Fix Your Marriage in One Weekend

Marathon Therapy for Couples

marathon therapy for couplesIf you’re anything like me, any title that begins with “Marathon”, conjures up immediate reactions like, “Yuck!” “That’s not for me!”, or “Can I take a rain check?” as well as a whole host of uncomfortable emotions like intimidation and fear.  If you’re a runner, perhaps your curiosity is already piqued.  What is Marathon Therapy for Couples and why would anyone inflict this kind of rigor on their intimate partner relationship?

Why Marathon Therapy?

Marathon Therapy is an intensive treatment modality tailored specifically for couples who are interested in repairing or enhancing their relationship with the support and guidance of a relationship expert over the course of one weekend.  You might be thinking, “Is marathon therapy the right move for me and my partner?” This is an important question to consider.

From our perspective, here are some of the distinct advantages of investing a dedicated chunk of time rehabbing your relationship through Marathon Therapy for Couples (MTC) at the Cognitive Behavior Institute:

  • In traditional marital/couple therapy, sessions are only 50 minutes long in duration.  There are many occasions in which you are just starting to dive into an important relationship issue and it is time to wrap up the session which disrupts the therapeutic process leaving all parties feeling frustrated.  MTC carves out the necessary time to really talk things through and to re-establish an emotional connection and mutual understanding.
  • Rather than spreading out weekly sessions over the course of 3-6 months or sometimes even longer, you can experience more immediate relationship results instead of waiting for the process to unfold over an extended period of time.
  • MTC accommodates couples with full schedules who are unable to carve out 2-3 hours each week (travel time + therapy time) to participate in weekly couple’s therapy.
  • MTC provides a powerful treatment option for long distance couples who reside in different cities or for couples who do not have local access to a seasoned, expert in couple’s therapy.

Does Marathon Therapy Work?

You might be thinking, “What in the world could we possibly talk about for 2 consecutive, 8-hour days (8:30am-5:00pm) and how is that even helpful?”  There is some preliminary research which suggests that this modality of couple therapy may be even more effective than the traditional “meet once a week” model.  In a seminal study, Boegner & Zielenbach-Coenen (1984) compared three groups: 1) This group received 14 sessions of couple therapy on a weekly basis; 2) This group received the same amount of therapy hours (14) but these sessions were collapsed into a far shorter span of time; and 3) This group received no treatment at all.  They discovered that the group who received the most intensive treatment in a shortest amount of time obtained the best treatment outcomes.  They discovered that Group #2 got the biggest bang for their buck outperforming the other two groups.  The couples in group #2 on average made greater progress on their treatment goals & experienced significantly less relapse than the other 2 groups when tested 8 months after treatment.  In another randomized clinical trial, Babcock, Gottman, Ryan & Gottman (2013) discovered that a weekend relationship workshop that focuses both on friendship enhancement and conflict management maximizes positive outcomes for couples.  In summary, there is a growing body of research that validates this approach to couple’s therapy.  If you are interested in learning more about Marathon Therapy for Couples please contact Cognitive Behavior Institute’s office at 724-609-5002.

This article was originally published on papsychotherapy.org March 2018

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