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Digital Seminar

The Last-Chance Couple: Saving Relationships on the Eve of Destruction

Peter Fraenkel, PhD
2 Hours 36 Minutes
Mar 25, 2018
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Media Type:
Digital Seminar
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Unhappy couples often present in ways that offer little promise their relationship can be saved, leaving the partners feeling helpless and the therapist feeling stumped. But hope can spring anew when we have a toolbox of techniques to help these couples interact in different ways, turning even the most toxic marriage, full of disdainful feelings, into one of positive growth.

Watch Peter Fraenkel use recorded demonstrations that focus on four types of last-chance couples, and show how to engage them in transforming their relationship.


- PESI Australia, in collaboration with PESI in the USA, offers quality online continuing professional development events from the leaders in the field at a standard recognized by professional associations including psychology, social work, occupational therapy, alcohol and drug professionals, counselling and psychotherapy. On completion of the training, a Professional Development Certificate is issued after the individual has answered and submitted a quiz and course evaluation. This online program is worth 2.5 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



Peter Fraenkel, PhD's Profile

Peter Fraenkel, PhD Related seminars and products

Peter Fraenkel, PhD, is a psychologist, associate professor of psychology at the City College of New York, and former director of the Center for Work and Family at the Ackerman Institute. He received the 2012 American Family Therapy Award for Innovative Contribution to Family Therapy.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. Peter Fraenkel maintains private practice and has an employment relationship with the City College of New York. He receives a grant for Fresh Start for Families from HELP USA and receives royalties as a published author. Dr. Fraenkel receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from Psychotherapy Networker and PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Peter Fraenkel serves as the co-chair of the International Relationship and Family Studies Program and is the co-coordinator of the Masters in Mental Health Counseling CACREP Accreditation. Dr. Fraenkel is a member of the American Psychological Association, the American Family Therapy Academy, the National Council on Family Relations, the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, and the Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy.


Four Types of Last Chance Couples
  • High conflict couples
  • Couples where there has been a value or safety violation
    • Domestic violence
    • Infidelity
    • Gambling
    • Abuse of substances
  • Couples where partners have mismatched personal time lines/life goals
    • Explicit Time Problems
    • Implicit Time Problems
  • Couples with little to know passionate connection
    • Burned out and conflict avoidant couples
How to Engage the Partner Who is Ambivalent about Staying in the Marriage
  • Inviting and validating the partner’s ambivalent feelings
  • Creating Comfort and Safety with the Committed Partner
  • Self-Disclosing
Techniques that Restore Hope and a Possible Better Future
  • Teaching communication and problem-solving skills that restore hope
  • Introducing reframes of problem patterns that restore a sense of the positive qualities of the relationship
  • Gratitude Writing
Ideas that Encourage Couples to Try New Patterns of Interacting
Communication Techniques
  • Brief introduction to research-supported communication and problem-solving techniques
  • Techniques for Restoring Pleasure and Passion
  • The Sixty Second Pleasure Point activity
  • The Silent Shared New Experience activity


  1. Articulate clinical strategies to create open communication and safety between couples as it relates to treatment outcomes.
  2. Evaluate implicit time problems versus explicit time problems between a couple to inform the clinician’s choice of treatment interventions.
  3. Analyze the efficacy of introducing reframes of problem patterns for purposes of restoring positivity within the couple’s relationship.

Target Audience

Psychologists, Addiction Counselors, Counselors, Social Workers, Marriage & Family Therapists, Nurses, and other Behavioral Health Professionals

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