RELATIONSHIP THERAPY | BYRON BAY, BALLINA, LISMORE, TWEED HEADS
TAMAR Ben Hur and PETER Fox SEE COUPLES together. Working with two therapists of difFErent genders and generations is evIdent to be an eFfective and powerful way to create long lasting healing and change.
Our service designed to step you out of your day to a safe and exciting space where everything can be said, but nothing has to be said. It’s an opportunity to get skills that are tailor-made to your exact needs. Expand your tools and understand how to navigate the challenges you might be experiencing.
The need for an intensive will be apparent where the issues are so long-standing, complicated and interwoven that there is never enough time to unwind them as a whole, in one piece and lay them to rest. Sometimes one partner has done something completely out of character, or another has lost contact with the core of their being.
Many couples are at breaking point when they come to an intensive. Some are already living apart. They say this is their last chance to mend and renew their relationship. We would prefer it were not that late in the day, but that is the way we are. We just go on adjusting, turning ourselves inside out, until there is no alternative but to commit a serious block of time to an overhaul.
Others come as part of a healing time dedicated to each other – sometimes before or after addition or loss to the family or an impending major life change.
Rarely, new couples come as part of their engagement or honeymoon process. That, to us, is the wisest time, as prevention is less costly than repair.
You might be recovering from a crisis, which has thrown your relationship off-track, making you wonder if it’s beyond repair. The discrepancy of needs has gradually drained you. You might not know how to step out of the ‘shame & blame’ dynamic, the ‘pursuer & withdrawer’ dance, and not knowing how to express yourself without pushing your partner away—wondering if you can ever restore an intimate sense of pleasure and joy.
Whether it’s a sudden or gradual issue, it may be affecting your energy, health, and sense of wellbeing. You may be wondering if it’s even worth it, feeling disconnected to what brought you two together in the first place. You might be considering giving up, that it might all be more comfortable if it all just went away. There might also be other voices…the children, the history, the commitment to love…and a small voice that somehow knows that there is a part of what’s not working in this relationship, that has to do with you. And that part wants to be healed. That you will take yourself wherever you go, that part is desperate to reach out and be seen, to find its voice, and to feel loved as you are today in your totality. Knowing that whatever is going on, even if challenging, is an opportunity!
“This three day intensive reset our relationship allowing us to rekindle our lost desire and reminding us how good we can feel together.”
— Sheree & Mark (Sydney NSW)
A couple’s therapy intensive can make a significant shift – it may be life-changing and transformative. It’s an opportunity for a couple which is intent on healing and clearing unresolved issues – to unblock and to build new ways of relating without the fog of everyday life.
Each intensive program is unique, customised to best fit a couple who are mutually intent on a repair. It is typically three sessions of 90 minutes each day for three weekdays—the non-residential intensive held in a beautiful and relaxed environment in Mullumbimby.
Why two therapists?
Having two therapists creates a sturdy container to hold you as a couple. You will enjoy our various perspectives do to our different age, gender, background and life experience. Couples tell us they feel very well taken care. They said, having one of us consistently as a witness was as valuable as the words we spoke. Having two therapists can balance, recourse, calling you out, in a way that accelerated and promotes your process as a couple.
BEFORE THE INTENSIVE
Sometimes it is necessary to have an online video or phone interview with Peter and Tamar for them to connect and understand where you are coming from and what you want from the retreat.
The Intensive Program
Each day consists of a three 90 minute integrative couple therapy and coaching sessions.
Each session with both Peter and Tamar costs $330 per session. The cost over a three-day intensive is $2970. Some couples need less time than that. As far as is possible, we are flexible with those arrangements.
The intensive includes refreshments and morning tea but does not include transport, meals or accommodation. There will be a ninety-minute lunch break to explore the nearby excellent cafes in Mullumbimby.
Nearby Byron Bay is an internationally renowned holiday destination providing vacation, recreation, and cuisine alternatives to suit all tastes and budgets. The Northern Rivers NSW region is famously exciting and diverse, and many couples take the opportunity to extend their stay and deepen their connection in this vibrant area. Accommodation and restaurants are also available in Mullumbimby, Bangalow and Brunswick Heads.
