What is a Marriage Intensive?  The standard approach to couples therapy usually involves 2-4 appointments a month, typically a week or two apart, usually 60 minutes in length. While this is a time-tested method, it isn’t right for every situation. A “Marriage Intensive” takes these weekly hours of couples counseling and places them in the context of a much smaller period of time: 2-3 days.

What’s included in the cost of the Intensive?

Pre-Intensive: Hollis or Dave will be available to answer questions and over support information about the intensive.  Pre-intensive you complete an in-depth, three-part assessment.  The assessment delves into the background, personality and relationship style of both individuals, the history of the relationship and marriage, and current marital relationship challenges.  The typical assessment package requires about 8 hours of time to score and assimilate.

During the Intensive: Hollis and Dave will be wholly available during the hours of the intensive.  During breaks, lunches and evening hours they will be strategically planning the next sessions.  It is our experience that we are immersed in you as a couple for about 10-12 hours per day during the intensive.

Post-Intensive: Depending on the package you select, the price may include post-intensive follow-up.

(Travel expenses, lodging and meals are not included in the pricing.)

Is there any support after the Intensive?

Several of the packages include either 1 or 2 days of intensive follow-up.  Additional options include individual or couple sessions either in person or via digital technology.

Does Insurance Cover the Intensive?

Health Insurance Policies typically cover up to two sessions per day (per person) and a portion of the assessment package.

As for the investment in the Intensive, we often ask couples, “What is the cost of not doing this?” Your house is not the most important investment you’ll ever make. Your marriage is. That’s because the costs of a divorce are enormous. We’ve priced the attorneys. Then, consider the time spent on one to two years of marriage therapy (time off from work, travel time, and the sessions themselves). Plus, the statistics are not good for financial life after marriage: roughly 25% of individual file for bankruptcy within a year after divorce.

Do Hollis and Dave both participate the whole time?

Each day of the intensive includes roughly 6 or more hours of direct counseling (plus three to five hours of prep, strategizing and debriefing by Hollis and Dave). We do all counseling as a team and provide individual sessions as needed, in which we each work with the individual.

Are there benefits in working with a married couple?

There is a powerful dynamic that occurs when a male and female therapist join skills to counsel together. We’re both licensed counselors with 50 years combined professional experience. We bring a male-female dynamic and insights into issues of both genders to assist you in the repair and strengthening of your relationship.  Many of our intensive clients have commented on the powerful dynamic of a married couple leading the intensive.

Our relationship is not-traditional—is that ok?
Absolutely. We work with all couples in committed relationships.

Is the Intensive affiliated with any religion?

No. We welcome couples from all religious backgrounds.

Do you spend a lot of the time going over the couples’ background in the Intensive?

No, we hit the ground running because prior to the start of the Intensive you will complete a written packet, which includes an extensive personal history, personality profiles and testing, and marital assessment. This is not a quick questionnaire; we recommend you set aside 5-7 hours to compete it. We then use your responses to score, evaluate and strategize our initial plan for your Intensive.

Where is it held?

The Northwest Marriage Intensive is held in our counseling offices, located in the center of Sandy Oregon, the Gateway to Mt. Hood. Mt. Hood National Forest offers almost endless opportunities for hiking, skiing, biking, visiting waterfalls, and other tourist attractions.

Some couples prefer to combine the marriage intensive with a favorite vacation or recreation/retreat spot. In some situations, Hollis and Dave will meet a couple at a location of the couple’s choosing. The schedule for counseling would follow a similar pattern to the on-site intensives listed above. Please inquire about pricing for this option.

What’s your success rate with the Intensives?

Reducing the outcomes of Marriage Intensives to a percentage is overly simplistic.  In our work with couples, we’ve discovered that success depends on the context of the couple we are working with.  For some, significant improvement on a marriage of 35 years is success. For others replacing dysfunctional communication patterns with healthy communication patterns is success.  For others, reaching a place where they could separate and divorce in a way that did minimal harm to their children and finances was success. Success is as varied as the couples who come to us.  We’ve never had a couple report regret that they invested in an intensive.

Is it possible to talk with couples who’ve done this?

Our work with couples is completely confidential. For ethical reasons we do not solicit feedback to be used for marketing from clients.

Are there any situations that are not appropriate for an Intensive?

If any of the following dynamics are currently true of your situation you will need to talk with Dave or Hollis before scheduling: domestic violence; impairing substance abuse; an ongoing emotional or physical affair; chronic mental illness; thoughts of harm to self or others (suicidal or homicidal thoughts).

Your Next Steps for a Marital Intensive Retreat . . .

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