8 Best Marriage Counseling Retreats in the U.S.

Whether you are a newlywed or have been married for decades, making a point to work on your marriage is one of the best ways to keep it strong. While weekly marriage counseling is a go-to solution for many couples, other marriages will benefit from longer, more intensive counseling sessions and private retreats.

Thankfully, there are a wide array of marriage conferences, retreats and counseling intensives available across the United States. Each of them plays a role in helping couples renew their commitment, work through present issues, re-establish common ground, learn new skills and increase their connection. However, not all are created equal.

After analyzing the different offerings and methodologies used at marriage counseling retreats, we compiled this list of our top 8 marriage retreats. Included in the list is information about each retreat, a cost breakdown, a staff summary and links you can follow for more information.

1. Northampton Center for Couples Therapy/Florence, Massachusetts

The Northampton Center for Couples Therapy (NCCT) is the only center in the U.S. that has an on-site team entirely dedicated to couples counseling. They are also known for using a full spectrum of restoration methods. From the Gottman Method to Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT) to the PEX-T model by Brent Atkinson, Ph.D., each couple is given a big “toolbox” of skills and strategies derived from the most effective approaches treating marital crisis today.

All NCCT retreat counselors are fully-licensed, and every couple receives exclusive, 1–1 attention during their retreat. No matter what you are struggling with when you reach NCCT, you can count on personalized care from the get-go. They will help you hand-pick your therapist, customize your treatment, and offer you a post-retreat plan-of-action catered exclusively to your unique needs as a couple.

Also, all counselors at NCCT use a “state-dependent approach.” This means they will be right there with you as you deal with the same situations you face at home. Instead of standing on the sidelines, they coach you through each challenge and teach you positive, relationship-building habits for success. You can choose between a 2-day or 3-day intensive, and because they have a home base, you can come back for subsequent mini-intensives offered exclusively to retreat participants.

Cost:

$2,995/couple for a 2-Day Retreat/ $4,500/couple for a 3-Day Retreat. (Price does not include lodging, meals or travel.)

Availability:

By Appointment

Staff Credentials:

Kerry Lusignan, Founder/Director of NCCT, holds a Master’s degree in Applied Psychology, has more than 25 years of professional clinical experience and has trained extensively with some of the heavy-hitters in the field of relationship distress, including John Gottman, Ph.D., Esther Perel and Brent Atkison, Ph.D.

All NCCT counselors are fully licensed and dedicated couples therapists, well-versed in the leading evidence-based models of marriage therapy. Collectively, they bring 155 years of professional experience to the table and as the only center in New England dedicated exclusively to couples; they have a unique understanding of the tools and techniques needed to overcome even the most challenging relationship hurdles.

2. Gottman Private Couples Retreat /Orcas Island, Washington

Part romantic vacation and part counseling intensive, this two-day counseling retreat on Orcas Island outside of Seattle is hosted by one of the world’s leading experts in marital stability, John M. Gottman.

Held in the home of Gottman and his wife Julie, the retreat includes lectures, role plays, discussions, and exercises completed just with one’s partner. Moreover, it employs methodology discovered after 40 years of intensive research which is used by countless certified couples’ counselors worldwide.

While the retreat is conducted in a group setting, all participants will receive one-on-one attention and intervention from Gottman-trained therapists.

Cost:

$7500/ couple. Price does not include lodging, meals or travel.

Availability:

Year-Round

Staff Credentials:

John Gottman, Ph.D. is a world-renowned marital stability expert who has conducted decades of research on the study of emotions, physiology, communication, and divorce prediction. He is also the author or co-author of 119 published academic articles and 37 books.

Julie Schwartz Gottman, Ph.D. is the co-founder and Clinical Director of the Gottman Institute and co-teaches the Institute’s Advanced Training Seminar in Couples Therapy and The Art and Science of Love Couples Weekend Workshop with Dr. John Gottman.

3. Sedona Soul Adventures/Sedona, Arizona

Looking for a part counseling, part revival experience? Consider Sedona Soul Adventures. The Arizona based center offers a spiritually-based and fully customizable retreat experience. Available for individuals or couples, each retreat is carefully customized to each participant. Every aspect of your retreat will be mapped out by your professional counselor to cater to your needs.

While the mission is to put the spark and romance back into your relationship, that is not the sole purpose of Sedona Soul Adventures. At the heart of every experience is the goal of reconnecting you with your authentic, spiritual self. You will leave not only be reunited with each other but reunited with the world around you. Click here to view a sample retreat itinerary.

Cost:

$2800/person or $5600/couple. (Price does not include lodging, meals or travel.)

Availability:

By Appointment

Staff Credentials:

While Sedona Soul Adventures has been in operation for over 15 years, their specific staff credentials and licensing is unknown. Referred to as angel guides or master healers, their counseling staff serve act more as spiritual guides than research-driven or clinical psychologists. So, if a spiritual healing is what you are looking for in your marriage, then this might be the retreat for you.

4. Life Marriage Retreats/California, Utah, Texas & Mexico

Hosted in one of four scenic retreat locations across the U.S. and Mexico, LIFE Marriage Retreats participants can choose between a private, one-on-one experience or small group program. Each experience is conducted over a four-day span and centered on the principles of trust, accountability, forgiveness, commitment, and perspective.

Designed for new marriages or marriages in crisis, LIFE Marriage Retreats provide couples with a “hands-on” approach to their journey. They are taught how to work through and develop skills needed to improve their bond, including communication, problem-solving and more.