As a comparison, a five-day intensive costs about the same as a week in Bali for two, or a 7-stop round the world ticket, or two dental root canal treatments.
Divorce can add ten years to the working lives of adults, as they battle to re-establish the wealth they had in married life. The majority of happily married adults expect to retire in their mid to late 60s, while divorcees expect to work well past 75. Why pay divorce lawyers to hurt you when you can pay someone to help you?
We request a $500.00 deposit three weeks before the intensive is due to begin. We will refund $250 if you cancel seven business days before the first day of the intensive.
“All of us have a mind map that we use to navigate our relationships. Tamar and Peter have theirs too. But when they were working with us it seemed like they were navigating a track that does not exist. It’s like those times travelling when there is no signal, and we have to rely on something else entirely to find our way. I remember once, I and a group of friends were on a ten day walk in Lapland.
Every twenty kilometres or so there was a hut kept stocked with food and firewood. On one of the last days we realised we were completely lost. In the bright evening of the arctic spring sun, we knew we’d have to sleep out in minus twenty, with a wind chill factor that would make it more like minus forty.
I started to feel an old shame and dread creeping into my bones, when suddenly an arctic Wolf strolled up to us. It walked straight toward my partner and circled around him. We all stood in stunned amazement, and then she just walked off in another direction. We decided to follow her, more out of desperation than good sense. She travelled along a path clearly well known to her but one we couldn’t see or divine. Following the wolf made no sense at all but we were exhausted and desperate. We followed her for about an hour, and then as quickly as she appeared she disappeared.
We were left looking in all directions, panicking and blaming each other for following a stupid hunch. Then just as we started cutting snow blocks for igloos, one of our group saw a shining, vertical metallic edge peaking out from under a mound of snow about 100 metres away. It was our next hut. Later I wondered whether we had dreamt up the wolf. In retrospect it seemed so bizarre.
Now I don’t mean Tamar and Peter are like arctic wolves. But the Lapland experience was like the journey of our therapy sessions. We arrived at a safe place by a route through dread and shame. It was so unexpected. We’d given up on each other years ago, lost our way in the relationship. We’d frozen each other out. These guys had a kind of sixth sense of where we needed to go to find our safe harbour, and to build again that lovely fire in our hearts that began us. They held the space for us to own our own shit, rather than blame the other for the mess. Thank you for nourishing a small miracle in your room.”
— Adrian & Steph (Gold Coast Queensland Australia)
“I was trying to explain to my therapist what it was like seeing you guys. It’s so different from my experience with one therapist in the room. It’s something like Peter’s experience holds the structure and Tamar dances in and around it. That big heart you have on the floor made from wood, it seems to vibrate all the time and that is like this room and Tamar, radiating heart.”
— Paula T (Melbourne Australia)
Case Study from an Intensive
Roy and Jenny came to Australia from Los Angeles for a week’s holiday and a week’s couple intensive. They had a big commitment to repair after four terrible years following their firstborn son’s very premature birth. They had been in couple’s therapy for a year in the US but never had time to get down to the bottom of the negative interaction cycle, which had nearly destroyed their marriage. We unpacked and transformed the negative cycle stage by stage as it reappeared during the retreat. They returned to a positive and self-regenerating cycle with renewed intimacy and hope. On two year follow up, they were trying for their second child.
Roy and Jenny live in the city of angels. He is a hydro engineer who can be called out at short notice and work around the clock, far from home. Jenny is a choreographer, manages a performing arts business in LA. They are very different people with very different backgrounds, living on the other side of the Pacific Ocean from us.
They were in a committed relationship for seven years, but over the last two had not had any meaningful intimacy. Worse, mutual resentment about the lack of cuddles and sex stirred up ugly fights and denigrating comments with a regularity that was sickening them. They had had a fantastic sex life, and they wanted it back. They described ‘fantastic’ as feeling themselves and the other present and alive with a deep sense of gratitude in the afterglow. That was a distant memory. They were now exhausted and at the end of their emotional resources.
