Unusual Marriage Counseling Retreats on Nautical Odysseys Re-launches

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Love Odyssey Charters has just re-launched their ship "Dragon Lady" for a new season. Their private marriage counseling retreats offer 2 to 7 days of intensive assessment and skills training while sailing each couple to different ports along the rivers and sounds of North Carolina.

Love Odysssey marriage counseling retreats use this Finnish-built pilothouse ketch

Dragon Lady and crew docked at Ocracoke

The paradox is that autonomy protects intimacy.

Love Odyssey Charters has announced that it is ready to start booking new marriage counseling retreats. They have re-launched their pilothouse sailboat “Dragon Lady” after its annual maintenance. The company offers an intensive marriage intervention service for couples seeking to revive their troubled relationships. More than a gimmick, the service is based on sound neuroscience according to Dr. Bryce Kaye, psychologist and author of the book "The Marriage First Aid Kit." He explains: "We keep them moving and out of their stuck roles. We sail them from port to port where they stay in quaint B&B's, explore the historic towns and enjoy the down-east restaurants. They are surrounded by beautiful natural scenery on the rivers and sounds of North Carolina. The marriage counseling retreats take place in a cozy teak-lined pilot house of a Finnish-made sailboat. All of this puts them into an exploratory state in which their minds are more receptive to new ideas.”

The new ideas to which Dr. Kaye refers are taught by him and his wife of 34 years, Helen Kaye. The Kayes work as a team with one couple at a time. Their approach is more complex than merely teaching communication and closeness. They have observed that the highest functioning couples will adaptively reverse their emotional states between closeness and autonomy. They point out that most couples communicate just fine at the start of a relationship. It is when a couple begins to share decisions about childcare, money and other responsibilities that emotional damage can accumulate. According to Dr. Kaye, each partner has an unconscious system that inhibits reflexes. This inhibitory system can shut down affection and communication if it is not well managed. Toward the end of this process is someone who feels like he or she is "suffocating", "drowning" or “doesn't know who they are anymore.” The Kayes call this “relationship depersonalization" and it accounts for many failed marriages and illicit affairs.

During their marriage retreats, couples are counseled and trained to reverse the damage from accumulating inhibition. They are trained in techniques to strengthen both autonomy and intimacy. Dr. Kaye emphasizes that both are necessary for a good relationship because true autonomy protects intimacy. He explains how this occurs in his online book chapters.

As a finale on the longer retreats, each couple is guided through a sunrise resentment burial ceremony on a remote island beach. Wild horses are often seen grazing nearby. Each partner downloads his or her list of resentments to the other for a full half hour without rebuttal. Afterward, the couple cremates their lists together in a hole dug in the sand. Following the burial a ceremony of new marriage vows is officiated by the captain and champagne is served as the sun rises. While this finale is not strictly neuroscience, Dr. Kaye explains that he tries to leave some room for old fashioned romance as well.

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Bryce Kaye
since: 01/2010
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Love Odyssey Charters
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