INto the Belly of the Whale

The couples that we have had the opportunity to work with over the past 40 years have taught us a great deal about the process of reducing the level of reactivity we experience in our significant relationships. When our reactions to a loved one’s behavior appears to be irrational to us – as if we are over reacting – our assessment is only partly accurate. We need to take a closer look at where our reaction is coming from. 

Our upcoming retreat, entitled INto the Belly of the Whale, is the first in a retreat series entitled Moments of Awakening and is designed to heighten your conscious awareness of the physical memories of traumatic experiences in your life.  Those physical memories of the past are the main source of fuel for your “over reactions” to perceived threats you are experiencing in the present moment while interacting with your partner.  

It may appear that this life preserving desire to flee from or fight our partner is automatic and unstoppable— it is not!

The physical memories that may have once told you that you were in danger and needed to flee from, or fight with, your partner can become the markers that guide your way into the kind of freedom that Jonah finally found in the “belly of the whale.”  

In the belly of the whale you can gain the insight, inspiration and motivation to address the concerns that you have. Our INto the Belly of the Whale retreat borrows its name from the story of Jonah and the Whale.  The story suggests that Jonah ran from the task he was asked to do and in his flight was swallowed by a whale.  It was while he was in the belly of the whale that he had an 11th Step experience and found the inspiration, courage and power to face his fears.  He became willing to be of service.  We are suggesting that when you respond to your partner’s challenges or those you are experiencing in the romance by praying for the knowledge of your higher power’s will for you and the power to carry that out, you will avoid doing time in the belly of the whale.

To learn more about this retreat’s particulars follow the links below:

  1. Retreat Format
  2. Retreat Participants
  3. Fees/Conditions
  4. Insurance
  5. Agenda
  6. Calendar Info
  7. Registration

Retreat Format

Our therapeutic retreat format combines education, specific assignments for couples to complete, times for shared processing and mutual support.

All therapeutic work is completely voluntary and safe but the emotional atmosphere may be uncomfortable at times regardless of how much you chose to share because the themes being addressed will call for introspection and transparency.

Retreat Participants

You can expect that the couples you will be working with will come from all walks of life, religious beliefs, sexual orientation and be in recovery from a variety of addictive disorders.  They will share your desire for a strong emotional and spiritual bond that helps both to practice the principles of recovery in all their affairs as well as the following characteristics:

  • Both partners in the relationship will be engaged in a 12 Step program and be practicing an “abstinence” which supports their recovery needs
  • Both partners need to have a demonstrated pattern of commitment to a monogamous relationship with each other
  • Both partners are committed to being IN
  • Both partners will have a minimum of 30 days of continued abstinence from their addictive disorder

If you have any questions about the traits of the couples that might be attending, please feel free to contact us for a more in-depth review of what we will be expecting from future participants.


The cost of the retreat for the couple is $400. There will be a $25 discount for all registrations paid in full by 2/28/14.  Registration will be received on a first come first serve basis.  All inquiries will be given a tentative slot but cannot be added to the final registration list until the registration fee has been paid in full.

All registrations must be paid within one week of the retreat date – by March 24, 2014.

Over the years we have struggled with last minute cancellations that are both economically frustrating and have created obstacles to couples that wanted to attend but could not make the arrangements to fill last minute openings.  

We require a full deposit from the relationship for $400 to be received at our offices at least 7 days before the retreat date.  We will not deposit the checks until the day after the retreat.  If you need to cancel and we can fill your slot before noon on the Friday before the retreat, your deposit will be refunded to you.  If we have not been able to fill the slot, you will not receive a refund unless you cancelled for a medical emergency.   If you cancelled for a medical emergency, your deposit can be credited toward a future retreat or any of our therapy services.

Each retreat will require a minimum of eight fully registered couples to proceed as planned.  If we do not reach the required minimum by the noon on the Friday before the retreat, your entire deposit will be refunded and the retreat will be canceled.


If you desire a receipt to submit for your insurance reimbursement, let us know by email or phone.  

In order to get a receipt to use for insurance you must be a client of LCCS.

A receipt will be issued for Group Psychotherapy in the amount of $200 per partner, if both are insured.

If both members of the partnership will be requesting an insurance receipt, both members will need to be clients of ours.  If your partner is not an existing client, a history will need to be completed and reviewed with a staff member in order to develop a treatment plan.  The history review and goal setting for the treatment plan is expected to take 2 hours and will be charged at the rate of the therapist conducting the assessment.  Please contact the office for an appointment for the review and treatment planning conference if you are not an existing client and want to submit a receipt for your insurance reimbursement.  If only one member of the partnership is a client then your receipt will be for $200.  Please know that a submission of your receipt to your insurance carrier is not a guarantee of payment by your insurance company.   If you have questions about your coverage, please contact your insurance company.


The retreat begins promptly at 9:00 a.m., however, everyone is invited to arrive at 8:30 a.m. to enjoy socialization and coffee and bagels. All participants will have kosher choices provided for the food served at the retreat.  Lunch is typically between 11:30 – 12:00 noon. The retreat ends at 5:00 p.m.

Calendar Info

The March 30, 2014 INto the Belly of the Whale therapeutic retreat will accommodate 9 couples.   Please don’t delay in responding if you are interested.

Date:  Sunday March 30, 2014

Time:  8:30am – 5:00pm

Location:  Leadem Offices, 152 Tices Lane, East Brunswick, NJ 08816


The cost of the retreat for the couple is $400. There will be a $25 discount for all registrations paid in full by 2/28/14.  Registration will be received on a first come first serve basis.  All inquiries will be given a tentative slot but cannot be added to the final registration list until the registration fee has been paid in full.

There are a few different ways to register and pay for this event. Please review the below options carefully and select the option that works easiest for you.  As always if you have any questions please feel free to contact us by calling 732-797-1444.

  1. You can Contact our office 732-797-1444 at your earliest convenience to alert us to your interest and put a check in the mail for the full amount of $400 (or $375 if you pay prior to 2/28/14) payable to:  Leadem Counseling & Consulting Services, 668 Commons Way, Toms River, NJ 08755.
  2. If you are a current client you can notify your clinician of your intent to attend and pay at time of session by check or cash a total of $400 (or $375 if you pay prior to 2/28/14).
  3. You can also use a major credit card or utilize your PayPal account to process your payment directly from our site; an additional credit card fee will be charged to for using PayPal. Follow the link below and make the following selections from the three radial buttons under payment option #1:
    • First select Retreat Series
    • Then select Moments of Awakening: INto the Belly of the Whale
    • Lastly, select John & Elaine Leadem
    • The fee for retreat will populate below and simply select make payment online


All registrations must be paid within one week of the retreat date – by March 24, 2014.

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