Our relationship to ourself drives everything.

How we feel inside is how we live our lives and how we love one another.

Can a Marriage Counseling Retreat Save a Marriage?

Is it better that a couple divorce rather than remain together in distress?

Can a retreat re-create love when a couple no longer feels the passion? When marriage therapy fails, is that a sign that the couple is better off apart?  Is it better that a couple divorce rather than remain together in distress?

  • How often should you tell your partner you love them?
  • How often should you do extra things to show you care?
  • Is sex critical for a successful relationship?
  • Is chronic anger damaging for a relationship?
  • Can men who are controlling, critical, and unemotional really change their stripes?
  • Is it easier to just be alone for a woman than to commit to a partner who will tell them what to do?

These and many similar questions bewilder couples, and yet there are clear answers to each of these questions, says Dr. Mark Schwartz and Lori Galperin, MSW, relational co-therapists for the past 30 years. Schwartz and Galperin were trained by the infamous William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson of the Masters & Johnson Institute and are co-directors of the Marriage Therapy Institute in Monterey, California. The Monterey Bay Area being one of the most beautiful settings available nationwide for a focused marriage slash relationships tune-up or an intensive “engine overall.”

Therapists recommend that no couple should stay together and make each other miserable. Instead, unhappiness is a critical alert to each individual in the coupledom. It tells the unhappy partner there’s a need to look at his/her own contribution to the problem. From there, the couple needs to establish new rules and contracts for change. (more…)

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What Makes a Good Marriage Retreat?

What To Look For When Considering a Marriage Retreat?

During the past 25 years, Lori and I have provided relationship therapy for hundreds of couples. Our extensive experience, across a broad array of issues, has taught us what is necessary for therapy to be its most effective.

What Does It Take?

First, both partners must learn new ways of interacting. They must master skills for solving problems, listening, dealing with anger, frustration and passivity, and creating quality interactions. Second, they must practice these new ways of interacting until deep and authentic change takes place. Third, they must be guided to examine the places where they are stuck or blocked that interfere with this change.

Rarely does once-a-week therapy allow for these three criteria to be met, regardless of how long the therapy goes on. Momentum matters in therapy. The right frequency of sessions is critical to long-lasting success.

The Proven Solution

Our solution, and one that has worked well for us over the past 25 years, is this:  The retreat model calls for initial intensive therapy away from home, followed by at-home sessions as needed. We have the couple stays for seven days at accommodations near our Institute. We meet with them three hours each day and then have them use the rest of the day to practice the skills and techniques we discussed. This concentrated focus on healing the relationship is very effective when done away from work, kids and other stressors. (more…)

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Why We Marry, Why We Split…

Why Marriage Counseling Off-site Retreats Are a Relationship-saving Trend To Pay Attention To


Most individuals marry for good reasons — and for bad reasons! The good reasons include finally finding that one extraordinary person who you weren’t even sure existed. Life feels magical: colors are brighter, song lyrics have more meaning, and the sex is passionate. You feel good when you are with this person and think of them constantly when you are not. You are no longer alone; you have a partner with whom you can explore the universe, with whom you can create, learn, laugh, play and build a life.

And the bad reasons?  We often choose partners who uniquely re-create what therapists call “the pasts unfinished business.” And so begins the disenchantment, the frustration, the hurt and disappointment, the distance, and the power struggles.

It starts small. Your other half leaves the cap off the toothpaste, loads the dishwasher all wrong, if they attempted to load it at all. They don’t talk or they always want to talk. They want sex all the time. But worse, when they don’t, are they no longer attracted to you?

You can’t believe the person you thought was so amazing is now so inconsiderate! Were you wrong then or are you wrong now? Who is this person? Or is it you? Marital therapists during the last few decades were, in general, remarkably ineffective in helping couples create sustainable and adequate relational improvement — but much has changed in the last few years.  The field of marriage counseling, marital therapy has evolved and the current approaches are working much better. Often, much can be done to improve a failing relationship. Reestablishing the “good” and resolving the “bad” is a sincere possibility.

The complex challenge is that for partners to make changes, they need a climate of teamwork, respect, and positive regard for each other. But wait! The relationship is already in danger or they wouldn’t be in marriage counseling. Here’s the million dollar question: How is that you can achieve the initial relational shifts necessary to foster change? (more…)

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Why Couples Therapy?

After the courtship period, couples often wonder, “What happened to the fun, excitement and passion we used to have together?”  As the novelty wears away, couples sometimes argue, pout, become enraged and act irrational. They may move into a stressful stage of over-working, having to cope with being a parent to their own children or to stepchildren, and the pressures of a complex society. They do not have the skills to deal with conflict optimally, and so do not resolve their differences effectively. Hurt and anger will interfere with, and sometimes destroy, intimacy.  Issues of control frequently emerge and cause conflict to escalate. Men often become withdrawn, unemotional and uncommunicative, while woman feel lonely, frustrated and angry.

The good news is that skilled therapy can reverse such patterns, even when there has been a dampening of affection. Problems in relationships are inevitable. Our approach is to help partners negotiate and compromise, using conflict to identify “hot spots” and provide clues to unresolved past issues. We help each partner to become healthier, which can translate to a more open, honest and often excitingly intimate relationship. (more…)

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Article: Experts Among “SEXperts”

Winter 2001


Experts Among ‘SEXperts’

by Brenda Murphy-Niederkorn

Sex. The mere mention of the word might still be enough to grab readers’ attention today, but it certainly doesn’t shock them as it did when the world-renowned Masters & Johnson Institute in St. Louis first came to public attention in the early ’60s.

There’s no way it could, says Mark F. Schwartz, Sc.D., ’72, codirector with his co-therapy partner, Lori Galperin, of the Masters and Johnson Clinic in Chesterfield, Mo., a St. Louis suburb. “Since the introduction of the birth control pill [in the early 1960s], the changes have been huge,” says Schwartz.

Schwartz and Galperin are heirs to the Masters and Johnson legacy. They took over the clinic from their predecessors in 1991. A year later, a Vanity Fair writer dubbed Schwartz and Galperin as “the new sexperts.”

Today, says Schwartz, the media bombards us with sex. During the past decade alone, we’ve been introduced to the pharmaceutical benefits of Viagra by former Sen. Bob Dole, and to the extramarital escapades of President Clinton, including details of oral sex, a previously taboo topic. These events may have made society more tolerant to discussions of sex in public, but they haven’t altered our puritanical views about the subject, says Schwartz.

The work of William H. Masters, M.D., and Virginia E. Johnson, Ph.D., was focused on changing society’s attitude about sex to view it as a natural function. Schwartz can chronicle the changes by decade that he’s seen since he began his association with Masters and Johnson in 1975: (more…)

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