They had been in couple’s therapy for a year with an excellent therapist in Santa Anna. However, a significant shift in the core issue had not occurred. There never seemed enough time to get to the bottom of the problems, and Roy’s work often broke the rhythm.
Their troubles had begun after the premature birth of a first child. Born at 24 weeks, Tim was on the edge of life and death for many months. The workload had been all-consuming for both of them and their extended family. Jenny and Roy both suffered post-natal depression. Touch and sex had just dried up. All their conversations were about managing day to day challenges.
They considered giving up on the relationship altogether and decided to give it one last shot with a holiday centred around a couple’s retreat (not the movie). They discovered our web page describing the couple’s retreat. We had a thirty-minute video call.
The first days were confronting for both of them, having to work through as if from scratch, how to connect again. On the second day, Roy looked different. He said his heart had opened again to the relationship. They were looking at each other softly, with fondness and admiration.
However, by the end of the second day, Roy was convinced he had wasted their time and money. He was back in the pits.
They had had a following terrible night. He said he couldn’t imagine another day without sex and feeling that he didn’t matter to her. She couldn’t imagine another minute without tender touch, and always feeling his work came first. It had blown up after a fight about money. It was the old trigger for an early power struggle that hadn’t shifted in their previous therapy back home.
We were dismayed, and our heart sank with them, but then we remembered the second day of retreats was often the worst. Remembering that we knew that as bad as it felt for them, we were sure they were going to make it – this was the storm that they had not had the time to unfold with awareness.
We helped them to soften the core issues feeding it, to get beneath the compelling, reactive emotions that drove it and into the calm after it passed. There the genuine connection and the deep longing they each had for the other resided. They mattered to one another at the core. There they had each other’s back. They re-connected at that level.
The transformation by the end of that third day was astounding. They were unblocked. They had reached a turning point where Roy asked that Jenny look at him, appreciate all that he does and let him know that he matters rather than finding fault with him. Jenny asked that he hold her when she panics in the same way he holds his friends, and tell her ‘we can get through this together’ rather than do what he usually did – turn his back and walk away.
Both of them now found those easy things to promise as the requests had become disentangled from the accumulated debris of past disappointments.
They came in on looking like a young couple. They had been to the pits and had come back up to where they were before Tim was born. With that renewed confidence, we spent the final hours creatively working through all the issues and coming up with clear agreements. We finished with relapse prevention work.
We did a few video follow-ups. Two years later, those changes had held good, and they were ready to try for number two child.
“Tamar and Peter created a safe space for us to move through our painful stuff and learn new ways to communicate and celebrate what we have.”
— Adele & Rhonda (Brisbane Queensland)
Our biggest assets are our time and attention. What we focus on grows. The demands of our everyday life don’t leave a lot of resources for us to put into our connection. We have an expectation that our relationship should ‘just work’ while putting our efforts into our children, our work and other people. We can easily deplete the grounds of our relationship, drying/draining it from nutrients, which can help sustain them and allow them to thrive.
Most of us have a belief that everything good in a relationship should happen spontaneously and with no investment. The truth is that our relationship like anything else in our life needs us to show up for it, needs us to update it, upgrade it, adjust it to who we are today. Our relationship needs to know it’s important to us and that we are willing take it to the next level, learn how can we improve, how can we not just put more demands but actually stop and enjoy its gifts.
How can we turn all we have experienced up until this day to be the blocks of who we are becoming. That our shared history is not only replaying itself but becoming a reference point for who we want to be. In order to do that we can’t just ‘talk about it’ we need to feel it! We need to have a bodily reference for what is good, for what feels good and how we can have more of that.
In A Course In Miracles it says we don’t need to figure out how to love, we need to remove the obstacles to love. This retreat will be totally tailored to your specific needs. It will allow a space for you to step into the ‘headquarters of your relationship, understand what are the blocks and how you may remove them. It will give you a safe and exciting time together, to touch some of the deepest aspects of your relationship and strengthen your commitment to grow in a way that will turn your connection ON and make it a resource.