Couples’ Communication

For Dr. Farrell’s next couples’ communication retreats, see Where Warren Will Be.

Three videos to give you a feel for the retreat-in-action and its innovations:

Couples’ Communication

I conduct couples’ communication workshops around the country. Alternatively, a couple may arrange to spend a weekend with me at my home in Mill Valley, CA. The process I’ve developed is best described in the first 87 pages of my book “Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say”. This process is called “The Communication-Without-Defensiveness Method,” and is designed to help couples respond non-defensively to personal criticism, even when it’s poorly given.

– Dr. Warren Farrell

The unedited comments below came from couples and individuals I worked with from 2008 to the present.

“From beginning to end, I felt Warren created a safe and nurturing sanctuary to learn new skills that could deeply improve our relationship. It was one of the BEST workshops we’ve ever attended in 35 years.”

– J. Peters

“I met you as a man who loved Kim, but with a vision of myself as single and certainly not a dad. Your work–and especially your couples’ communication skills workshops–helped inspire Kim and me to marry (Kim helped too!). We now have two wonderful children who, were it not for you, would not be gracing this planet. Kim and I have just happily celebrated another Valentines Day as husband and wife. We thank you.”

– Eric Hornak & Kim Thompson

“Thank you for the incredibly insightful Couples’ Communication Workshop. The communication techniques you taught gave us the tools necessary to help break our destructive defensive patterns, and to learn how to work on the sustainability of our love for each other. The workshops’ Esalen location brought much peace and calm to us, setting the stage for inspired receptiveness of your teachings. We will forever be a work in progress, but we are now much better equipped for our relational journey ahead, thank you!
As I mentioned at the workshop, your book Father and Child Reunion helped me understand the importance of staying connected to my son Brendan during and after divorce, for a much better chance of him developing into the healthy young man he is today. I refused to allow my fatherhood to be usurped of my involvement. For that Warren you have my eternal gratitude and one more adjusted child on the planet!!!!”

– Andrea Furlong and Brian Foti 

“The workshop Dr. Farrell delivered was done with perfection! I know that is a strong word but how else would you describe taking away everything we needed in one short weekend! Thank you for boldly going where no-one else has before! As newlyweds we can now confidently use the tools we learned to nurture our marriage for the rest of our lives.”

– Shannon Saathoff

“I use your Cinematic Immersion process prior to each of our weekly meetings. …my marriage and the love I feel for Ron is so much deeper and stronger! The thing that I keep reflecting on is that Ron is willing to die for me. Knowing that makes it so easy to be willing to listen and hear Ron’s criticism.I also use your cinematic immersion for when I’m interacting with others. I am an assistant principal and many times I listen to angry parents and staff members. I now feel that I can listen less defensively. Yeah!

Last, I wanted to let you know that I requested to be reassigned to the classroom after two years as a school site administrator. After attending your workshop and feeling a deeper love for Ron and appreciation for him and my family, I want to be home more and just be more present and available to them. Our kids are in junior high and I don’t want to miss more time with them than I already have.I feel so happy, relieved and free! Thank you so much for your workshop! You helped me learn strategies to help me have a better relationship which saved my marriage and changed me as a person for the better.

I have recommended your workshop to others and I sincerely hope they attend. I wish Ron and I had attended your workshop 15 years ago!”

– Therese Brady

“Although we have been married for over 18 years, we were communicating in a random fashion, where sometimes it worked well, and sometimes it didn’t. Using the Cinematic Immersion Technique, we were able to move beyond our habitual patterns of discussing issues superficially or revisiting them without feeling respected to feeling loved, attentively listened to, and fully supported. Thank you for providing such valuable insights and empowering us with a systematic approach to guide our interactions so that we can realize our dreams and continue to progress and grow in a loving relationship.

– Rebecca Linquist

“The weekend my wife and I spent at Dr. Farrell’s home is priceless! I learned more about being a “man” in two days, than I have in my entire adult life. My big “take-aways” from this weekend are the “cinematic immersion technique” and “listening with loving eyes”… Wow, I am still working on perfecting these everyday, and what joy it is to see actual long-lasting positive change in my marriage.

Dr. Farrell is one of a kind! He is absolutely genuine and during our weekend together, made us feel like we were the only two people on Earth. It is still hard to believe he took two days of his schedule and devoted it to my wife’s and my relationship. Dr. Farrell not only saved my marriage, but in many more ways has saved my life.”

– Tony Fournier, Lt. Colonel, US Air Force

“My husband and I met with Dr. Farrell for a weekend at his home. While I was excited, I was also apprehensive. After all, we’d been in counseling for five years and participated in several “self awareness” seminars. It was amazing – the techniques Dr. Farrell teaches allows you to communicate openly, honestly, and without hesitation and to listen lovingly and without judgement. When you come from a place of love rather than judgement, the possibilities for your relationship are endless.

Our marriage is intact and significantly more fulfilling today because of the time we spent with Dr. Farrell. I thank him, my husband thanks him and my children than him – his help and expertise allowed us to become a happy, healthy and engaged family.”

– Janene Fournier

“I wanted to thank you for helping my son, husband and I learn how to use your communication techniques. It was an amazingly satisfying and useful experience – one that has had a profound effect on our relationships to one another. My husband and I were somewhat familiar with the technique having attended one of your seminars. We found it very useful for our marriage we wanted to extend it to help communication with our teenaged son.

Before the session, I appreciated your instruction on how introduce the idea to my son so that he agreed to participate, despite initial reservations and resistance. Not many teenagers want to spend any portion of their weekend learning how to communicate with their parents! By framing it properly I was able to appeal to his own desire to have better relationships with us, (his parents,) and with his all important peers.

When we had the session, I was amazed at how succinctly you were able to explain to our son how to utilize the technique and what he would get out of it. I was further amazed at how you were able to orchestrate a structured dialog with the three of us, letting our son take the lead, thus empowering him and inviting him to partake fully. I was amazed even further at how articulate my son actually is and how quickly he was able recall and convey a past event which he was upset about. And I was amazed again at how you were able guide my husband to respond, using the technique, in a way that deepened all three of our understandings of that particular event and the misunderstandings and miscommunications that occurred around it

At home, later that evening, when a small tension arose my son quickly implemented the technique – and successfully averted what, on any other night, would have devolved into a big family fight. We don’t have to use the technique that often — just knowing how to use it provides a safety net — we know that when things go badly we can rely upon this structured communication to slow down the interactions and to allow each of us to be heard, and to hear fully. Knowing you have the skill makes needing to use it less necessary.

Our family life the last couple of weeks since the session have been greatly improved. We are all less angry, less frustrated and far more productive in our work and school life. I think we will enjoy having sessions occasionally to “tune up” our communications, when needed.

I know much of your work has centered around couple’s communication. I wanted to encourage you to extend the practice to families, as much as possible. Especially blended families, and those with teenagers!

Thank you again, this was the best single thing we have done to improve our relationships. More effective than the family therapy we have done, and certainly complimentary to that process.”

– A.G., therapist

“Thank you for your gifts, wisdom and essence, making Esalen a “once in a lifetime” for me. Not only are you a gift to mankind, but womankind too.”

– Cathy Coleman

“I am a corporate coach at a large company. After I took the Couples Communication Workshop led by Warren Farrell, I was coaching two very intelligent managers who were having a major disconnect on an important project. The result could have been very harmful to the project and the career of at least one of the managers. I taught them to use Dr. Farrell’s Cinematic Immersion process. Their relationship was so turned around that the manager said he was amazed at how something so relatively simple and that did not require a “personality change” could have had such a positive effect on their relationship and the progress of the project. He laughed, “It was almost like I was cheating!”

– David Jeffers

“After my wife Chantal and I took your Couples’ Communication Seminar, as you know we got such extraordinary value from it that we took it a second time. Your workshop was the only thing that worked for us when nothing else had.

Your Cinematic Immersion technique and how you applied it got everyone to get beyond the often repetitious and superficial ways that most of us communicate, and not only put ourselves in the position of the person with whom we are communicating, but to feel the certainty of knowing that they have truly heard us. I’ve found your revolutionary approach to communication not only of amazing value to romantic couples, but also in my communication with friends and workplace colleagues. On the global stage, if everyone could study and master your techniques of communication, we could end all war within our lifetimes. These are among your greatest gifts to the world, perhaps your greatest. I only wish they were better known and more widely practiced.”

– Alan B., MD

“Before we got married, my husband and I had been single for most of our adult lives. While we both wanted to get married, the transition from a life of total independence to one of partnership was not an easy one for us. There were instances that we questioned our decision to move forward, and wondered at times, if we were a match. There were times that our attempts to work out our differences ended in heated arguments and a sense of hopelessness. We turned to Warren to help us work through our fears and challenges before our wedding.
The process that Warren teaches, helps you to put yourself in your partner’s shoes to better understand their story and not take things so personally. The techniques are not complicated but they certainly go against every impulse we have as human beings to “prove our point” and to be right. The process teaches you about acceptance, love, and creating a safe space to communicate –– the work that it takes to obtain real intimacy. We aren’t perfect at the process, nor do we ever expect to be, but the more we use it, the closer it brings us.

Warren is a very gifted facilitator that has the unique gift to help us understand both the male/female perspective, and how to connect on deeper levels. Without a doubt, our marriage has benefited from our work with Warren, and our communication skills keep getting better. He is a rare find and a true gift to couples that really want to embrace intimacy.”

– C.S.

“My experience working with Warren has been life changing both personally and professionally. My boyfriend, Jeff and I were at the place where our relationship was either going to end or had to change but we did not know how to make it work or look different. With a single session Warren taught us skills that will for ever change our relationship and my life. Warren had such a way to make us feel safe enough to really be honest with each other and ourselves. I felt that because I was a professional life coach that I was a good listener but I soon discovered a whole new way to communicate, with my heart, and what a difference it made. Jeff and I are still together and enjoy a healthy relationship today. We find that when misunderstandings come up that what Warren taught us is still very useful and valuable and easy for us to use. Working with Warren was an amazing experience that I would recommend to any couple.”

– Sherri Hughes

“My girlfriend Sherri and I had hit a wall, you know – “that wall”. Warren offered to have a session with us and I went along with it even though I was skeptical. I wondered, “How much can be accomplished in a one-time, single hour session?” Well the session was three hours long and my world has changed forever. It was/is simple – but profound and is described in detail in the first 80 pages or so in his book, Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say. Warren guided us and it was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced..safety, love, emotional connection, really being heard – oh my God. Now I get what all the fuss is about and I had no idea. My world has been all about fear, mistrust, and logic and boy was I missing the point. The concept that relating comes from the experience of emotional connection has come to light for me. How poignant it is to understand this and to realize I’ve been out of the loop my entire life – ouch. The astounding thing is that this can (conceptually) be replicated with anyone anywhere. My life will be forever changed. I am grateful.”

– JS


The best way to help your children is to save your marriage, and the best way I know of to save your marriage is to use this method of communication. However, if your marriage can absolutely not be saved, continue reading.