San Diego licensed marriage and family therapist Jennine Estes gives some insight into the retreat.
The Hold Me Tight workshop is designed as an LGBTQ+ focused program for couples in San Diego.
The retreat will create a space to help you and your partner understand your relationship on a deeper level and learn to overcome the ongoing conflicts. You will walk away from the experience having an in-depth understanding of effective communication and revive your connection. This allows you to learn the steps to restructure your relationship by simply doing a communication tune-up.
San Diego Gay and Lesbian News talked to Jennine Estes, MFT, who is facilitating the two-day gathering.
We asked her a couple of questions about the program and what LGBT couples might get out of it.
What is your association with the workshop Jennine?
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a group practice in both Mission Valley and Oceanside. Our main focus at our office is helping couples improve communication, repair after infidelity, improve intimacy, and feel more secure in the relationship. I will be facilitating the two-day Hold Me Tight workshop that will address those topics specifically for the LGBTQ community. The workshop is created by Dr. Sue Johnson, the founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), and based off of her book Hold Me Tight.
How can the Hold Me Tight workshop help couples?
Couples can get caught in a negative cycle where the communication breaks down and the connection is negatively impacted. The retreat will create a space to help couples understand their relationship on a deeper level and learn to overcome the ongoing conflicts. They will walk away from the experience having an in-depth understanding of effective communication and revive their connection.
This workshop allows them to learn the steps to restructure the relationship by simply doing a communication tune-up. The workshop will help couples learn the steps to stop the endless arguments and create healthy communication skills, repair old wounds and injuries, learn how to identify and avoid toxic patterns, learn how to get their partner to clearly understand their needs, and address intimacy issues in a constructive manner.
How would a couple know they need help?
The couples who could benefit from this workshop are those who are tired of the annoying fights that keep occurring, feel like roommates, and/or struggle with “bed death” or intimacy issues. This workshop isn’t just for couples who struggle with communication, but it can also benefit couples who simply want a relationship “tune-up.”
As a therapist, there must be some assumption that your relationship doesn't need "therapy." what would you say to that?
Simply because I am a therapist doesn’t mean that I don’t need therapy. It is actually important for all therapists to get their own counseling.
When I am in my marriage, I take off my “therapist hat” and I am simply a wife having feelings and needing my partner to understand me. Most people think that therapists have perfect relationships, but in reality, therapists are all human with emotions and they have to work at their relationships like everyone else. A few years ago, my partner and I went to one of the Hold Me Tight workshops in Northern California and it was extremely helpful, so I decided to put on the workshop in San Diego.
How can a couple survive a major life decision that affects them both?
(I could do an entire article on this, so I put a few quick tips)
Big life decisions are important for couples to stay connected, however, this is a typical place where injuries can pop up in the relationship causing distress. If not handled properly, the relationship can get worse throughout time. No matter what you are feeling, avoid talking from the angry place; it will only cause your partner to become defensive and withdrawn.
Take a few moments to figure out the softer emotions that are underneath and share them vulnerably.
Avoid sweeping things under the rug and start the conversation. If you continue to pretend things are okay, resentment will fester and the conflict will get worse. If all else fails, seek out couples therapy to iron out the kinks.
Are gay couples "problems" that much different than straight couples?
Majority of problems gay couples face are similar to straight couples. The difference is that straight couples might not have the emotional scars from family rejection, they have less difficulty with conception, and they have less worry around showing affection in public. Straight couples don’t have to research traveling to countries that are and are not gay-friendly.
Straight couples in counseling never talk about the hate they have experienced and how it impacted them today. I ran an advertisement on Facebook about the retreat, targeting the LGBT community, and then I was reminded of the hate once again. I had various rude and negative comments Straight couple workshops would never have the comments that are degrading and hurtful.
These are just a few of the different items that gay couples problems are different, but overall couples struggle with communication, intimacy, trust, and emotional security.
Should there be follow-ups after the Hold Me Tight workshop or can it just be stand-alone?
A follow-up is not necessary, however, some couples might benefit from some additional therapy.
The Hold Me Tight workshop is September 7-8 in Coronado, CA
For more information click HERE or call 1 (619) 558-0001.