Nancy rushes out of the marriage counselor's office holding back tears of pain and anguish from her 15 year marriage.
"Weekly counseling just isn't working", Nothing ever changes and I’m not going back”, she sneered to her husband as he pushed the elevator button.
“It’s just like you to give up. You never stay with anything”, Sam responded harshly as they waited for the elevator.
They stood in the elevator, back to back while the silence grew more deafening as they descended to the lobby. Both wondering if they were going to make it. They stepped off the elevator, each going their own way as they had done for so many years.
"Wow, that was a tough session. I'm not sure I helped them today. Actually, I'm not sure weekly counseling isn't causing more problems?
The first part of the session is catching up on what happened between sessions and then we get about 15-20 minutes of counseling that seems to be productive (if we're lucky)!
Their interaction is so toxic and they aren’t able to try my suggestions even in the counseling room. They have identified so many issues to address. I don’t how they’ll ever get through them?
I'm not sure what to do next. They really need more than weekly therapy. Maybe I should refer them on to someone else,” the therapist thought to herself.
On average, couples wait 7 years to reach out for help. Seven years (or more) is a long time for unhealthy patterns of communication to set in and for grief, betrayal or anger to erode at the foundation of the relationship.
Whether you’re the client or the therapist, weekly therapy can be challenging. I’m not sure where the 50-minute session became the norm for therapy, but it just doesn’t seem long enough. Yet on other days, 50 minutes can feel like an eternity for all involved.
At times, relationships become painfully unhealthy because of overwhelming crisis, multiple challenging issues or caustic communication patterns erode the foundation of the marriage.
Weekly therapy barely touches the surface and just isn’t supportive. Sometimes, weekly therapy is more injurious than helpful.
Whether you are the overwhelmed therapist or hopeless couple: there is hope and options.
When a couple needs more intensive therapy, is “at the end of their rope”, or they’ve tried everything with no relief, or want a “shot in the arm” to get through the tough issues; Intensives are a valuable option.
Intensives (intensive psychotherapy) are personalized and uniquely designed therapeutic experiences. Intensives are for individuals, couples, or families that want to progress through challenges.
In a Couples Intensives I work with one couple for 1-4 days. This gives couples time to explore their relationship from a multifaceted perspective, discover core patterns of conflict that keep them stuck and address unsettled problems. Intensives help couples progress beyond their fears and self-protection.
I do Intensives with people from all over the world. Couples often choose to come to South Dakota and I arrange lodging accommodations. I am also willing to travel to you or we can agree upon a neutral location. We can discuss your needs and make arrangements to meet those desires.
For the Couple
If you are currently working with a therapist, the Intensive can be a complimentary addition to the counseling you are already doing. I can work with your therapist before the Intensive to help meet your needs and goals. Upon completion of an Intensive you are referred directly back to the therapist you have been working with.
If you are not currently working with a therapist, that’s OK. Upon completion of the Intensive we will work together to find a therapist to provide follow up counseling. An Intensive is not a fix all and you will need continued professional help to achieve your goals.
God wants your relationship to succeed and be fruitful! You are worth the time and effort to heal and grow your relationship into what God has designed marriage to be. He’s the author and designer of marriage. Let Him guide you into a loving and honoring marriage.
For the Therapist
If you are feeling that you’re scratching the surface of a couples issues or the client seems to be stuck or need more counseling; an Intensive could help.
You’ll receive a collaborative approach to assisting your client. You can provide input and direction regarding the areas that need to be addressed and your client will come away with a clear follow-up plan to discuss with you. Often times the client returns to weekly therapy more open and willing to continue their work.
Nancy and Sam completed a 3 day Intensive this past month. They addressed years of infidelity along with the pain and anguish this caused them both. They were able to begin the process of forgiveness and have compassion with one another.
The Good News
Here's what Nancy and Sam had to say about the Intensive. "I really didn't have much faith that the Intensive would help us. I was feeling hopeless! I wasn't the one having multiple affairs, lying and cheating so why do I have to deal with all this. It's his problem," Nancy thought in the beginning.
Now I know that if I want our relationship to work, I need support to get me through this. This is a "we" problem," Nancy warmly reported.
As Sam listens to his wife share her feelings about the Intensive, tears of gratitude flow down his cheek. "I didn't think we were going to make it the second day into our Intensive. It felt like we were going to separate. Yet, because we had commitment and multiple hours to press through the hard stuff, we came out on the other side with healing. I am thankful we were able to talk about the pain and that I was able to really hear Nancy's heart. Thanks for the miracle!" Sam expressed.
Sam and Nancy were referred back to their referring therapist, looking forward to continued work with her. The therapist was hopeful their sessions would be more productive and helpful.
Intensives are a win-win for all involved. When all else fails or you’re ready to try something different, Intensives are a useful option for couples in therapy. For further information about Intensives or if you have questions please visit our website or call Laura Longville at 605.381.9435.