Relationships are hard. There’s no getting around it. Put more than one person in the same place for long enough and you’re sure to have problems. It’s as certain as death, taxes and computer problems. In his book Your Brain on Love, Dr. Stan Tatkin says that “there really is nothing more difficult on the planet than another person…nothing.” I tend to agree with him. My personal history with relationships and my work as working as a Marriage and Family Therapist seem to confirm that there’s nothing that will complicate your life more than another human. As much as we desire and need other people in our life, we simply cannot avoid the pain and conflict that inevitably comes when we enter a relationship. It’s a catch-22 of the human condition.
Much of the tension and quarreling that occurs within relationships exist primarily due to our inability to communicate effectively. Most of us struggle to listen without judgment, fully understand another’s perspective, validate feelings we aren’t experiencing, and show empathy toward someone who has hurt us. This is normal. It’s the result of a whole series of complicated relational wounds we’ve experienced over the years. Combine that trauma with the many defensive strategies we use to help ourselves feel safe, and you have a recipe for relational conflict.
Here at the Meadows, we offer workshops that are specifically designed to heal and enhance relationships. Both the Couples Bootcamp workshop and the Family Matters workshop help participants share their own perspective honestly, better understand one another, identify problematic relational patterns, set and maintain healthy boundaries, and create safety within the relationship.
The Couples Bootcamp is a five day intensive for those struggling in a romantic partnership. The workshop is facilitated in a group setting which can include up to three couples. Each member of the group supports one another and enhances the healing process for each of the other couples. All participants will explore their own relational history and other factors that have contributed to their current destructive patterns. The couples will then learn to communicate more effectively with one another and clearly state their needs within a safe environment. It’s been my experience that many couples already possess the tools they need to make positive changes in the relationship, but simply need additional support and guidance to help them work through the problems that keep them “stuck.” When working with couples in this workshop, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing beautiful moments of tenderness and empathy where criticism and defensiveness used to be the norm. On many occasions, I have seen a partner look at their lover and say things like “It feels so good to be heard by you” and “I’m starting to feel safe again.” Moments like these are not uncommon and watching them unfold is what I love about facilitating this workshop.
Family Matters is another five day intensive workshop that is specifically customized for your unique situation and solely focused on your family. Whether you want to work on parent-child relationships, problems between siblings, or any other family combination, this workshop can provide you with the tools you need to bring your family closer together. Since family systems are complicated and each member carries their own perspective, it is important that everyone can speak their own reality and feel heard by the others. This workshop provides everyone a safe environment in order to facilitate open sharing and healthy communication. Each family member is given an opportunity to express their own resentments and frustrations with the goal of working toward repairing and improving family functioning. It’s been common for me to hear participants talk about their time in family week as a “life changing” experience. I experience a profound sense of joy when I see families who have experienced years of anger and bitterness begin feeling safe enough to risk being vulnerable with one another. Relational healing is a beautiful thing!
While the Couples Bootcamp and Family Matters workshops offer expert healing we also offer other options for couples and families. Rio Retreat Center offers private intensive workshops for those who may require a higher level of confidentiality and safety due to their recognizability to the public, their leadership status in a corporation, or those who may be paparazzi pursued. We also offer specialized couples workshops for couples addressing sexual disorders. If you are looking for healing from your relationships, contact our intake department at 1-866-997-8770.