Workshops are an excellent way to enhance a marriage or a long-term committed relationship. You may search in your local area for such workshops. There are also many workshops run by national organizations - backed by a strong body of research and time-tested techniques - that you can travel to attend. Here are examples of three of the most popular weekend workshops you can find across the U.S. and possibly internationally.
Hold Me Tight
The "Hold Me Tight" workshop is grounded in one of the most successful methods of couples’ therapy available, known as “Emotionally Focused Therapy” (EFT). It was developed by researcher and clinician, Dr. Sue Johnson. She has written a popular self-help book for couples, also called Hold Me Tight, and formatted this workshop on the same principles. EFT has been highly effective in treating distressed couples. The model is based upon our experience of human bonding and attachment. Couples change their conversation patterns through the processes of understanding feelings and emotional needs. As a couple utilizing these techniques, you can heal early negative attachment patterns. The focus of the program is to help couples learn about and practice seven conversations that help eliminate distress and create closeness and connection. This is accomplished under the guidance of the workshop leaders, who are often seasoned EFT therapists. Participants view material presented via lecture, PowerPoint, video demonstrations, and private exercises one on one with their partner.
The Art and Science of Love
The "Art and Science of Love" workshop is based on the research and methods of Dr. John and Dr. Julie Gottman. The workshop can be experienced by these two popular marriage researchers if you are in the Seattle area. If not, skilled therapists across the county are hosting them after being trained by the Gottman Institute. Also based on the Gottman’s best-selling book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, couples gain new insights about their relationship and learn research-based skills that have been shown to significantly improve the level of intimacy and friendship in your relationship. Skills taught will also help participants manage conflict in a productive and healthy way. Couples also get to take home a box set of cards, tips, and tools for on-going support after the workshop.
Getting the Love You Want
The "Getting the Love You Want" workshop is based on Imago couples’ therapy. It was pioneered by Dr. Harville Hendrix and is also centered on his popular self-help book of the same title. With the guidance of skilled therapists, exercises are completed and shared together that are primarily grounded in your own emotional history. You will learn how this history influences reasons you chose your partner and reasons that you may both get into distress or power-struggles. Imago therapy views these relationship struggles as a natural part of love, and as a great opportunity to enhance love and relationship satisfaction. The “Imago Dialogue” is taught during the workshop to help partners exit from these power struggles and restore a connection.
All of these workshops have proven track-records and are excellent opportunities to repair a distressed relationship or enhance an already strong relationship. They are best for those who are married or in a committed relationship, but may also benefit engaged couples. Such workshops are frequently cost-effective relative to the costs of couples’ therapy (or a divorce)! They are not a substitute for couples’ therapy but they can provide a great springboard for those who need more intensive therapy beyond this experience. These workshops are also a sound measure to help prevent marital distress.