The types of answers you'll give to these types of questions will determine whether you look for an "enrichment"-based group setting, skills-based training, someone with clinical state licensure and board-certification in sex therapy, or a professional who focuses on divorce prevention.
Not all those who advertise "retreats" are licensed clinical professionals. Some are, some have no formal clinical training at all. Be sure to ask what type of clinical license they have and from what state or province.
Marriage Retreats shouldn't be the treatment of "last resort," but that's how many couples approach them. They often call up, desperate for the "soonest possible date." They are surprised to find that a senior marriage counselor running a Marriage Retreat are in high demand, and booked several months in advance.
You'll be putting your marriage in the hands of the the person running the marriage retreat. Ask to speak to them in person, and get answers to your most pressing questions. If you don't find these answers on their website, ask directly:
This is a term coined because so many therapists, because of their professional training, hold a “neutral” value orientation towards whether a marriage survives or whether the couple divorces. In one study, over 60% were "neutral" about whether couples stayed married or divorced. 2.4% actually said they frequently suggest divorce.
A large percentage of couples regret divorce when it's finalized. Scientific research finds that even couples well-suited to be married, go through periods when their marriages seem "hopeless." For this reason, the marriage counselor should be the last person in the room "suggesting" divorce. There is a registry of "marriage friendly therapists" that directly support the viability of troubled marriages. Find out if the person running your marriage retreat is one of them.
Your professional holding the marriage retreat will get to know you both very, very well. However, any marriage retreat held over 2, 3, or 4 days requires taking in and processing a lot of information. Not everything gets digested at the marriage retreat itself. Couples can sometimes struggle when they attempt to apply that information when they arrive home. Many professionals who hold marriage retreats offer online or in-person follow-ups, to solidify your learning and get you over the rough spots when you return home. Find out if the one you've investigating does so. Licensing may be an issue here and outside of your counselor's hands. Check to see if that's the case, and if so, how will they be able to still help.
The costs of a private, one-to-one marriage retreat with a licensed professional can run between $3,000 to $12,000+ per couple. Some with no license at all can charge that much because they are listed as "Highly Rated."
Group sessions can cost between $650-$7500.
But divorce is far more costly, not only financially, but emotionally as well. Take the time to find the best marriage retreat you can locate within your budget, and commit yourself to participating in it fully.
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