Cost:

Private 1-on-1 Retreats start at $9,495/Small Group Program starts at $3,895 (Price does not include lodging, meals or travel.)

Availability:

Year-Round

Staff Credentials:

Gerry Dye has decades of experience delivering training and education programs worldwide. His marriage, personal, professional, and family-based training programs have been utilized on five continents and in more than 45 countries around the world. Margo Dye has been a professional nurse for more than 25 years, with a primary focus on emotional and mental health care and behavioral treatment programs. Together, they have served couples for over ten years through classes, seminars, coaching and private retreats.

5. Healing Couples Retreats/Sonoma County, California

Healing Couples Retreats, led by Dr. John Grey, provides couples with a blend of research-based interventions and effective, hands-on coaching. All participants can choose from one of two formats: private, one-on-one counseling or a shared group retreat.

While private retreats are more commonly requested, both formats allow for direct interaction with Dr. Grey who utilizes a broad range of state-of-the-art strategies. However, with the private retreat, you will have much more focused time with Dr. Grey. The standard and recommended retreat length is three days, but there are also four-day and two-day options available upon request.

Cost:

$8850/couple for a 3-Day Retreat (Price does not include lodging, meals or travel.)

Availability:

Year-Round

Staff Credentials:

Dr. John Grey received his Doctorate in Psychology from Stanford University and had been conducting retreats for couples for over two and a half decades. As the author of four relationship help books, he has been praised by bestselling author and relationship expert Stan Tatkin, who describes Dr. Grey as “a highly intelligent, creative force in the arena of science and relationships.”

6. Marriage Rescue/Huntersville, North Carolina

One of the top-rated Christian-centered marriage counseling retreats in the U.S., Marriage Rescue offers 3-day or 4-day retreat options with six months of follow-up phone support. Designed for couples on all ends of the marriage spectrum, from newly married to separated or on the verge of divorce. This retreat program promises to help you get to the heart of your issues.

All programs are also completely private. Spouses with meet one-on-one with their assigned counselor to work through their specific issues. While the retreat is Christian-based and includes Bible-based teachings, it is open to couples of all beliefs, even those with no particular faith.

Cost:

$2,795/couple for a 3-Day Retreat/$3,695/couple for a 4-Day Retreat (Price does not include lodging, meals or travel.)

Availability:

Year-Round

Staff Credentials:

Wendy Godfrey holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Counseling and is a specialist in marriage crisis counseling. She is solution-oriented and has developed unique tools and techniques for her approach to total marriage recovery. John Z. Godfrey is a clinical pastoral counselor with extensive experience in helping couples overcome the barriers to the marriage. He also has a heart for people with sexual difficulties and addictions. Dennis Welch holds a Master’s degree in Biblical Counseling and served as a pastor for 15 years before joining Marriage Rescue. He also has a deep desire to help restore and rebuild broken marriages.

7. Relationship Rescue Academy/ Kokomo, Indiana

Designed to take couples through six months of counseling in the span of three days, Relationship Rescue Academy is also available in 2-day or 4-day increments. All sessions, however, are 100% private. Each couple will meet one-on-one with a licensed, master level counselor who can address everything from the threat of divorce to infidelity, mistrust or a lack of intimacy.

Each counselor uses a research-driven approach and various exercises to help each couple break through the unique barriers in their marriage. Included in your retreat fees are one pre-intensive phone consultation and one post-intensive follow-up conversation.

Cost:

$2,800 for a 2-Day Retreat/$3,800 for a 3-Day Retreat/$6500 for a 4-Day Retreat (Price includes lodging, but couples are responsible for meals and travel.)

Availability:

By Appointment

Staff Credentials:

While no specific information is published online about the staff, all counselors at Relationship Rescue Academy are fully licensed and experienced couples’ therapists.

8. Marriage Boot Camp/ Plano, Texas

Hosted by Jim and Elizabeth Carroll, Marriage Boot Camp is one of the most affordable marriage counseling intensives on this list. It is also not just restricted to married or serious couples. This 4-day engaging retreat is open for couples of all kinds: dating, engaged, newly married, married with children or on the brink of divorce.

It is a game and drill-based counseling program that utilizes the techniques of expert counselors Dr. Phil. Some of those strategies you might recognize from the TV series titled “Marriage Boot Camp” which was hosted by Jim Carroll himself.

Cost:

$1,200/couple (Price does not include lodging, meals or travel.)

Availability:

Year-Round

Staff Credentials:

Jim Carroll, founder of Marriage Bootcamp, got his start as a trainer with Dr. Phil. From there, he sought out to transform marriage and couples therapy formats into fun, interactive games. Since 1994, Jim has been working with couples across the country, using games, drills, and exercises to facilitate healing.

Elizabeth Carroll, Jim’s wife, has 30 years of experience in the corporate world and a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Dominican University in San Francisco. Her counseling experience includes individuals, couples, and adolescents.

Every marriage faces unique struggles and has unique needs. The issues you are facing, along with your personality profiles, will determine whether a 1–1 or group-based approach is best for you. Also, you should consider the role you want spirituality or religion to play in your counseling experience compared to research or strategy-driven techniques.

No matter what kind of guidance or support you require, there are some great counseling programs and retreats which can help you improve your marriage. For any couple that is looking for professional help, and wants to find a way in which they can resolve the issues and problems they are struggling with, these are a few of the marriage counseling programs to consider.

If you do your homework and find what works best for you and your budget, you are sure to find success.


Originally published at aerocontent.com on December 28, 2017.