Since 2010, Dr. Lisa Blum and Dr. Silvina Irwin have hosted transformative weekend workshops for couples in beautiful retreat locations. Learn more about upcoming workshops, detailed descriptions of each workshop, and what you and your partner can expect when you attend one of these enriching weekends.
Feb 2-4, 2018
Hold Me Tight®
Details and registration coming soon!
April 13-15, 2018
Your Whole Relationship
Cambria Pines Lodge
If you would like a courtesy notification of when registration opens for a specific workshop,
contact us and let us know!
"Hold Me Tight®"
Hold Me Tight® is a weekend retreat for nurturing emotional closeness with your partner. This workshop is based on the international best-selling book "Hold Me Tight: 7 Conversations for a Lifetime of Love" by Dr. Sue Johnson.
The educational and experiential workshop introduces core concepts of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples, heralded as one of the most effective couples therapies.
- Get unstuck from repeating arguments or silent distancing that cause frustration and pain
- Make sense of the strong emotions and needs that can surprise both of you in the relationship
- Begin the process of repairing relationship injuries, even old ones, and understand how to move forward
- Change how you communicate so you can really open up to each other with your true feelings and wishes
- Increase feelings of trust and intimacy, playfulness, and fun
- Learn how to take the great conversations you start at the workshop and keep them going at home
Coming soon: Hold Me Tight® for Newlyweds, Newly Engaged, and Those Thinking About It
"Your Whole Relationship"
Your Whole Relationship: Sex, Desire, Intimacy, and Connection is our next-step workshop that takes couples who have already participated in a Hold Me Tight workshop, or who have had a course of EFT couples therapy, into an exploration of their sexual relationship to re-inspire desire and strengthen physical connection.
- Explore and understand emotional and physical blocks in your sexual relationship in the safety of our workshop.
- Experience a variety of exercises in private -- talking, breathing, safe touch, nonverbal attunement, writing, imagery.
- Learn about your own and your partner's sexuality and desire, and how to enhance or restart touch and sensuality.
- Discover together how you both want to construct a fulfilling, meaningful, rewarding, and pleasurable sexual relationship -- in whatever form that takes you.
Drs. Blum and Irwin are experienced couples therapists with advanced training and certifications in EFT. They are not sex therapists. Their expertise is in helping couples merge sexuality and physical intimacy into a healthy, safe, loving, and whole relationship.
Customize a workshop for your community
If you would like to host one of these workshops for your church or temple group, parents’ group, an LGBT support group, divorced and remarried group, adoption group, cousins circle, or any other kind of community, our team is happy to customize any of our available workshops to fit the specific needs of your group or community.
Our team members have expertise in topics such as parenting, blended families, interfaith and intercultural relationships, trauma recovery, spirituality and faith, LGBT relationships, premarital counseling, and sexuality. We work with you to tailor a workshop to address your group’s interests. The weekend retreat can be at your site or one of ours, in almost any suitable location (we are happy to travel). The cost remains much the same for our other retreats, except for some travel and design expenses.
We love being creative and are happy to talk to you about any specific needs or focus you may want in the workshop. Contact us to begin the conversation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who attends your workshops?
On average, between 15-18 couples of every kind come. Young and old. Straight, gay, and trans. Married and not. With kids and without. Living together, living apart, on the verge of divorce. All different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Young couples have come as a pre-wedding gift to each other or from their families. Couples with 40+ years under their belts come to get closer and restore deeper connection.
Remarkably, everyone relates because relationship struggles are universal. And the group connects by showing support for each other, laughing together, and helping each other put words to the challenges and joys of nurturing our most precious relationships.
LGBTQ couples often ask us if it's safe to join the workshop. Yes, it is. Contact us and we can share more. We have LGBTQ couples at every workshop, and from time to time, we offer workshops specially for same-sex couples. We are a diverse team of facilitators and openly welcome every couple who wants a strong and lasting relationship.
When and where do you hold the workshops?
Currently, we hold several workshops each year, including both Hold Me Tight and Your Whole Relationship. We alternate so that couples who have attended a Hold Me Tight workshop can take the next step in attending Your Whole Relationship. Our workshops take place in lovely getaway destinations so that your weekend retreat is soothing for the body and soul. We love Cambria (Central Coast), Lake Arrowhead, Ojai, and the Santa Susana mountains, and are always scouting new spots. The workshops are held in hotels, retreat centers, inns, and spa locations. If you are interested in a particular favorite destination, talk to us!
How are the workshops structured?
Educational presentations. Workshop facilitators give engaging presentations using pictures, music, and videos from both science and popular culture to explain a few core concepts of attachment theory -- the science of adult love. Couples will understand how adult love works without jargon, then learn how to apply these concepts directly to their own relationships to bond and stay securely attached to loved ones.
Couples exercises. Couples receive clear instructions and watch video demonstrations before breaking off to practice structured exercises together in private. These conversations allow the couple to explore and understand their unique relationship dynamic.
Group discussion. Couples benefit from being supported through group discussion with other couples who share the same goal of strengthening their relationships. However, no group speaking or sharing is required.
Is this group therapy? I don't want to share private information with unfamiliar people.
Our workshops are therapeutic and experiential, but not therapy - we blend education with therapeutic experiences. The group learns new material and discusses it together, but you and your partner process your relationship in private. We provide you with the option to request guidance from our trained and experienced facilitators so you are not alone with the challenging work. Back in the group meeting, we will debrief anything you wish to share about new learnings that happened for you, but there is no group sharing required. The group discussions often turn out to be one of the richest parts of the weekend.
Who are the workshop facilitators?
Dr. Silvina Irwin (PSY19710) and Dr. Lisa Blum (PSY19890), co-founders of the EFT Resource Center, are the primary teachers and facilitators of these workshops. They are both licensed clinical psychologists in California with a combined total of over 30 years of experience helping couples, families, and individuals heal relationships. They have offered dozens of Hold Me Tight workshops over the years, and were featured in a training video for other professionals learning how to facilitate these workshops. Dr. Blum is a certified EFT therapist and a supervisor-in-training. Dr. Irwin is a certified EFT therapist, supervisor, and trainer. We also have additional colleagues experienced in EFT who assist in our workshops so that every couple can get the support they need.
How much do the workshops cost?
The specific fees of our upcoming workshops can be found in the “Learn More” link under each workshop date listed above. Fees vary by the specific workshop, location, size of the group, and whether lodging is included. Your registration fee includes the weekend full of presentations for the both of you (not individual), assistance from facilitators during private exercises, snacks and beverages (sometimes meals are included), and a welcome gift. In addition, couples receive a complete notebook of all of the exercises and some reference reading as take-home materials to review and re-engage with the exercises after the workshop is over.
How does the workshop cost compare to the cost of couples therapy?
The value of the workshop is extremely high considering that 14 hours of couples therapy with an experienced therapist would easily cost several thousand dollars. The weekend retreat often takes couples much further in one weekend than months of individual therapy can. This is due to the consistency and intensity of work a couple can do in a weekend format when away from the distractions of everyday life. Many couples also find that attending this workshop jump- starts a particularly productive couples therapy journey that follows.
I'm a mental health professional. Can my partner and I attend?
YES! We have mental health and allied health professionals join us at every workshop -- healers need healing too! We will work with you to make sure it's a confidential environment for you to be able to do your own relationship work. Occasionally we offer dedicated weekends just for mental health professionals. In addition, we offer continuing education credits applicable to many mental health professionals. Contact us for details.
How do I register?
In our list of upcoming workshops above, click the "Learn More" button for the specific workshop and date you would like to attend. It will lead you to more information about the worshop and where to register.