Holding Hands

Couples Intensive Therapy

Research supports that Intensive therapy, often referred to as marathon therapy due to the amount of time reserved, has better therapeutic outcomes than weekly standard sessions. It is short-term and provides a condensed and highly focused approach that can help couples move quickly through specific issues and learn new skills in a short period of time.  


Is your relationship in crisis or need of some repair work? Are you feeling overwhelmed or like problems just cycle without getting anywhere? If so, Couples Intensives may be a good fit for you.


Some couples can feel that the standard session time is just too short and is not enough time to get traction, which can feel frustrating and like progress is at a snail’s pace. Couples Intensives allow the couple to carve out a block of time with the therapist to dig deep in an intentional way and learn new skills that can support relational movement and progress. 


At STIR Psychology, Couples Intensives are private appointments where no other couples are present…this is a time just for you and your partner. The program begins with an online Gottman Relationship Checkup assessment, two individual check-ins, followed by a block of 9 or 11 hours of relationship counselling (over two consecutive days). This grants the time needed for the in-depth work of uncovering the root of issues and patterns, addressing relationship trauma, setting goals where change is desired, and learning research-based interventions to make lasting improvements.


After the initial time is completed in the Intensive program, standard sessions are staggered as needed for ongoing support, accountability, and treatment planning. STIR Psychology also provides resources that set the couple up for continued independent work to practice new ways of communicating, connecting, and deepening empathy and understanding.   

2-Day Couples Intensives Program:

  • Private with only one couple in attendance.

  • Online Gottman Checkup Assessment (each complete separately).

  • Individual check-in with each partner and the therapist.

  • Please note that there is a no secrets policy, and the therapist will not be responsible for holding secrets. An important part of therapy success is transparency.

  • 9 or 11 hours of relationship counselling, over 2 consecutive days (in-person at Edmonton clinic).

  • Extensive treatment plan for the couple to follow after the Intensive. 

  • Follow-up appointments available for scheduling, according to the treatment plan. 

  • Resources that are relevant for the couple. 


  • Option 1:  $1450 (+ GST) includes assessment, 2-individual check-ins, 9 hours of relationship counselling, and extensive treatment plan; the full amount is due upon scheduling.

  • Option 2:  $1750 (+ GST) includes assessment, 2-individual check-ins, 11 hours of relationship counselling, and extensive treatment plan; the full amount is due upon scheduling.


Cancellation Policy:

  • Cancellations can be made up to 30 days before your scheduled appointment with a $300 cancellation fee. 50% is non-refundable within 30 days; full amount is non-refundable within 14 days. 

  • Your session can be rescheduled one time. However, the new date must be within 3 months of your original date. 


Couples Intensives are for couples that are:

  1.  In crisis and have specific problems they are facing 

  2. Experiencing trauma in their relationship, such as dealing with the aftermath of an affair 

  3. Seeking recovery and reconciliation

  4. Who seem to cycle through the same problem without seeming to make any progress

  5. Who are seeking to enhance their communication and conflict management skills

  6. In a location where they must travel to receive therapy and therefore prefer to attend for a condensed period of time, rather than travelling weekly

  7. With special scheduling needs

  8. Who have a solid relationship and want to continue to be intentional about building the relationship of their dreams. 


The Couples Intensive program may move you more quickly and intensely into the areas of difficulty to be addressed. Therefore uncomfortable feelings like sadness, guilt, anxiety, anger, loneliness, and helplessness may be experienced. Your therapy may also involve recalling unpleasant aspects of your history together and/or individually. As with couples’ therapy in general, there are limitations and Couples Intensives may be unadvisable in the following situations:

  1. If there is active alcohol and/or drug addiction by one or both, from either partner’s perspective

  2. If there is current domestic violence in your relationship, threats by one or both partners that serious violence might occur, or fear of such violence on the part of one or both partners

  3. If either partner currently has an unmanaged major mental illness (schizophrenia, recurrent psychotic depression, or bipolar/manic-depressive illness.) This does not include past, successfully treated psychotic episodes (e.g. post-partum depression with psychosis).

  4. If there is an undisclosed, current affair that you are not willing to disclose 

Paula Gurnett has completed Gottman Level 3 training, Gottman Couples and Recovery, and Gottman Treating Affairs and Trauma. She is passionate about her work with couples and believes that all individuals have the right to design a life that they love, which includes a happy and healthy relationship. She admires the determination couples hold who have the courage to do the work that it takes to be intentional about their relationship, family, and environment. She is committed to meeting each couple where they are at as she promotes the seeking of understanding and holds a space that is founded on respect.

For booking inquiries, please email contact@stirpsychology.com 

Weekday and weekend appointment times available for Intensives.