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Weekend workshop helps couples rediscover emotional bond

With half of all marriages ending in divorce, knowing how to maintain and strengthen your relationship can be critical. Two Beaconsfield-based therapists are bringing some strategies to couples in the region with their upcoming Hold Me Tight Couples Retreat at the Auberge des Gallants.

During the weekend of Nov. 23-25, therapists Dolores Meade and Daniela Maltauro will guide couples in the Hold Me Tight method to help them repair or even improve their relationship.

Hold Me Tight is a program designed to help couples in distress rediscover and strengthen their emotional connection. The pro-gram’s unique approach, which was developed by Susan Johnson, an internationally acclaimed expert in couples therapy based in Ottawa, aims to achieve this by rekindling empathy and trust between partners.

“What Johnson discovered in her practice was that, over time, couples can lose their original bond,” Meade explained. “They get caught up in repeated fights about things which may seem trivial, but which keep reoccurring because they mask an underlying fear, insecurity, disappointment or vulnerability.”

Our current lifestyle can create added vulnerabilities, Meade added.

“The old networks of family, friends and community that used to support couples are no longer the norm. These days, a couple may often be the only support each other has, and this creates a lot of pressure.

“To be strong, a person needs to know that their partner ‘has their back,’ and the Hold Me Tight program tries to help couples refind this sense of attachment for each other.”

Meade and Maltauro chose the idyllic country setting of the Auberge des Gallants in Ste-Marthe to give couples a chance to be away from their everyday concerns and the space to reconnect. While couples will be assisted in improving their level of communication with each other, that’s just the beginning, Meade said.

“Traditionally, at least here in North America, therapy has tended to focus on improving a couple’s method of communication. But that’s really only part of it. Actually uncovering what is fuelling repeated fights, for example, will point to the specific areas where a partner feels insecure. Actually re-establishing that lost trust and feeling of security is how a couple can find their way back to each other.”

Meade pointed out that the privacy and confidentiality of the participants in the workshop is assured.

“Nobody has to divulge anything they feel is private, or reveal anything in front of the other couples,” she said. “We are very sensitive to the individual needs of each couple.”

Both Meade and Maltauro have degrees from McGill University and are trained in individual and couples therapy. Both have worked with Johnson.

Meade finds the method faluable in a number of ways.

“If you would like to rejuvenate your relationship, rediscover your partner, learn tools for connecting with each other, and create understanding and trust with your partner, this is a workshop specifically geared toward these goals.”

Auberge des Gallants is located in Ste-Marthe. The cost of the Hold Me Tight workshop is $650, which includes lunches and snacks but not accommodation. Call Dolores Meade: 514-8869953 or Daniela Maltauro: 514668-0570 for more information.

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