a Couple's Place

Weekend Couple Intensive Retreats

a Couple's Place

Couples Therapy & Marriage Counseling

Weekend Couple Intensive Retreats

A Weekend Couple Intensive Retreat
may be the best counseling approach for you.

A couple holding hand along a beach pathwayA couple holding hand along a beach pathway

Weekend Couple Intensive Retreat

The Couple Retreat is designed for a couple seeking a focused and intensive approach to couples counseling. Over the course of 2.5 days from Friday to Sunday, couples move through specific issues and learn important new skills in a short period of time, either online or in person. Prior to the retreat, a brief interview will be conducted over the phone or Zoom, and once confirmed, each partner separately will complete our assessment packet online. This intensive approach helps couples to make significant changes in their relationship or marriage and jumpstart a renewed connection, potentially altering the trajectory of the relationship towards positive growth. Intensives are suitable for committed couples in crisis, relationship tune-ups, pre-marital counseling or any couple whose busy schedule prevents regular counseling sessions.

Couples who might benefit from a weekend counseling intensive are...
  • Committed couples who are in crisis and want to start the healing process.
  • Couples wanting a relationship tune-up to strengthen their bond.
  • Pre-marital couples seeking to understand more about each other’s conflict style, personality tendencies and life goals with confidence and clarity.
  • Any couple who wants extended time to help them address important issues in their marriage or relationship.

If you are interested in an intensive, call or email us to set up a Zoom meet and greet (15 min) with you and your partner at no cost to you.

Prior to meeting for the weekend we will have you complete an online questionnaire.  Typically we use the Gottman Connect questionnaire, but we may add additional assessments.

The Intensive hours are usually two hours on Friday and six and a half hours on Saturday and Sunday. There is a lunch break, and morning & afternoon breaks on the weekend days.  Days and hours can be flexible.

The following schedule is typical of a couple retreat / intensive:

Friday - 2 hours

Check In

You most certainly have talked to each other about the weekend prior to coming in but this is a chance to share with each other in perhaps a more balanced way.  It’s not uncommon for us to start with each of you sharing with your partner what you think their hopes and concerns are for the weekend.  Don’t worry partner - you will get a chance to add or gently correct.  Next we will move on to your relationship history.

Oral History Interview

The Oral History Interview is the story of your relationship.  We’ll want to know how you met and what attracted you to each other? What were early days like?   If married, how did you, or did you, decide to get married?  If you have children, how was that decision made and what was that transition like? Big moves? Losses? Successes?  What’s a enjoyable time for you as a couple?

Saturday - 6.5 hours

Assessment Individual Sessions:

During the individual sessions Saturday morning you will each meet with the therapist separately, close to an hour to share your personal history and family of origin details.


We have gathered information about your personal past, your relationship past and what you hope to change, repair or enhance in your relationship. The Feedback is partly educational as we review the areas that were strong for successful couples in John Gottman’s research. The happy couples had strong friendships, good conflict management skills, felt supported in their individual goals and enjoyed shared meaning and a positive view of their future.  These areas will be strengths for you as a couple or growth areas that we can explore.


The pacing of the sessions and content will differ depending on where you are with each other.  A couple hoping to repair an affair may be focusing on building transparency and re-establishing trust, or beginning this process.  A couple coming in for pre-marital counseling may be working on exploring what some of their perpetual differences might be or what their conflict styles are.  Your questionnaires and your joined and separate interviews will help us know what to focus on over the weekend.

Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday we will explore and work with the topics you have identified.  There are many couple therapy exercises, also known as interventions, that we use in the Gottman Method to help you communicate well.

Sunday - 6.5 hours

Therapy Continues

Sunday morning we will revisit our treatment plan and goals for the day.  Some of the common interventions we use include teaching you how to repair a fight, how to shift gears if you start to fight and how to turn a fight into a conversation.  It’s not unusual for couples to struggle with “fight and flight” responses when they argue.  If so, you will learn how to bring your heart rates down and re-engage when you are experiencing this threat response.

Sunday is also the time to visit positive aspects of your relationship that you may have been neglecting.  These may include renewing some of your rituals of connection, learning how to better cope with external stress, or reconnecting in the areas of friendship, intimacy or your plans for the future.  We want to end the intensive on Sunday on a high note.

Couples Therapy Mandala
“By choosing an accelerated approach, we
were able to make more movement, faster.”

Frequently Asked Questions

A asian couple in an extended counseling session.A asian couple in an extended counseling session.

What type of couples are intensives designed for?

Couples who are invested in doing the work to improve their marriage or relationship.

What about affairs or other betrayals?

Intensives can be very powerful for these couples when the person who has betrayed their partner is willing to accept responsibility for their choices and help their partner move from being an outsider to being an insider.  Typically the person who has been betrayed has questions and a need to experience honesty and transparency with their partner.  This will not work if the partner who had the affair has not ended it.  Many couples do repair these types of betrayals and it is ongoing work.  Follow up sessions may be helpful.

Do you work with all types of couples?

We work with all types of couples. This includes couples married long term or newlyweds, GLBTQ+ or straight, or ethically non monogamous.  For pre-marital couples we may suggest an adjustment in your questionnaire, such as the addition of the Prepare- Enrich questionnaire designed specifically for couples getting married.

A couple in an intensive therapy session.

Who may not be a candidate for Intensive Couples Therapy?

Couples dealing with domestic violence, serious drug or alcohol addiction, or serious mental health problems may not be candidates. In these cases, the couples work may need to be coordinated with individual therapy, or put on hold until the situation is stabilized.

You have already decided to leave your relationship and are not committed to working on it the intensive. However, if you are considering divorce but have not yet decided, please visit our Discernment Counseling page as it may be a valuable resource for your journey ahead...

Will insurance cover this treatment?

Insurance will not cover relationship counseling as it is not considered “medically necessary”.  We do not provide superbills for the couple intensive.

Rates for Weekend Couples Intensive Sessions

Please call Lisa Lund for current rates & further info at (415) 721-4310.

A couple in an intensive therapy session.

Lisa Lund, CRC, MFT is a Certified Master Gottman Couples Therapist and Professional Trainer. Licensed in marriage and family therapy, she firmly believes that couples can learn the skills needed to improve their relationship.

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