If your car were stalling repeatedly, would you assume it could be fixed in weekly, 45-minute intervals? Probably not. Attempting to solve your car problems this way would only allow you to address superficial issues. Sure, it might drive nicely for a while, but a part of you would be anticipating when the next stall would occur. You might start to feel resentment for all the time wasted on tune-ups, feel your frustration spill over, and fear that this is as good as it gets. At this point: you could keep doing what you are doing, trade in the car, or accept that the more parts that are interwoven into the problem, the more time you will need to effectively address it.
For couples and families, therapy can feel the same way; you never quite get enough time to deal with the underlying issues at play for each individual, or the relationship. We can see it, we can name it, but we just can’t get there in the time allotted. When the traditional approach doesn’t work for you, and going on a therapy retreat isn’t your ideal use of vacation days, what do you do?
The Accelerated Model is our answer to that frustrating problem. With sessions lasting at least three hours, we can:
- Wear out defense mechanisms that prevent meaningful exchanges to occur (such as: blocking, denial, intellectualization, and isolation).
- Identify, name, and break down unhelpful patterns of behavior.
- Work through difficult conflicts with the support, safety, and guidance of a professional.
- Analyze, assess, and foster awareness of contributing factors and solutions.
- Practice positive interpersonal exchanges.
- Move past problem-saturated stories that have kept you stuck in the past.
While you have probably never heard of this approach, it is not exactly new to the field. Also known as: Marathon Sessions, Intensive Sessions, or Double Sessions, these extended-time models were more used commonly in the 1960’s and 70’s by family therapy pioneers like: James Framo, Carl Whitaker, and Salvador Minuchin (Reiter, 2010; Weigel, 2002). These models fell out of fashion when managed care companies shifted reimbursement practices, limiting the duration of a reimbursable session to 45-minutes (Reiter, 2010). Without consumers, providers stopped offering the service, and without providers, graduate programs stopped relevant research and trainings, all but eradicating extended time models from the field.
Kari Lyn Wampler, MA, LMFT, and Tessa Gittleman, MA, LAMFT, have had the training and practice it takes to successfully manage these extended-sessions. Families and couples who have tried the Accelerated Therapy Model report feeling more confident in their relationship, a reduction of overall stress, a sense of resolution, and more harmony. This model is especially helpful for families and couples struggling with:
- Acute crisis
- Stage of life issues
- Family transitions
- Coping with grief or loss
- Reemergence of old problems
- Reoccurring stressors
- Communication issues
However, this approach is not right for everyone. While the format allows us to navigate through difficult subjects quickly and intensely, it is not covered by insurance. Additionally, there are certain risks involved, such as: the amplification of the problem, discomfort, or exposure of secrets. For these reasons, we do not recommend this service if there is active: addiction, violence, untreated mental health problems, or an undisclosed affair.
If you would like to learn more or to schedule an appointment, please call The Calli Institute at 763-255-2125 and ask to speak with an intake specialist.