Consider a Couples Retreat: Online or Face-to-Face

“A Couples Retreat. Is that a group?” you ask.


“No thanks, I’m not interested in a group.”

I know. You can’t! imagine! working on your relationship in a group setting. And yet… the feedback we get, again and again, is “This was so worth it for us.” Often  this from the partner who wasn’t keen on coming.

Puzzled Older Couple
puzzled African American couple

Here’s what couples say at the end of a  Couples In Step retreat:

  • This was cost effective and time efficient
  • Great for rekindling romance
  • Worked wonders for our distressed relationship too
  • We should have come years ago
  • Please get couples at the beginning of their relationship to come

So join with others.  Tune up, repair, or rekindle your relationship.

What Kind of Retreats are Offered at Couples In Step?

Build a Lasting Relationship: Couples In Step

Build A Lasting Connection® 

An early commitment (less than 5 years) retreat. Communicate effectively. Navigate differences. Keep physical intimacy alive. Designed to give you the essential components for an enduring love.

Learn More
Hold Me Tight Retreat

Hold Me Tight®

Great for rekindling romance. Works wonders for distressed relationships too. Step out of downward spirals of distance and arguing. Heal conflict. Deepen connection. Cost effective. Time efficient.

Learn more
Marriage Counselling at Couples In Step is a safe environment for discussing sexual concerns

Touch & Physical Intimacy

Physical intimacy is a healthy, positive & rewarding part of couple life. Deepen your attachment through conversation and touch. Limited to 7 couples. Privacy prioritized.

Learn more

Will We Talk to Others About Our Relationship?


For the online retreats there is both a large group and a breakout room component. You will do your couple work in a private breakout room that is closed to the other couples attending. The meeting host (Irene) will toggle you back and forth between the large group and your private breakout room (and she’ll give you notice the toggle is about to happen, so no worries about being accidentally heard).

For the in person retreats – imagine a large auditorium sized room. In one part of the room there is a gathering area. There you and your partner together with 6-15 other couples, will watch video clips of real couples and hear about the latest research on adult love relationships. (Yes adult love is the subject of scientific research!) You will not be required to be an active participant in the larger group times. Around the perimeter of the room there are private couple stations where you and your partner (and no others) will talk together about your relationship. There is space between the couple stations. There will be quiet background music throughout the room.

For online and in person retreats there is ample private couple time. You’ll take the material presented to the larger group to your private couple station/breakout room and with only your partner you’ll apply what you’ve heard in the larger group to the specifics of your relationship.

Upcoming Retreats

Hold Me Tight® Online

February 11, 12, 18, 19, 2022

Fridays 6-9:30pm, Saturdays 10:00am-1:30pm

Lasting Connection™ Online

March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, 2022

5 Thursdays, 7-9pm

Touch & Physical Intimacy In-person

April 1-3, 2022 Caledon, ON

Friday 4-7pm, Saturday 9am-3pm, Sunday 10am-3pm

Hold Me Tight® In-person

May 13-15, 2022 Toronto

Friday 2-6pm, Saturday 9:30am-4:00pm, Sunday 1-5pm

Are Groups Effective?

Since 2012 Irene has offered more than 20 retreat weekends to groups of couples who want to focus on strengthening or repairing their relationship.  Couples tell Irene (frequently) about the power of the group context! This, even though Irene continually reminds couples not to share the details of their relationship challenges.

Someday Irene plans to write a blog post about the impact of  therapy in a group. But in the meantime here an article that discusses the impact of therapy in a group setting.

Sometimes couples will need ongoing therapy after a couples retreat. Attending Couples In Step retreats helps couples become better consumers of effective therapy. Atendees will have an actual experience that informs them of what therapy looks and feels like.They’ll learn a lot about one particular model of couples therapy–EFT; but Irene will also briefly touch on other couple therapy models.

Irene wondered how it was that a group in which couples were asked not to share the private details of their relationship with other couples could be so powerful. Here’s a composite of what couples told her at the first retreat back in 2012, and continue to tell her:

To be in the presence of other couples and to see them talking together in their couple station, to notice their body postures as they work together, to feel the mood shifts in the room, to see other couples make progress… All that makes this group thing very powerful and motivating, even without knowing other people’s issues!

Who Attends a Couples In Step Retreat?

Most couples are committed and looking to deepen, rekindle or heal their relationship. Some are at the beginning of their relationship, some ten years in, some many more years in. A few couples come uncertain about the future of their relationship. Some come wondering if their relationship could benefit from the deeper work of couple’s therapy. Same sex couples come, dating couples come, couples in their second or third relationship come, married or un-married couples come, therapists wondering about couples counselling come… get the picture?

2 couples walking away together
Couples In Step Retreats 3 couples

Couples In Step retreats help couples with virtually every concern, and whatever place they are at in their relationship. Amazing, and certainly not what Irene expected when she started doing retreats, but that’s what she (and her colleagues across the world) have found! And yes, the group nature of couples retreats is anxiety provoking for many. Rest assured, there is a lot of private couple time at a Couples In Step retreat and you will not be required to be an active participant in the larger group times. You can learn more about the structure of a Couples In Step retreat on the retreats FAQ’s page. Don’t take our word for it. Here’s what others have said about their experience at a Couples In Step Hold Me Tight® retreats.