Don and Martha Rosenthal are planning a New Zealand trip to share their work. Don't miss this opportunity to attend their workshop. Dates to be announced.
Showing couples a way of using their difficulties in the service of greater harmony.
Perhaps the central challenge of intimate partnership is keeping the heart open when it wishes to close. Only by learning a new way of listening and responding to our partner can we move toward this goal. By opening to the difficulty inherent in relationship we transform it into something of value: pain and conflict become the raw materials for compassion and joy.
For over sixteen years Don and Martha have helped more than 800 couples change their relationships and their lives. Working with the actual raw material of conflict and negativity, they offer couples of all ages and backgrounds a way of using that material to enhance their intimacy. The more than 130 weekend workshops they have given in their Vermont Home and throughout the world have become known—largely through word-of-mouth—for their integrity, reliability, and transforming power. Only because so many have already found their lives deeply affected is this possible.
Don and Martha present a tangible vision of mature, loving relationship, along with practical tools for achieving it. This approach has repeatedly proven successful in healing relationships in serious difficulty. To well-functioning intimacies it has brought an added measure of closeness and joy.
- Couples in distress
- Couples doing fine, but wishing to deepen their intimacy
- Couples anywhere in-between
Inspiring couples with a vision of a more loving relationship and the tools to use their difficulties in the service of greater harmony.
In our Awakening Together weekend workshops we teach the practical application of our central vision (see The Heart of Relationship, above) to the everyday lives of couples. We employ a mixture of activities, including talks, group sessions, and one-to-one counseling. Real interactions are encouraged rather than abstract discussions. The core work is done by partners together, assisted by facilitators, with witness and support from other couples. A crucial point: our approach is not aimed at sorting out the content of any couple's conflicts; what we teach is a way of communicating around all conflicts. We do, however, encourage partners to work with real issues that have emotional resonance in their lives; this is the best way to demonstrate that even the thorniest and most volatile conflicts can be worked with safely and productively.
On the practical level, we teach very specific skills. Among them are:
- How to listen non-defensively to your partner (and possibly be heard yourself for the first time)
- How to communicate without antagonism around charged issues (sex, money, children, housework, etc.)
- How to create a safe environment in which painful feelings are acknowledged and accepted rather than judged
- How to ask your partner for change in a way that isn't futile
A healthy balance is maintained throughout the weekend among the body, feelings, and intellect. Though work can be intense, there is also time to be silent, to take walks, or just relax. Some basic meditation practice is offered, both to foster calmness and to illustrate the importance of bringing awareness and compassion to our most difficult issues. There is ample time to practice communication techniques together, so that by the end each couple has had plenty of "hands-on" experience with their issues. Private help is offered throughout the weekend for those who desire it. Individual needs are respected; we try to keep away from rules or rigidity. Our goal is to provide a safe environment at every level.
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For your peace of mind
Despite all we've said, it is not always easy to contemplate an adventure of this sort. For most of us the prospect of addressing our deepest and most intimate feelings in the presence of others is daunting. A few simple reassurances about the nature of the process may help alleviate anxieties. Read more....
Don and Martha Rosenthal
Don and Martha began their 40-year journey together in Alaska, where they lived in a remote cabin and explored the quiet life together. Emerging after some years, they moved to the coast of California where they began what has now been more than 25 years of counseling couples and individuals. Don received training in psychotherapy and began a career as a counselor. Read more...
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