A Marriage Intensive (MI) is a weekend deep dive into the relationship dynamic to help couples break out of toxic cycles that have left them stuck in a perpetual state of gridlock. Intensives provide extensive, structured couples therapy where spouses participate in a robust curriculum of research-founded and evidence-based treatment interventions co-facilitated by two of Bayou Wellness's Gottman-trained therapists. Neuroscience shows that immersive experiences are more effective for behavior change, which is why intensive therapy can help couples reach solutions in a faster period of time. Weekend intensives are the equivalent of months-worth of couples therapy. The treatment exercises are both challenging and hope-filled. Couples acquire new skills through repetitive practice and develop increased trust, hope, and appreciation for one another. The goal of the intensive is for the couple to leave sufficiently equipped with new tools for managing conflict, enhancing fondness and admiration of one another, and working towards establishing a shared sense of purpose.
Marriage Intensives are equivalent to months-worth of one-hour weekly couples therapy sessions. A typical couples therapy session usually lasts anywhere from 50 to 90 minutes and takes place in the therapy office once a week. The time in a couples therapy session generally limits the treatment focus to one issue or skill per session. There is often homework assigned for the couple to complete in between office visits. When couples find themselves stuck in gridlock, at the end of their relationship rope, too resentful or shut down to effectively practice skills learned in the therapy office between sessions, it's time to consider the value of the extended time and additional therapist an MI experience provides. The couple doesn't merely take an hour off work to meet his or her spouse for a therapy appointment. The two designate an entire day (or two) to spend uninterrupted time together, tending to the the health of their most treasured relationship, communicating to the other, "You are valuable to me," in the professional care of two licensed therapists. The extended time in an intensive provides the opportunity to address a myriad of complicated relationship issues without feeling pressured or rushed. It also allows for a number of new, powerful skills to be thoroughly practiced and learned. MI's are designed to cultivate a safe emotional environment where deeper vulnerability can be practiced in order to achieve higher levels of intimacy. They allow for further processing than a 50-minute couples session. Energy is drawn, traction is gained, and momentum is built on the backs of each preceding exercise.
The entire MI process from start to finish is rather involved, and we are here to walk you through each step.
Based on the discoveries made, tools learned, and skills practiced during the MI, you and your spouse will be assigned couples homework. We recommend scheduling a follow-up couples therapy session with us one week after your MI. A follow-up session allows for an opportunity to debrief, attend to any residual issues that may arise after the MI, and discuss how your homework assignments are going. Also, we just really want to check on you!
Please consider the possibility that in some cases, often high-intensity situations, the need for post-MI regular couples and/or individual therapy sessions may be indicated until your goals are reached. Regarding the possible need for treatment beyond your weekend MI, your MI therapist will be able to make initial individual recommendations after your Intake Sessions and further couples recommendations after the completion of the GRC, before the MI takes place. And naturally, the MI will give all four of us (each spouse and each therapist) deeper understanding into what your continued treatment needs will look like. We want to keep you informed of our clinical impressions at each juncture. In the event you'll need further counseling, it is wise to ensure you'll be able establish care with a provider within one week after your MI.
Lastly, due to the amount of mental and emotional labor required during your MI, expect to return home tired, and plan to spend the remainder of the weekend resting. Planning in advance to take the next day off of work is also not a bad idea. Be assured that your body and mind will need recovery time, where rest and hydration are key!
The cost of your Intake Sessions are not included, so that you can use your insurance to reduce cost if you would like. We do not bill insurance for MI's. While Intake Session copays are due at the time of service, MI payment is due at the time of scheduling in order to secure your time slot and to send you the GRC (the cost of which is included in the MI).
Three different MI experiences are offered, according to each couple's needs and preferences. The five-hour and eight-hour intensives are scheduled on Saturdays from 9am-2pm and 9am-5pm, respectively. Twelve-hour intensives take place on Saturdays from 9am-5pm and Sundays from 9am-1pm. If a Friday-Saturday option works best for you and your spouse, we’ll try our best to accommodate your scheduling needs.
Intensives take place in Andrea's home in Pensacola, Florida. Each agenda is thoughtfully scheduled to incorporate breaks, walks, and lunch. Coffee, bottled water, and lunch are provided. Be sure to bring a notebook or journal and pen. Dress comfortably, and wear shoes for a walk around the block. Couples interested in doing some therapy exercises in or by the pool (weather permitting) are invited to bring swimsuits and towels.
We believe in cultivating the most warm, peaceful, and welcoming home environment for our couples, so as to both support optimal comfort and to create a space for simulating the types of intimate conversations we hope our couples carry into their own living rooms.