If DOWNTOWN CHURCH is sponsoring programming for couples, it's bound to be innovative, different, and forward-thinking. In February, we're doing just that by sponsoring a 2-day couples workshop in downtown Columbia.

Top three reasons why you and your honey, boo, significant other, partner, hubby, wife or beloved should give this workshop a go:

  1. We all need love to thrive. But if we're honest: most of us don't really understand how love works. This workshop offers you a roadmap for your relationship.
  2. Ever feel like you are on the conflict hamster wheel? In this session, you'll work with your partner to identify and stop painful patterns, building trust and security.
  3. This is not just a weekend rodeo. The conversations you have during the workshop will prepare you to move into a lifetime of deepening and rejuvenating your love relationship.

The options are typically limited when it comes to marriage or relationship workshops. It's even more limited in the context of religious communities primarily because churches have traditionally prescribed to a model for couples that emphasizes one partner's subjection relative to the other. 

That's not what we wanted. So we partnered with Danielle, our Counselor-in-Residence, to find a workshop that is different. It's based on a model called Emotionally Focused Therapy that gives you the opportunity to connect with your partner, become more aware of the patters of disconnection in your relationship, and prepare you to continue building upon this awareness and connection for years to come.

Here's what you won't get: 10 Secrets to Staying Together, 5 Simple Steps to a Better Relationship, or 3 Ways to Spice Up Your Sex Life.

If you'd like to hear more about the workshop, consider listening to Lindsay-Blair Simmons talk about attending the workshop with her husband, Jason.

Danielle Allen, Ed.S, LMFT, LPC, LPCS

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist , Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor in the State of South Carolina. I hold the position of Counselor in Residence at DOWNTOWN CHURCH. A counselor since 2007, I worked previously at Richland School District Two as a Family Intervention Specialist and at Epworth Children’s Home. I bring over eight years of experience working with families, couples, divorced adults who wish to effectively co-parent, children and adolescents, individuals and groups. My counseling is relationship-based; I believe the power to heal lies with the relationship.

Whether working with a couple, family or individual, I treat from a relationship perspective that is based in systems concepts, meaning I always consider the systems a client lives in (family, work, culture, etc.). System theory considers how each part of a system interacts, communicates, and reacts with the other parts.  It considers values, patterns, themes and cultures of that system.

David Bate, MD, SEP

I have been a Family Physician for more than thirty years. I have always sought the underlying causes of illness; this quest has taken me through study of alternative healing systems, with extensive study in Polarity Therapy, Somatic Experiencing, and Castellino Training in Resolving Prenatal and Birth Trauma. What resources best support the life force in a person, that impulse toward healing, joy, and greater understanding, that continually courses through each of us? 

I believe that healing—always becoming more fully alive, more loving, more authentically ourselves—is available to everyone, and that rather than being some therapy imposed from without, healing is the natural flow of the life force already within us.  My intention in my work and my life is to help each person find his or her own unique path to greater health.

Emotionally Focused Therapy  (EFT) is a brilliant program for healing relationships. When partners can reach for and respond to each other with loving connection, tremendous healing of body, mind and spirit occurs for both. EFT, and the Hold Me Tight workshop, are powerful tools for allowing each person's resilience to grow. Secure connection with another treasured person makes for a safe and secure foundation for living. It helps nervous systems settle, improves rest, and opens each person for fuller life. I am convinced that the most promising setting for healing is connection with another human.

Elli Schmeltekopf, MS, LPC, SEP

I have been a licensed therapist in private practice since 2005.  I studied Somatic Experiencing (SE), a body based approach to healing trauma for seven years, both assisting and coordinating trainings.  This was followed by an extensive training in attachment repair for adults following the SE model.  I have completed Ray Castellino’s revolutionary three-year training working with pre- and perinatal influences. In studying Dr. Sue Johnson’s Emotionally Focused Therapy model I found it a great addition to my other trainings.  Dr. Johnson’s work brought into focus the necessity of having a felt sense of safety in one’s primary relationship as a foundation for healing trauma.  Healing occurs in connection.

Above all, I strive to operate from a place of personal integrity, compassion and acceptance, together with a willingness to fight for the depth of healing that we are capable of.  My deeply held belief that healing can and should occur, and that the wisdom for how that can happen is available to each of us, grounds, informs, and guides each session. 

The workshop will be offered on Saturday, February 25 and Sunday, February 26 at 2221 Devine Street (Psychology Services Center). The total cost of the 2-day workshop is $645 per couple.

If you'd like to save your spot, you can register by paying your $250 deposit per couple below. The remaining $395 will be due on the first day of the workshop.

How many people will be there?

Group size is limited to 14 couples. Presentation and videos occur in group format but couples work on exercises with more privacy. Group sharing is limited and completely optional.  

What if we sign up but then need to cancel for some reason?

If a cancellation request is received, a refund will be given (less a $100 administrative fee) up to 21 days prior to the workshop. If a cancellation is requested between 21 and 14 days prior to the workshop, 50% of the fee will be refunded. No refund will be given for cancellations less than 14 days prior to the workshop or for "no shows".

What if I have specific questions?

If you have questions, you can email Danielle Allen.