Couples Communication Workshops

Parent Q&A

  • Has anyone ever taken the Gottman Art and Science of Love couples workshop? What was your experience? Or have you taken a different workshop that you would recommend? I am not looking for a full time couples therapy situation, but just a class or workshop that could help build some good communication skills. There is more stress since our child was born and we could use some good tools.

    Greetings...My husband and I took the workshop in Seattle last year with John and Julie Gottman. It was worthwhile in my opinion, and my workshop-resistant husband seemed to get a lot out of it., too. The venue was large--a formal conference room--but somehow they managed to make it feel intimate for the partner work. (There were break out sessions for all paired work, and you could find a comfortable nook to work in. Volunteers wandered around and assisted people.) The content is accessible and really useful. It's aimed at getting you and your partner to recognize common threats to relationships (The Four Horsemen) and offers strategies to improve communication. And most importantly, lots of practice. I would STRONGLY recommend that before you take the Gottman Workshop, you and your husband sit down together and decide when you will spend 30-45 minutes together each week to follow up, use the exercises and create new communication traditions. Like most couples work, the benefit is minimal if you don't keep it up. But yes, totally worth it in my opinion. Good luck, dear parent.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

June 2007

Have any of you - especially those married/together over 10 years, and close to separating - been happy (or not) with any of the weekend-long (or so) couples retreats out there? We are considering doing something, in hopes of saving our tenuous marriage. We definitely do not want anything with a religious focus, and would probably prefer something lead by both a man and a woman. Local is o.k., but willing to travel for the right workshop. We're in couples counseling already, but feel the need for something more focused and intensive. If you could share your situation, what you liked and disliked, and how it turned out for you, that would be very helpful. Thanks!

I higly recommend the Human Awareness Institute at Harbin Hot Springs! I have been to 5 of the HAI workshops with my husband. After just one weekend workshop, I felt like we covered more than we had in 2 years of therapy! There is always 1 male and 1 female facilitator that work very closely together. There were a few couples there (singles may attend as well) that were taking this workshop as their last hope, after attending many years of therapy, who were sweetly transformed by the end of the weekend. We were given a gift certificate for our first workshop. I was extremely skeptical before we arrived and swore I would walk out if it got too sappy or huggy. By our first break, I found myself in the front row anxious to keep going. Harbin itself is a clothing optional Hot Spring, but the HAI workshop is held in a separate retreat center. We have made life long friends and found an amazing community through attending these workshops. They have improved our lives tremendously! They also have shorter workshops in local hotels throughout the Bay Area, but these can't come close to the Harbin experience! I have forgotten their website, but just google them. I do hope that you and your husband are able to experience at least the 1st workshop,'' Love, Intimacy and Sexuality''. All the Best! oni

Yes, I have two recommendations for you. 1) Go to - then look for the names something like Debra and George Chamberlain-Taylor. Truly in love themselves and have been in a conscious relationship for many years. In addition to the public workshops they hold at Spirit Rock, contact them for additional retreats which I know they do hold. Solid people. The real thing, not flaky. My only hestitation as it relates to you is that their workshops might be more for folks already doing well....2) Secondly, I know this is a bit far but I just can't recommend more highly this Petaluma & Sebastapol couples (and individuals) therapist: Jane Allard Allen. Can't imagine a better blend of grounded and astute. I'm a therapist, would recommend maybe 3 people out of all the therapists I've known (I've been well connected to the Bay Area therapist community). My husband and I (proud to say very in love after 13 years) go to Jane regularly for relationship tune-ups. She's been incredibly helpful in rough waters. So: Ask her for a 2-3 hour session at one time. Believe me: driving & paying for a good therapist is the best investment you can make. I know she takes MHN, might take other insurance policies. Metta. sonoma sister

I would recommend the Human Awareness Institute. They have a really intense weekend couples retreat located at a hotel. I speak from my own experience, which was very helpful. You can check out their website at

August 2006

I was wondering if anyone has attended a good workshop on marriage, communication within relationships, etc. My husband and I are hoping to find something to attend. Has anyone tried Dan Clurman, M.A. and Mudita Nisker, M.A.'s class on communication, The Art of Talking and Listening, through Communication Options? We could use some tools. Thanks Newlywed

My husband and I attended a couples communication workshop at Esalen with Warren Farrell recently which we found quite helpful. He is offering another one in October-- the description follows; if interested, can register via esalen website. Also, the setting is beautiful there. Good luck. Couples' Communication Retreat Esalen October 22-27, 2006 with Dr. Warren Farrell

Check out This is a workshop for premarital and newly married couples who would like to create a lifelong partnership. The class is taught by a two psychologists who are married to each other. They make it fun and informative. I highly recommend it and think it's great that as newlyweds, you are already thinking about improving your communication! Best Wishes for a great marriage! -enjoyed the class and am still married!

Kaiser (Oakland) has Couples Communications Workshops for straight and gay couples. You don't have to be a Kaiser member to attend. The class is 2 hours long and meets 6 times weekly. The class covers ways to enhance communcication skills and resolve conflicts constructively as well as how to increase positive experiences in the relationship. The cost is $85 for Kaiser members and $150 for non members. Only one person has to be a Kaiser member to get the Kaiser rate. Call 752-1075 for more info -Kaiser Oakland Psychologist

March 2005

Has anyone ever taken a great workshop/seminar/class on improving marital communication or couples communication? My husband and I would like to work on this. anonymous

Yes, I have taken an extremely helpful communication workshop with my husband. We actually did the workshop when we were engaged and it has served us for the last six years. (happily married and when in conflict the tools from the workshop really help) The class is ''The Art of Talking and Listening'' with Mudita Nisker MFCC and Dan Clurman. They have a website - you can get a sense of them and what they offer.

September 2004

I am looking for a recommendation for a good couples communication workshop, either one that is on weeknights or a weekend retreat. My husband & I frequently misinterpret what the other means, and this has caused tension in our marriage. Does anyone have first-hand experience with any such workshops? Anon

Recommendations received: