Amy Blake is a graduate of Hedy’s three-year Master Class. Amy and her partner attended a two-day Intensive Session with Hedy and wrote this article describing her experience:

The Couples Intensive and a Model for Life
by Amy L. Blake, LCSW

The couples intensive embodies two days to focus on just you and your relationship. It is an invitation to be in heaven for some and well… decidedly not-heaven for others. Recently, I had the honor and pleasure of spending time in a couples intensive with my partner, being expertly guided by our teacher and mentor, Hedy Schleifer, MA.

Here is a peek into what taking the journey of being present with the one you love can create.   In the couples intensive, you have the opportunity to explore each other’s world. Our worlds are filled with many neighborhoods. In fact, we create new neighborhoods all the time so anytime you visit your partner and are in the present moment, you will experience a new neighborhood, a place neither of you has ever been before. This is a place of expansion and aliveness. Some of our neighborhoods are wonderful places to explore and others are places we should never go to alone.

The first visit of the intensive experience is to a Precious Neighborhood, which is a place where you feel deeply good, centered, competent, a wonderful sense of aliveness. I invited my partner into my world to explore one of my precious neighborhoods. and boom, I hit gridlock.

I feel deeply good out in nature…I feel most competent in my work… Which neighborhood to pick? I got caught in overthinking and needed to let the neighborhood pick me. As I sat in total connection and presence with my partner, an image of me on a paddle board began to emerge. Gridlock reappeared when I tried to bat the paddle board vison away because it did not seem to have anything to do with anything. In the spirit of allowing the presence of my partner to help me access the deepest wisdom and greatest feeling of aliveness within myself, I finally relaxed and went with the paddle board and here is what emerged. 

As I first learned to paddle board, not many years ago, I was shaky and wobbly. However, each time I stepped on the board I felt stronger and more balanced. After every spectacular plunge, I recalibrated and found a better balance. Eventually, I learned to relax and enjoy the scenery of the beautiful water and to anticipate the ripples and waves with a sense of adventure. I now paddle with a mission of getting from one place to the next and I can even take time to stop and purposely slip into the water to refresh and rejuvenate. I take time to lay on the board, relax and experience the feel of the water on my hands and feet as I dangled them overboard while appreciating the clouds floating across the sky.

My precious neighborhood evolved nicely as each street highlighted important aspects of my paddle board experience. It then occurred to me that in the eyes of my partner and in a state of deep resonance I was describing a model for living life to its fullest. This is where I landed:

Paddle Boarding as a Model for Living Life to its Fullest

  1. Enjoy the plunge and have the passion and resilience to get back up again, and again and again.
  2. Welcome life’s ripples with a sense of adventure.
  3. Learn to Glide with ease, strength and balance.
  4. Jump in, splash and play often.
  5. Take time to relax and enjoy the water below, the sky above and to appreciate your brilliant and balanced presence in-between.

As a guide and therapist for other people’s lives and relationships It is important that I walk my talk and personally experience what I am asking of the people I help. It was clear that experiencing an intensive would be lovely and connecting for my relationship and it would help me and my partner gain clarity about our priorities and direction. My hope was that it would also help me learn to be a better guide for the couple’s intensives I provide.  Our intensive did all those things but as often the case there was so much more.

It was an immense surprise to connect with and articulate such a coherent model for living. I am intrigued by the potential for living this model fully and feeling more integrated and whole in my life and my relationship. I look forward to bringing this sense of balance, strength and ease into my work helping people transform their lives and relationships. I invite you to experience an intensive couples journey of your own and discover where your connection with your beloved will take you. It truly is a journey worth taking.


You can find more information on Hedy's two-day intensive sessions on the Private Intensive page.