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One of the major pitfalls of traditional "weekly" relationship therapy is that, just when couples are really "getting into it" with a psychologist, the session time is up, and they need to adjourn for another week... But not enough work has necessarily been done to be really effective, and the couple leaves feeling somewhat uncontained and directionless, with layers of awkwardness hanging thick in the air. A second pitfall is the rushed, chaotic nature of modern living, which seldom allows for a real concerted effort to be made to heal and mend relationship connections. Gains made in a weekly meeting with a psychologist may be somewhat diluted and lost in the frenetic pace of board meetings, deadlines, infants, parent-teacher meetings and the Johannesburg reality of being "tired-all-the-time".

In my experience, this often leads to the unnecessary conclusion that a couple “just can’t anymore”, and the sentiment that a divorce may simply be a relief, and an antidote to the tension that is never quite eradicated, despite the best of efforts.

My 2-day "bush-getaway" (Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon), for both married and non-married couples, has been designed to address these pitfalls, by offering a private counselling experience that is deeper and more comprehensive than regular weekly counselling sessions allow for. I have found several exquisite private game lodges within a 2-hour radius from Johannesburg, from where I conduct what I call my "Relationship Rehab”. "Relationship Rehab" combines the restorative power of nature with intensive, "marathon-like" relationship counselling sessions with myself, to have couples leave on Sunday afternoon feeling as though they have hope again. I am able to accommodate 3 couples per weekend. Group interaction is minimal – this is not a seminar or a workshop, and there is no sharing involved. Meals are served communally, and recreational activities are social in nature, but the core focus is on special, constructive "alone-time", and therapy. Optional recreational activities on offer include "big 5" game drives (morning and evening), horse-riding, hiking, spa treatments etcetera.

I am, of course, available in my private practice in Sunninghill for ongoing maintenance, if needed, but it is my intention that, with the intensive counselling offered over this weekend, the "back" of the problem should essentially be broken.

The therapeutic element of this weekend will include:

  • Psychometric assessments, completed by both parties individually prior to the weekend, which scientifically measures, amongst other factors:
    - The nature and extent of conflict within the relationship
    - The impact that relationship difficulties are having on each partner’s quality of life, and general behaviour
    - Screening of each partner for depression and anxiety
  • 5 hours of intensive relationship therapy per couple (2 hours on Friday, 2 hours on Saturday, and 1 hour on Sunday).
  • A relationship workbook/manual with exercises to complete together, in the course of the weekend, over the times that you are not in session with me.
  • Several books currently on the market, that expound principals I have found to be invaluable in my work with couples, and that form lifelong references for fulfilled couples.
  • Opportunities to discuss what you each see as the problems, as well as strengths, in your marriage.
  • An in-depth discussion of your personal backgrounds and experiences, including your history as a couple together.
  • Understanding your feelings, building your emotional awareness, and enhancing your skills in problem solving through effective communication.
  • An opportunity to learn and experience how love and forgiveness can build through increased tolerance and through the recognition that personality and character differences can actually enhance your marriage and personal happiness.
  • Depending on the problems that brought you to Relationship Rehab, we may together discuss and learn what you saw in each other in the first place, stages of marriage and where you are today, problems of non-communication or miscommunication, how to identify misconceptions and change your reactions, stereotypes and prejudices and how to change them, and changing self-defeating behaviours.
  • A strategic plan for continued relationship healing upon your return home.
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