Frequently Asked Questions

Costs, scheduling & location?

Currently we are conducting all retreats online using Zoom. We offer two different retreat programs to choose between. Here’s more info about our retreats:

How is our approach different?

river near retreat locationWhat you get working with us is markedly different than what traditional marriage counseling offers. This is not merely due to his retreat format. It is also due to his unique approach. Our work is deeply informed by ground-breaking scientific research on what couples need to build and maintain a secure, happy connection. Because of John’s expertise, he is on the core faculty of a nationwide educational institute that trains marriage therapists. Continue reading →

What happens in a retreat?

vineyard near retreatsBottom line, it’s about getting new tools and making positive changes. Many couples have bad experiences in traditional counseling or therapy, and worry that working with John is going to be like that, only more intense. Not so…. Couples often say how pleasant and valuable their time with John was. Even unexpectedly fun. And how different a John’s work is compared to therapy in giving them useful results instead of stirring up more upset. Continue reading →

What results can you get?

Your retreat will be aligned to your personal goals and circumstances. Working with John offers you new clarity, and increased effectiveness in communication. It helps you move beyond stuck places, make new agreements, renew positive appreciation and connection, and develop a deeper sense of shared vision. John will help you acquire the key tools and strategies you need to get your relationship moving in a positive direction. Continue reading →

Is our retreat right for you?

What kinds of couples will benefit from this approach? John works with a wide range of presenting situations, and his intensive format is an excellent fit and will meet the needs of most couples. Whether you’ve been together for years unable to overcome certain issues — or you’re a new couple wanting tools that ensure lasting happiness — working intensively with John can well serve your needs and goals. Here are types of couples who work with John. Continue reading →

What if my partner is not motivated?

We are sometimes asked, “How can I get my partner to agree to do a retreat?” A retreat is usually only sought when things have gotten really bad. So by then, someone may have lost hope or feel ambivalent about staying in the relationship. A retreat is often viewed as a last resort. During most retreats, as past wounds are healed and negative patterns are overcome, a couple’s positive feelings and hope get renewed. That usually happens. Continue reading →

How can you improve so fast?

couple boating near retreatCouples who come to a retreat frequently have felt stuck, stagnant, or unhappy for years. Some are on the brink of divorce. Often one partner has little if any hope left. Most of the time, in a matter of a few days of working with John, these couples find renewed positive feelings, hope, and trust. That’s astonishing. How is that degree of change possible? And so quickly? Brain scientists call it neuroplasticity. The brain will change depending on its input. Continue reading →

Are religious or other beliefs involved?

John’s work is not based on religious beliefs. What you get is strictly based in practicality. It comes from a synthesis of two and a half decades of working with couples, seeing what works and what does not work. And it also comes from a wealth of scientific research over the last 20 years that reveals the behavioral patterns that lead couples to succeed or fail. It is about learning practical tools that enable you to stay happy and secure together. Continue reading →

Why Are Virtual Retreats Better?

We get asked if virtual retreats are as effective as working in person. Actually, they are usually more effective! That indeed surprised us, until we finally understood why. As a pioneer of the intensive retreat format, we’ve been conducting marriage retreats for over three decades. Like most people, we assumed that in-person work was superior, the gold standard. That turned out to be an erroneous assumption. The help you’ll get from us in a virtual retreat is every bit as effective as you’d receive in person, and most likely even better! Continue reading →

What about in-person retreats?

I have been conducting couples retreats for more than three decades. Over this time I believed the efficacy of my retreats was in part due to people getting away from home and working with me in person in beautiful Sonoma County. But I also knew that was only one part of what gave my retreats their power. Another and more significant part was the highly effective tools I developed that enabled couples to communicate better, repair wounds, get needs met, collaborate as a team, reconnect emotionally and move forward on a positive track. Continue reading →

What issues or goals are addressed?

For decades John has helped couples address a broad range of issues and goals, such as those below. Often partners are on the verge of divorce. Continue reading →