Couples Intensive Weekend Retreats for Marriages & Relationships in Crisis.

What are Couples Intensive Weekend Retreats?

Couples Intensive Weekend Retreats are two-and-a-half day intensive retreats for couples who want a private, more-meaningful experience then what you might be getting from traditional weekly marriage counseling sessions. Perhaps you’ve tried once-a-week traditional marriage counseling and are not making the progress that you’ve envisioned, maybe you want to jump-start the repair and renewal of your relationship, or perhaps your relationship has reached a state of crisis. If you are in any of these situations, you could benefit from a weekend of intensive relationship counseling.

“You helped us not only save our marriage, you gave us the means and insight to re-energize our relationship in ways that I never thought were possible.”

Here’s what they are and how they work:

  • Over a two-and-a-half day weekend, this intense, highly-focused approach to your relationship issues generates more profound results in a much shorter time span than traditional marriage counseling.
  • More than 20 hours of intensive couples therapy with Dr. Patty Brawner, PhD, Licensed Psychologist.
  • This is not a group retreat. It’s just you and your partner working with Dr. Brawner over two-and-a-half days.
  • The retreats take place in a quiet, comfortable location. Being away from your normal environment allows us to focus on the tools and skills necessary to repair and renew your relationship without outside distractions.
  • You are responsible for lodging and meals during the retreat. Snacks, water and juice drinks are provided during breaks.
  • A structured follow-up program is designed to keep you on track and monitor your progress over a longer period of time.

Meet Dr. Patty Brawner, PhD

I’m Dr. Patty Brawner, PhD. I’m a licensed psychologist who has been counseling couples for more than 25 years in private practice in Athens, GA. I have a PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Georgia, and, I am a Licensed Psychologist in the State of Georgia, a Certified Life Coach, and I am Certified in Marriage and Family Therapy. My professional associations include membership in the American Psychological Association, the Georgia Psychological Association and the Athens, GA Area Psychological Association.

I have had advanced training in the Gottman Method, developed by Drs. John and Julie Gottman. The Gottman Method has been shown to be much more effective than other forms of relationship counseling and therapy. I employ Gottman techniques combined with my own experience and observations gained in more than 25 years of counseling couples of all kinds.


Couples Intensive Weekend Retreat Methodology

As you consider pursing quality couples therapy, look for a venue hosted by a licensed psychologist with plenty of experience who provides a safe, non-judgmental environment where your problems and concerns can be openly, safely and confidentially discussed.

Private. Personalized. Profound. These two-and-a-half day Couples Weekend Intensive Retreats are designed for couples who want a private, more-meaningful experience than what you might be getting from weekly marriage counseling sessions. There is ample evidence that this intensive, condensed and highly focused approach to relationship issues allows you to get more profound results in a shorter timespan – you’ll progress much more rapidly in repairing your relationship than those who attend months of once or twice weekly therapy sessions. This is not a group experience. Meeting with just the two of you allows us to focus on those specific issues that are negatively impacting your relationship. Being away from home in a relaxed, stress-free, neutral setting allows us to work together to break old habits, learn new communication skills and create the framework for a reinvigorated relationship that you’ll take home with you.

 Who should attend? Married couples, LGBT couples, couples in a partnership, divorced couples attempting reconciliation are all welcome to participate. If your relationship is in crisis and you feel divorce is the only solution, you should seriously consider attending an Intensive Retreat weekend.

A nurturing environment. We’ll dress casually, turn off mobile phones and leave the grid and outside world for the time to focus on restoring your relationship and discovering new and intimate ways to communicate with each other. You will find me, warm, welcoming, non-judgmental, and in an environment that fosters the communication and learning that will allow you to begin the process of repairing and renewing your relationship.

Pre-retreat preparation. Prior to your retreat, I’ll ask each of you for some information so that we can focus on your issues in a manner that’s designed to meet your specific needs and circumstances.

