Accelerated therapy

Accelerated therapy involves meeting for extended sessions with couples. This approach can create rapid relief from tension in a couple and support sustained change. This method is also known as Marathon Therapy through the Gottman Institute.

Research supports the idea that couples respond best to sessions being “bunched together” initially and then scheduled less frequently, as the couple practices and gains skills. Whether we meet for weekly sessions or accelerated therapy, the objective of all Gottman Therapy is to help the couple rely less and less on the therapist, as sessions are phased out over time.

These condensed and focused scheduling options below do not intend to cover every aspect of the Gottman repertoire, but to hone in on the specific skills and principles that are relevant to your relationship patterns. These are private sessions, not a workshop or class. The fee for weekend sessions is $200/hour, scheduled in advance by mutual agreement.

OPTION 1: Accelerated Assessment

In the Accelerated Assessment, I use the Gottman process for evaluating and identifying patterns in the relationship, but schedule a series of sessions on a weekend day, rather than scheduling them over several weeks of single sessions. This allows the couple a thorough overview of their relationship, giving you an understanding of how problems got established and what you would do to address them.

I send questionnaire packets to you that you complete prior to our first meeting. When you arrive at the office, I meet with the couple together and then talk with each person for one individual session.

The couple takes a lunch break while I prepare a summary to share with them.

As the three of us review my impressions, I give you a sense of how I would help you address your concerns and make sure we are all in agreement about what we’re trying to accomplish.

Together we look at these elements of the relationship:  

  the quality of the friendship between the two of you

  the strengths and vulnerabilities in the relationship

  how you handle conflict

  how family history and learned behaviors affect the relationship

  your patterns of dealing with stress and supporting each other

We would also begin work on one area of concern and I’d give you suggestions for specific skills to practice at home. You receive handouts and resource suggestions to continue moving you toward your goals and to help you keep your focus on the changes you’re trying to achieve.

This approach can be helpful for various purposes:

    Premarital assessment/counseling

    Couples seeking stabilization by identifyng persistent ineffective behaviors

    Couples who live a distance from Portland and who want to minimize travel time

    Couples who are working with another therapist and who want to clarify goals or revisit the approach they are taking in therapy

The Accelerated Assessment is not recommended for these situations:

     Couples with entrenched conflict, who may be frustrated by opening up issues and not fully addressing their concerns

     Couples struggling with an ongoing affair that has not ended

     One partner who is uninterested in this form of therapy

     Addiction to alcohol or recreational drugs

     Fear or a history of serious physical violence

     Couples troubled with suicide, or threats of suicide or other harm

The Accelerated Assessment is scheduled on Saturday, 9 AM- 3 PM, with the couple taking one hour for lunch.

OPTION 2: Weekend Intensive

The Weekend Intensive includes the Accelerated Assessment followed by an extended session on Sunday from 10 AM-2 PM. Couples self-refer, or may be working with another therapist who recommends this approach as a component of their work in therapy. We focus on the agenda and goals set during the assessment session.

We may address any of the following topics, depending on your needs and interests:

      Managing flooding and getting out of gridlock

      Strategies for taking effective breaks

      Identifying your patterns of emotional expression

      Dealing with the aftermath of arguments

      How to have stress-reducing conversations

      Negotiation and power in the relationship

      Working as an effective team

The Weekend Intensive is likely to be effective for couples who are:

       traveling to Portland from out of the area or

       are experiencing gridlock and feel stuck in persistent conflict or emotional distance or

       seek a turning point in the relationship

The Weekend Intensive is scheduled from 9 AM-3 PM on Saturday and then 10 AM-2 PM Sunday.

OPTION 3: Private Retreat

Couples who have had an assessment and are already working with me can schedule a Private Retreat.  

These meetings are available on weekends from 9 AM-2 PM with an established agenda and goals based on current concerns.