Couples Therapy Toolkit

Presenter: Dr Ari Badaines

In this course, participants will learn the core skills of working with couples using a Systemic approach as the 'scaffolding' which includes Circular Questioning combined with Sue Johnson's Emotionally Focused Therapy.  Enhancing this powerful combination will be additional knowledge and applicable skills utilizing methods and techniques from Solution Focused Brief Therapy and the Action Methods of Psychodrama and Gestalt Therapy.
Working with couples can be very challenging and asks a great deal of the therapist in comparison to working with individuals. This course is designed to give therapists confidence and competence when working with couples. During this course participants will be introduced to ‘Systemic’ thinking which is central to effective couple work. We will then look at how the use of Circular Questioning expands the couple's perceptions of their problem from blame cause and effect to a systemic conception. Building on this, Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (the core subject of the course) is presented so that participants have a readily applicable roadmap and skills to take couples on a very different journey of their understanding of their problems and solutions.  Additionally, adaptations of Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) to couple work are included in this course with practical applications of ‘Best Hopes’, ‘Miracle Question’ ‘Scaling’ and ‘Exceptions’. The final portion is devoted to the use of Action Methods (Psychodrama and Gestalt Therapy) applied to working with couples.

All of these skills will be practised as participants learn to engage with more than one person, keep the session progressing towards shifting the couple relation from the dysfunctional to a highly secure and satisfying engagement,  and manage many of the difficult and complex issues that may arise in couple work. Training methods will include Ari introducing each technique, demonstrating them in simulations, and trainees practising them followed by questions and discussion. (should only be single space between this and above sentence!)

Session 1: Systemic Thinking and Circular Questioning (3 hours)
What is a system and how does it apply to couples?  Helping couples shift from 'blame of other/blame of self' to a broader systemic perspective through the use of Circular Questioning (CQ).  Not only will the various kinds of CQs be taught, but the application of the best questions to ask specific to the issue at hand.

Session 2: Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy I (3 hours)
The central focus here is on Emotionally Focused CoupleTherapy which is the core of this course. Participants will learn to adapt this method to significantly enhance their effectiveness with couples - research has shown it to be one of the most powerful couple therapies with an 80% success rate. It incorporates systemic thinking and Carl Rogers' empathic approach into an attachment framework - your work ultimately is to increase attachment safety. You will learn how EFT views couple conflicts in an attachment framework, and the three stages of EFT. We will also tap into the specific techniques to facilitate emotional exploration.

Session 3: Session three: Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy II (3 hours)
This session continues the exposure to the techniques used in EFT to heighten emotions to break the negative cycles that couples get locked into. You will also learn the three major negative cycles and their accompanying destructive behavioral responses that maintain the cycles.

Session 4: Dealing with Betrayals and Wounded Couples (3 hours)
In this section the focus is on betrayal of the partner's trust, usually, but not always in the context of an affair.  We review Caryl Rusbult's "Comparison Level for Alternatives' as a way of understanding how betrayals occur and then learn John Gottman's method for healing 'wounded couples' which is very specific and research based. And consistent with the overall theoretical foundation of this course, betrayals and their healing are framed in the context of a systemic model and attachment theory.

Session 5: Additional Techniques to Enhance Couple Therapy: Methods from Solution Focused Brief Therapy, and Action Techniques; Chairwork and Future Projection. (3 hours)
Aspects of Solution Focused Brief Therapy with its use of the 'Best Hopes', 'Miracle Question', and Scaling will be introduced as techniques to apply when first meeting with couples as well as when you/they are stuck!  Action techniques such as Chairwork and Future Projection can all be used to bring new perspectives and energy to a weakened relationship. Participants will become familiar with these methods and learn to apply them to your work with couples.

The final portion of Session Four will be used for questions/concerns regarding applications to your couple work.

CPD Hours: This event counts as 15 hours of category A CPD for PACFA’s membership renewal requirements.

PACFA MEMBER DISCOUNT * PACFA members can avail a discount of 20% off the registration fees for all live events and digital seminars on our website by applying the code ‘PDP20PACFA’ at the checkout.

For full details regarding the event and registration please go to the website.