What I do. I bring to the table over twenty-five years of experience helping couples rebuild their relationships. I am a trained professional, a woman with considerable life experiences. I approach you and the work we do together in a nonjudgmental way with genuine interest in understanding each of you individually and as a couple. I will teach you better ways to communicate with one another, fostering a deeper understanding of each other and improved intimacy, friendship and fun.  I am both by nature and training an empathetic witness to your pain, confusion and what may seem to be embarrassing problems. The forum I provide allows for complete disclosure and frank discussion necessary to the process.

I am trained in the Gottman Method, a very successful methodology developed by Drs. John and Julie Gottman. The Gottman Method stresses that couples must become better friends, learn to manage conflict, and create ways to support each other’s hopes for the future. I also use successful techniques that I’ve developed in my more than 25 years of counseling couples of all kinds.

What happens after the retreat? The process does not end when you leave your retreat to return home. We’ll schedule a series of follow up discussions with you and your partner as a couple, and each of you individually to keep you on track and making positive progress. We do this by Skype, FaceTime or phone calls.

Locations. Couples Intensive Weekend Retreats are scheduled in Athens and Atlanta, GA.

Couples Intensive Weekend Retreat Schedule



6-9pm Arrive and Get Acquainted


8-8:45a Coffee / Breakfast

9a-12:30p Therapy

12:30-1p Lunch

1-6p Therapy

6-6:30p Break

6:30-9:30p Dinner / Therapy

10:00p Your Time / Bed


8-8:45a Coffee / Breakfast

9a-12:30p Therapy

12:30-1p Lunch

1-6p Therapy

6-10p Your Date Night

10-11p Bed


8-8:45a Coffee / Breakfast

9-10a Therapy

10-11:30a Wrap Up / Next Steps

12n – Leave For Home

Couples Intensive Weekend Retreat Information


“…We needed help right away. I feared we were, perhaps, a few months away from divorce. We called Dr. Brawner, and after a few phone conversations and one session in her office, she suggested that an intensive weekend retreat might be what was needed to not only jump-start the process of repairing our relationship, but to also give us a road map for the future…I can say without any hesitation that it was the most important weekend of our lives. We can’t thank you enough Dr. Brawner!’ See more here.

Gwen and Donald T.

“…We found Dr. Brawner’s website and discovered her intensive weekend retreats. I was reluctant (to say the least) but it turned out to be the best thing we could ever have done. I say that she is like hard candy-sweet and to the point at the same time. Dr. Brawner “got” our issues and helped us both see how we were contributing to our problems. We learned how to communicate and demonstrate respect and love to each other. My wife and I are now on a new path. We still talk to Dr. Brawner (FaceTime) twice a month and we’re not giving that up anytime soon. We thank you and our kids thank you Dr. Brawner, for saving our marriage.”  See more here.

AJ and Sally F.

“…We can’t thank you enough for what you did for us! The three days that we spent with you were amazing, so much so that my husband is now your biggest fan. I would tell anyone in a troubled relationship that is considering your weekend retreat that it is well worth the time and investment. You helped us not only save our marriage, you gave us the means and insight to re-energize our relationship in ways that I never thought were possible. Thank you!” See more here.

John and Carol S.

Follow Up

Scheduled Follow Up keeps you on track. During your Couples Intensive Weekend Retreat you’ll learn new ways of communicating, showing intimacy and all the other skills and methods necessary to renew your relationship. You’ll have some opportunity to practice these skills in a controlled environment before the retreat is over. But, what happens when you leave and return home?

  • How do you keep from slipping back into old behavior and habits?
  • How do you deal with new issues that arise in your relationship?
  • How do you maintain the trust and communication skills that you learned during your Intensive Retreat?

Before you depart from your Intensive Weekend, Dr. Brawner will schedule a series of follow up sessions that will be facilitated via phone, Skype or FaceTime with you and your partner. Some of these will be with both of you, and there will also be an opportunity for individual sessions. Once the included sessions have been completed, you’ll have the option of continuing these sessions with Doctor Brawner as you may desire.


Dr. Patricia S. Brawner, PhD

Athens Area Psychotherapy

1751 South Lumpkin Street

Athens, GA 30601


Email me here