Becoming a More Effective Relationship Counselor: Class-by-Class Description

Class-by-class description for the “Special Topics in Couples Therapy” course will be available soon.

Course: Becoming a More Effective Relationship Counselor

  • Classes: 15 two-hour classes; Tuesdays 12:30 – 2:30 pm; Sep. 6 – Dec. 13, 2016
  • CEs: 30 Continuing Education hours for LMFTs, psychologists, LMHCs, and LICSWs
  • Cost: $750

2016 Class-by-Class Description [some content may change]

  1. SEP 6 / Introduction to relationship counseling: Goals of relationship counseling, goals of this course, and class introductions
  2. SEP 13 / Relationship counseling vs. individual counseling: Ways that couples therapy is harder and easier than individual therapy, and how to start thinking like a relationship counselor
  3. SEP 20 / Your therapeutic approach: How to customize your approach as a relationship counselor, including important decisions such as how often to meet, whether to ever see clients individually, and what to do when a client shares information they want kept private
  4. SEP 27 / Getting better at relationship counseling: Why most therapists don’t improve with experience, and how you can be an exception by understanding the spiral of principles, procedures, and presence, and through the use of session-by-session feedback
  5. OCT 4 / Structuring a session: How to organize a relationship counseling session, including a blueprint you can use for a first session and a blueprint you can use for follow-up sessions
  6. OCT 11 / Keeping sessions calm: How to manage multiple clients at the same time, including how to slow things down, interrupt negative interactions, “catch bullets,” and ask the right kind of questions
  7. OCT 18 / Client goals: What makes a good therapy goal, how to help your clients articulate their goals, how to deal with incompatible goals, and what to do when progress stalls
  8. OCT 25 / Relationship theory: A quick tour of relationship research, including why relationships are a matter of life and death (attachment theory) and red flags for a relationship (John Gottman’s research)
  9. NOV 1 / Improving communication, part 1: Practical techniques to help your clients communicate better, including “I” statements, language softening, pure positivity, and changing from complaint to request
  10. NOV 8 / Improving communication, part 2: More communication techniques, including process vs. product conversations, structured feedback, and reflection and validation exercises
  11. NOV 15 / Increasing connection, part 1: Practical techniques to help your clients warm up their relationship, including positive witnessing, creating a shared vision, expressing appreciation, and speaking a partner’s love language
  12. NOV 22 / Increasing connection, part 2: More connection techniques, including caring gestures, love-map conversations, bids for connection, and repair
  13. NOV 29 / Homework: What makes a good homework assignment, when to suggest homework for clients, what to do when clients don’t follow through, and a range of sample homework assignments
  14. DEC 6 / Getting unstuck: How to deal with common ways that relationships get stuck, including differing needs, differing realities, blaming, invalidation, pre-compromising, and perpetual problems
  15. DEC 13 / Analysis of an actual session, plus certificates: Step-by-step analysis of a relationship counseling session from the teacher’s private practice, followed by getting your course certificate
  16. DEC 20 / Potluck party / Snow make-up date