Couples Therapy Intensive Retreat for International Couples

Revised 4/19/20

Couples Therapy Inc. offers International Couples Therapy in many languages.

We reach the ex-pat American, Chinese, and otherwise international community with help for issues concerning their partner intimacy and adjustment challenges.

Many members of the expatriate community, compromising both native and non-native English speakers, already use video conferencing in their professional lives.

Relocation to a foreign country, and adjusting to a new way of life, and new technologies of human connection, can profoundly impact a couple’s relationship, affect career and work, and influence other aspects of life such as health, finances, and overall happiness as well.

What Language Will Our Children Speak?

One of the common initial questions of an International Couple is “what language will our children speak?” Being or becoming multi-lingual organizes the brain in a meaningful way.

International Couples, under their world-embracing perspective, have many different types of therapy, and even more different kinds of therapists for consideration. Finding the right therapist who fits you and your partner’s situation can become a complex challenge, especially while coming from distinctly different cultural backgrounds.

Part of a Greater Whole

And you might be living in yet a third foreign country as well!  Science-Based couples therapy is an incredibly useful model you can trust to weigh the import of your cultural and gender values that you think are most important, while working with a therapist with whom you both feel an ongoing abiding sense of ease and trust.

Intensive Couples Therapy retreats with an Internationally trained, evidence-based couple’s therapist is a popular option for these couples.

An individual is a part of a greater whole. We also see the importance of understanding the cultural context in the back and forth of a couple’s dyadic intimacy. This is why Couples Therapy Inc. uses the invaluable Big Big Book. Together we will build a treatment map to identify the destructive “dance” in your relationship and offer you both the evidence-based invitation to possibilities for profound change.

The Burden of Expectations

Recognizing how the culture of origin impacts men and women in their relationship requires therapeutic skills.

For example, according to research by Crohn (1995),  Asian Men sometimes report feeling burdened by the expectation that they are super-achievers.

Sometimes the cultural expectation that they are preoccupied with math and science becomes a micro-aggression.

Similarly, Crohn reports that many Asian women complain about the Suzie Wong stereotype, which privileges passive sexual passivity.

Even if you are what most people might reasonably culturally expect from you, you can end up feeling a bit squeezed by cultural constrictions.

Crohn reminds us that even Positive stereotypes may become a burden and a chore over time. Sometimes International Couples are struggling with Ambivalent Identification.

What Sidney Can’t Stand About Sarah…

Ambivalent identification happens when we gleefully accept our own cultural label but have a profound aversion to attractive other members or opposite sex members of our own personal racial or ethnic group.

Distortion is a red flag, as it is common for Ambivalent identifiers to foist off the baggage of negative cultural stereotypes onto the opposite sex, or attractive other, of their own group.

Examples of Ambivalent Identification:

“I get along great with other Italian men, but I make it clear…don’t try to fix me up with your sister. Italian women are too volatile and controlling.”

“I have a lot of Black male friends. I have no problem with other women, but a black woman is going to control your life like she’s on a holy mission to change you.”

It’s vital for International Couples to think about how they learned what is an “attractive other” is…and when did it first show up in their lives?

What are the notions of beauty and goodness that we resonate with, and why?

Which cultural norms have we embraced? What are you ambivalent about? Or maybe even running away from?

Benefits of a Couples Therapy Intensive Retreat

An International Couples Therapy Intensive Retreat will help you and your partner safely explore these intimate questions of identity and preference.

What role did your desire to individuate from your family have in your International marriage? For example, a culturally sensitive couples therapist would be familiar with the work of rabbi-therapist Edwin Friedman.

Rabbi Friedman’s research revealed the systematic pattern of “marrying out.” When Jewish-gentile couples enter couples therapy, Rabbi Friedman discovered a basic pattern.

Almost all of the intermarried Jewish members of the couple were burdened with oppressive cultural expectations of being the “first-born,” or were the most triangulated of all their siblings in their parent’s marriage….essentially a very reluctant and burdened go-between.

As family therapist Murray Bowen has told us, sometimes we pursue cut-offs to escape from our parents. Once we choose a life partner who is highly problematic in either race or religion to our parents, we can now more readily distance ourselves from complicated and resent-laden family interactions with them.

The BIG BIG Book is designed to help our International Couple therapists unpack all of these motives, the good, the unconscious, as well as the romantic.


Crohn, Joel (1995) Mixed Matches, how to create successful inter-racial inter-ethnic and inter-faith relationships. Fawcett Columbine: New York.