Our Answers to Some of Your Most Frequently Asked Questions
- What do you mean by “couple enrichment”
- What is couple-to-couple counselling?
- How do you define “love”?
- How do you view relationships?
- There are so many relationship models out there, what makes yours different?
- What do you mean by a “positive learning environment”?
- What is different about your approach to Counselling?
- Does the Couple Enrichment Approach™ benefit all couples, regardless of age?
- Do you work with non-married couples as well as married couples?
- Would your program benefit pre-marital couples and newlyweds?
- What is the secret of your own personal success as a couple?
- How much does the Couple Intensive Retreat Cost?
1. What do you mean by “couple enrichment”?
Implicit in the concept of couple enrichment is the idea that relationships can be enhanced – they can get “better”, they can become “deeper”, they can go “higher”. Also implicit in this term is the idea that a relationship is a process, not just a one-time commitment. Some practitioners talk about “becoming more married”. We talk about becoming more loving or becoming more related to each other.
2. What is “couple-to-couple counselling”?
When couples who seek couples therapy, they commonly will visit the therapist separately and together — for individual as well as couple sessions.
Couple-to-couple therapy involves two therapists — in this case, a husband-and-wife co-therapy team — who work jointly and simultaneously with each couple. In all our couple therapy sessions, there are four people in the room: the two of you and the two of us. Both heterosexual and same sex couples benefit from co-therapy because there are two sets of trained ears listening, two sets of eyes engaging, two personalities, and two genders to help create a vibrant, productive, and balanced counselling environment.
3. How do you define “love”?
We share Erich Fromm’s view that love is “the only passion which satisfies man’s need to unite himself with the world, and to acquire at the same time a sense of integrity and individuality”. Fromm, E. (1957) The Art of Loving 1995 edn. London: Thorsons. 104 + viii pages.
Like Fromm, we view love as an activity that needs to be learned, practised and mastered over the course of a lifetime. It is an inner faculty or an orientation to life that one develops over time. Love, like other art forms, such as learning to play a musical instrument, requires knowledge of theory, daily practice to perfect ones’ skills and a commitment to the mastery of the art form. We develop our capacity to love by actively doing love, not by passively waiting to receive love, or looking for love outside ourselves.
4. How do you view relationships?
We view relationships as an opportunity for each partner to develop the capacity to love to his or her fullest potential.
Relationships fulfill our most powerful striving – the desire for interpersonal connectedness – the desire to overcome our feelings of separateness and allow us to leave the prison of our aloneness. Relationships are built every day, day by day, through a steadfast commitment to shared values. In our counselling sessions and workshops, we introduce our clients to several relationship-building skills, which we feel are essential to building a loving orientation.
5. There are so many relationship models out there, what makes yours different?
Many models offer valuable advice. Some subscribe to a “how to” format, offering pat formulae or solutions that promise instant change. Others focus on concrete skills, such as communication, active listening, conflict resolution, and negotiation strategies.
Ours is a value-based approach, with the goal of helping couples become more loving in their everyday life. Our model focuses on self-awareness. We feel it is necessary to become more conscious about how we feel, think and act, before we begin learning new relationship skills.
We discuss the importance of shared values with our clients. We encourage them to express their individuality, while deepening the connection with their partners. We create a safe environment where they can learn to be open, honest and direct with each other. And we teach them new skills and attitudes that are essential to developing a loving orientation.
6. What do you mean by a “positive learning environment”?
Our therapy does not focus on looking at what’s “wrong” in a relationship, i.e. the deficits of either partner. The therapeutic process creates an opportunity for raising self-awareness that leads to self-confrontation. We encourage our clients to think critically about commonly held illusions regarding love and relationships. We encourage them to express their innermost thoughts and feelings, and help them tap into their inherent capacities to love.
7. What is different about your approach to Counselling?
Our 3-day one-couple-only Couple Intensive Retreat offers the best opportunity to gain concrete experience in how to connect more deeply. Our Hockley Valley home office provides a serene country setting that will help you relax, feel open to talk intimately, and find time to “practice” what you have learned during each four-hour session. We work as a husband-and-wife co-therapy team, so you will benefit not only from two individual perspectives, but from 37 years’ living together as a couple, as well as from our extensive training, experience and expertise as couples therapists.
Resolving common relationship issues is often approached from the standpoint of seeing what’s wrong or what’s missing in a relationship, rather than seeing where each partner is at in his/her personal development – at a particular moment in time, and in the context of the relationship. We show couples who focus on what is “wrong” with their relationships that they are looking for answers where they cannot be found. In fact, there is no “relationship problem”. The problem, if you can call it that, lies within each of us as an individual. The solution, therefore, comes with our own personal awareness and efforts to change – not by focusing on the behaviours of our partner.
8. Does The Couple Enrichment Approach™ benefit all couples, regardless of age?
Couples grapple with different issues at various life stages. The Couple Enrichment Approach™ encourages lifelong learning and is therefore beneficial for couples of all ages.
9. Do you work with non-married couples as well as married couples?
Yes. Our services extend to couples of all backgrounds, ages, and sexual orientations.
10. Would your program benefit pre-marital couples and newlyweds?
By learning the concepts of The Couple Enrichment Approach™, pre-marital couples and newlyweds have the advantage of finding out, early in the relationship, what values they have in common. They learn to dispel illusions about themselves, and of each other, decreasing the likelihood of false expectations and inevitable disappointments later in life. They develop practical skills and gain valuable knowledge to deal with life’s issues and challenges.
11. What is the secret of your own personal success as a couple?
We encourage each other to grow as individuals. We both strive to live to our fullest potential, appreciating the gifts that our relationship brings us. Everyday is an opportunity to express our love for each other, to work together to achieve common goals, to laugh about life’s ironies, and to keep the warmth and passion between us alive and ongoing.
12. How Much does the Couple Intensive Retreat cost?