The Journey of the Heroic Couple

Posted by Travis Slagle on December 31, 2020

43ADC003 7B53 45B0 BD97 DC0CC53CA076Finding connection and forging a path towards intimacy and understanding is one of the most heroic experiences that I know. Each time I sit with a couple and hear their story, I am reminded of my own story and the stories of the people I love and have inevitably hurt. The journey of the heroic couple is not for the faint of heart. For parents, the notion of divorcing your kids seems unthinkable, but for couples the statistical probability of divorce can be more than 50 percent. Couples therapy can be a grueling experience navigating deep wounds and complexities, psychological defenses, and emotional trauma that can span generations. The risk is great but the reward for those who choose this path can be life changing. Evoke Intensives offers a safe place for couples to reconnect and revitalize their relationship with themselves and each other. For couples willing to embark on a journey towards healing and wholeness, Finding Connection is a therapeutic intensive that is revolutionizing the way couples therapy can be done.

In couples therapy, each person can have a widely different approach to protecting themselves and an equally complicated response to hearing the needs and feelings of their partner. During an intensive, we provide the time and space to understand these unconscious defenses so that individuals within the relationship have greater capacity to listen and be open with each other. It’s rare to meet someone who had parents that taught them how to deeply listen to the feelings of another person. This simple task of listening can arouse some of our deepest wounds and fears. No relationship is immune from toxic communication. Attachment-based therapists know that the root of dysfunctional communication is often born from an experience of hurt and fear in relationships. All therapy is a reminder that the need for safety and protection is universal, and that the ways we are protecting ourselves is often how we are hurting others.

Relationships can be turned upside down by unspoken needs and misunderstood emotion. Over time, the pressure of discontent builds until someone is willing to take a risk by speaking the truth and setting a boundary. What transpires in a couples intensive goes much deeper than sharing complaints. The Finding Connection intensive is not just a conversation between two people, it’s a conversation with all the relationships that have shaped us.

During the process of healing in relationships, each person must be willing to take an enormous risk but the task is quite simple. As Dr. Brad Reedy suggests, “There are two priorities in relationships; one is to tell the truth and the other is to listen.” Couples that seek a path towards repairing trust and deepening connection must be willing to be radically honest and equally prepared to listen from the heart. It’s a proposition that risks aggravating wounds from the past and threatening the part of ourselves that is scared of change, afraid of being the “bad object,” or losing something that feels irreplaceable. The fear of being alone, being rejected and misunderstood can be paralyzing. During a couples intensive, each individual within the relationship has the opportunity to surrender the need to be right and to share the story behind the fear of being wrong. At the Intensives program, we believe that understanding and accepting the limitations and insecurities in the people we love is inseparable from understanding and accepting ourselves.

One of the hardest facts of life is that we hurt the people we love. The path towards healing in relationships requires that we can safely turn towards another person and genuinely ask them to “tell me how I’ve hurt you,” and to be prepared to listen wholeheartedly to their response. This is the moment when we can rediscover connection in relationship by lowering the defenses and increasing capacity to give and receive love. By doing so, we create the necessary conditions for safety, acceptance, and understanding in our relationship.

To be seen and heard for exactly who we are without modification or strings attached is to embrace the true transformative power of love. This is the greatest gift we can offer others; to let go of the need to be good, and the need to be right in order to make space for the need to be free and accepted as we are. Participating in a couples intensive is an extraordinary journey for those who have the courage to embrace the unknown and rediscover themselves within their relationships. We hope to meet you there, and we are committed to holding the space and guiding you on a heroic path toward intimacy and connection with Self and the people you love.


Loved this article. I especially loved the line, "tell me how I have hurt you?" as an added tool that I will use going forward in addition to "thanks for telling me" after I hear hard things. I know that is powerful because as I imagined someone asking me that, I felt my defenses melt. Bravo Travis!

Posted by Michelle Taggart Reedy

The line that says it all: "The Finding Connection intensive is not just a conversation between two people, it’s a conversation with all the relationships that have shaped us." This program looks amazing; I hope that my husband and I can consider this.

Posted by Rebecca

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