you...alone. Relaxed. Away from the hassles of your everyday lives.
A shocking 80% of therapists are convinced they already know how to do couples therapy. Yet only 12% of these therapists have ever completed a single course in couples therapy!
You now know what credentials to look for.
Look for a professional with many levels of training in one or more science-based models of couples therapy.
And then your whole world blows up...
In contrast, our specialists are among the most highly trained couples therapists available today. They include those with advanced training in one, two or even three or more models of couples therapy approaches.
All have at least one formal, evidence-based certificate in couples therapy.
*Dr. K's intensives (the founder of Couples Therapy Inc.) are more expensive. See us for details.
Our relationship was positive and in recovery, but we still struggled with deep attachment wounds we had individually and later, between us. We are both earnest and comprehensive in the life we are seeking together. We now have many new tools to work through together. We are learning how to communicate amygdala-to-amygdala. The Gottman practical skills are also a useful framework for day-to-day conflict. We are still internalizing bigger messages about our own development and how that fits into our marriage. We appreciated Dr. McMahon's direct approach, breath of knowledge and ability to see our situation from a new and fresh perspective. She knows what she is doing in complicated situations and has the confidence to address issues she sees in a direct way.
Dr. McMahon // President, Couples Therapy Inc.
We were on the brink of divorce and had trust, infidelity, communication, partnership issues. My husband thought we couldn't possibly benefit from just three days. Marisa was down to earth, genuine, kind, nonjudgmental, a good listener, creative, funny, sincere, caring, compassionate. I feel like she was truly partnering with us to save our relationship. She showed that she cared about us early on and seemed to have a vested interest in seeing us succeed together and to learn to love each other better than we ever thought was possible.
Marisa Mundey // Houston Couples Therapist
You put a lot of faith in us. And we honor that trust. We get that. You entrust us with your marriage and your family. And we take that responsibility seriously. Not all marriages are helped by this intensive approach, and we do not perform miracles. But we can give our honest clinical opinion about what has gone wrong in your marriage and what steps are needed to turn things around.
Not all of your troubles may be marriage related. Some may require working on your own issues, switching jobs, getting outside help for your children, learning to self-regulate and calm down or managing substance use or mental health issues. But our job is to provide you with a blueprint of what's wrong and how to start the journey to fix it. We can't promise that we'll arrive there with you. However, all journeys begin with a careful roadmap and the first step.
And we don't give up on you just because you've got a complicated marriage, or have tried and failed at love before.
Forget 6 months of 45-minute sessions that stop at the height of your fight... "See you next week!" Science says: "Not enough time!" We take a weekend.
These aren't generic “communication skills training" with 5-250 other couples. Our approach is precise and intimate. Just you alone and one skilled professional.
Not someone's biased 'personal opinion.' This help is based upon 40+ years of research with over 3,000 couples. There are skills to impart and hearts to heal.
These lower cost educational offerings provide general guidance on improving your relationship.
Our clinicians provide these workshops as well, all across the USA.
However, if you're in acute marital distress, get the private, one-to-one help you need. Our Couples Retreat experts can begin the process of transforming your relationship. One heart at a time. Pick the best weekend for you, and reserve your Intensive Couples Retreat today.
Don't ignore your relationship problems and hope they go away.
We were in trouble. We weren't communicating that effectively. We both needed to reflect on our method of dealing with difficult topics, understand how our partner responds to our style and learn tools to get the most effective means of dialogue going. We were concerned that the therapist would take sides or use theoretical concepts that wouldn't work in practice. Instead, we learned a lot more about each other, how to communicate more effectively, and tools to avoid slipping into old destructive habits. I liked all aspects of Dr. Gorman's approach to us individually and as a couple. Her sense of humour and balanced approach in listening and guiding were exactly what we needed. She is a gem.
Dr. Patricia Gorman // Psychologist, Couples Therapist
Our relationship was very bad. After this intensive we have now reached an agreement on how we want to be with each other. We communicate better. We have a clear idea what to do. The weekend provided structure for us and some good tools to use when we argue. We have a good plan for the next six months.
We had done couples therapy several times with varying degrees of success. We have communication and trust issues, particularly my partner’s willingness to commit. Dr. Ham is affable, very skilled and knows how to push into the deep water. Now, there’s more honesty about where we are, more risk-taking to say what we feel/need/want.
The core issues we wanted to improve were communication and understanding but we were hesitant about the price. So we went to another therapist instead, but it went poorly.
I would recommend anyone use Couples Therapy Inc. I liked Dr. Powell’s even approach and focus on Gottman methods. I thought the intensive weekend was very helpful. We still have challenges, but the weekend was a great way to make deposits into each other’s emotional bank account. We have much better ways to communicate. We’ve slowed down our discussions so they don’t spiral out of control. We identified some core conflicts and helped to “declaw” them. We have better communication, better understanding and empathy towards each other and better skills moving forward.
The BIG BIG Book Online Assessment - Over 800 detailed questions that help you understand what issues to focus on and help your therapist be in the best position to hit the ground running clinically.
For two hours, we explore your understanding of the problem with a particular method designed by one of the world's most accomplished couples therapist. Afterward, we take an Oral History Dr. Gottman has dubbed: "The Story of Us."
9:30 am - 4:30 pm
Individual and joint meetings to complete the assessment and begin treatment.
9:30 am - 4:30pm
Full Day of custom-crafted interventions to help heal and repair your intimate bond.
"[Couples Therapy Inc.] is serious business - no margaritas, group sessions or yoga classes... a science-based intensive one-on-one retreat addressing your relationship issues head on with a skilled doctoral or masters-level couples therapist." Leah Groth, Staff Writer
"[T]he program begins with a “State of the Union” assessment. Designed to save time and money, this part of the program lets you and a therapist know where you’re both at and what needs to be worked on. The Intensive Couples Retreat takes you away from everything so that you can focus on each other and your relationship. Based on 40 years of research, it’s a program that’s designed to deliver results. " Racheal Tasker, Staff Writer