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Online Course

COUPLES THERAPY TOOLKIT: Perspectives, skills and effective techniques for enhancing couple therapy. (Recorded)

Ari Badaines, PhD Clinical Psychologist, MAPS Psychotherapy
15 Hours
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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 | Digital recording will be available on 20th May'2021)

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 | Digital recording will be available on 20th May'2021)

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 | Digital recording will be available on 30th May'2021)

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 | Digital recording will be available on 30th May'2021)

In this section the focus is on betrayal of the partner's trust, usually, but not always in the context of an affair.  You will 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 | Live Webcast)

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.



Ari Badaines, PhD Clinical Psychologist, MAPS Psychotherapy's Profile

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Ari Badaines, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist who trained in the United States. In 1980 he obtained a post-doctoral fellowship with the National Institute of Mental Health in Washington, DC where he studied Group Therapy, Family and Couple Therapy. Later, he undertook further training at the Institute for Family Therapy in London.  Ari has been a consultant to numerous organisations including Relate in the UK, Richmond Fellowship and Youth-in-Search in Australia. He has taught at various universities in the USA, UK, and Australia. He was twice a keynote speaker for the annual conference of Marriage Guidance Counsellors (now Relationships) in the UK.  In 2015, Ari led a two-day workshop for the Psychological Society of Ireland on ‘Action Techniques with Individuals and Couples’ which was so positively received that he has been invited back each year since to present on couples and family therapy. He is renowned as an engaging and popular presenter for PDP and for several European organisations. He has been in private practice for over 45 years, and has led workshops in over twenty countries on group therapy, couple and family therapy, and a variety of trainings on individual therapy including Gestalt therapy, Psychodrama, Solution-focused brief therapy, and Action-Methods.

Registration Details

Online Course registration
Fees: $528: 
Price includes total of 5 modules of 3 hours each with life time access to the recording  
Early bird: Save 20% when you register by Friday 19th April 2021

  • Your attendance certificate for 15 hours of live, interactive training can be retrieved on completion of the evaluation and quiz via your account. 
  • A soft copy of all resources will remain in your account indefinitely.
  • A recording of this event will be available in your account within 7-10 days from the recording and will be there indefinitely.  You will receive an email notification when the recording becomes available for viewing. 
  • If for any reason, you are unable to join the live webcast on the day, you will be able to watch the recording, complete your evaluation and quiz and retrieve  your certificate at a later date.
  • Reminders for all events are sent two weeks, one week, one day and one hour prior.


1. Learn about the systemic model in working with couples and how to apply this perspective.

2. Become familiar with Circular Questioning applied to couple therapy.

3. Explore Emotionally Focused Therapy perspectives, become familiar with its techniques and how to use the skills.

4. Learn when and how to tap into techniques from Solution Focused Brief Therapy as a practical intervention

5. Learn skills and application of Action Methods to enhance the power and effectiveness of these as therapeutic interventions.

Benefits of this training

  • Take away a broad range of new skills and methods (or extend and refine existing to enhance your work with couples.
  • Exchange your anxieties and hesitations in providing couple therapy for a more confident, competent perspective, and feel the excitement of working with couples.
  • Trust your capacity to effectively apply a broadened set of interventions to shift couples from dysfunctional to functional relationships.
  • Know how to work in a balanced and inclusively manner with a couple and keep the session progressing whilst managing stuck points.
  • Enjoy learning new practical skills to increase your clinical confidence and efficacy.

Target Audience

This course has been designed to extend the clinical knowledge and applied skill of Counsellors, Psychotherapists, Psychologists, Social Workers, Mental Health Nurses and Psychiatrists who work with couples.

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