Working with Couples – 6 day Programme – Updated for 2021
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Working with Couples – 6 day Programme – Updated for 2021

A 3 weekend course created specifically for trained and experienced therapists, seeking to add the theory and practice of relationship and couple counselling to their existing skill set.

Jesmond Therapy Centre has developed a course for relationship and couple counselling specially for trained and experienced therapists, seeking to add the skills and theory of couple work to their existing counselling skill set.   

Whilst not qualifying the participant to be an agency trained and placement completed Couple Therapist, this is a Couple Counselling course unique to the North East in that it combines affordable, cutting edge training in relationship counselling, from psychodynamic, systemic and mindfulness perspectives without the need for agency placement or strict modality adherence.  This approach provides participants with the skills and practice they require to counsel couples (under appropriate supervision).

Tutor: Graeme Armstrong
As primary tutor, Graeme Armstrong has been working as a therapist since 1998, in private practice and previously in Relate as both a couple counsellor and a supervisor.  He has trained to Post Graduate Diploma level in Couple Therapy with psychodynamic and systemic models as core approaches, and to Post Graduate Diploma Level in Systemic Therapy.  In 2012, he was awarded the Post Graduate Diploma with Distinction in Studies in Mindfulness, enabling him to create a distinct and cutting-edge approach to relationship therapy.   He has delivered over 20,000 hours of relationship counselling over this time.

This is a 6 module course, delivered over 3 weekends (6 days x 6 hours), one weekend per month between September 2021 – November 2021, providing 36 CPD hours.   Actual dates are:

Saturday 25th / Sunday 26th September 2021
Saturday 16th / Sunday 17th October 2021
Saturday 20th / Sunday 21st November 2021

The course is intended to cover:

  • Psychodynamic and systemic models as core models in working with relationships
  • Why we relate and what’s a relationship for?
  • Who is the client in couple work?
  • Exploration of ‘Couple Fit’ and the object relations theory of Henry Dicks
  • The work of Esther Perel
  • The work of Harville Hendrix and John Gottman in couple work
  • Working with genograms as a primary tool in assessment
  • Stages of relationships
  • Mindfulness and compassion as potent components that go to the heart of couple work
  • The use of mindfulness to sustain practitioner wellbeing and prevent burnout
  • Couples, sex and power: Dallos and Dallos’ domains of power in relationships
  • Risk and understanding the dynamics and approach to take with domestic violence in couple work
  • Intercultural couples: the challenges to come as a new culture emerges
  • Challenges to couple work: Digi sexuality, use of AI/IT
  • Relationships after lockdown: impact and implications
  • The construction of human sexuality: couple counselling with a sexual focus and how to (and why you should) talk to your clients about their sex life
  • Relationship breakdown: why does it hurt so much?  
  • Approaches to working with affairs and loss; affairs as relationship trauma
  • Half a couple: working with individuals in relationship
  • Contraindications in the work
  • Irreverence to modalities: the use of direct and gutsy conversations in couple work
  • Pulling it all together: the 7 C’s of Successful Couples ™© 

The course text is delivered via 6 Power Points; each PPT is text heavy to form a manual for each module so course participants can use the PPTs as therapeutic resources.   In addition, the tutor, in collaboration with Jesmond Therapy Centre, will provide a google drive link to a library of articles, books and academic papers to supplement and deepen therapeutic knowledge over time.

The course will make use of role play and participant case studies throughout, linking theory to practice, and will utilise a range of academic source text and papers exploring relationships from multiple perspectives.   

This has been a very popular course with some great feedback from previous delegates (see end of course modules)

Outline of Course Modules

Weekend 1

Module 1: The Well and The Web: underlying theory

  • psychodynamic and systemic models as the core models when working with relationships
  • Unconscious drives
  • The systemic approach to relationships
  • John Burnham’s Social GRRAACCESS
  • looking at relationships
  • Why relate?
  • Helen Fisher’s work on relationships
  • Working with a genogram as primary tool in relationship counselling
  • Case study(s)
  • Practice
  • Working with chalk and cheese: difference in couple relationships
  • Half a couple
  • Reflections on theory

Module 2: When The Music’s Over: exploration of couple fit

  • Henry Dicks Couple Fit model
  • After the honeymoon period: the necessary illusions model
  • Stages of relationships: the work of Bader and Pearson and others
  • Attachment styles
  • A short history of marriage
  • Who is your client?
  • Half a couple
  • Case study and practice

Weekend 2

Module 3:  Make Me a deal, and make it straight: patterns of relating

  • Relationship styles: the pursuer-distancer dynamic
  • Patterns of Relating
  • The Work of John Gottman: The Four Horseman and The Sound Relationship House
  • The Work of Harville Hendrix
  • Case Study and practice
  • Transference and projection: some reflections when working with relationships
  • Practice
  • Half a couple
  • Reflections on theory

Module 4: You do not have to be good: challenges, mindfulness and compassion

  • Intercultural couples: an emerging trend that bucks the models?
  • Do we need new ways of understanding couples to fit the digital age?
  • Relationships after lockdown: impact and implications for couple work
  • Mindfulness in relationship counselling
  • The mindful therapist
  • Settling the mind, grounding and resting in the simple feeling of being
  • The mindful therapist
  • Compassion and acceptance in relationships
  • The work of Kristen Neff, Paul Gilbert and Choden in self compassion
  • Why are we not more compassionate?
  • Compassionate relationships
  • Practice
  • Reflections on theory

Weekend 3

Module 5: When everything falls apart: challenges to the work and contexts that present

  • Couples and power: discourses and the Work of Dallos & Dallos
  • Contraindications in the work 1: situational couple violence and intimate terrorism
  • Contraindications in the work 2: other reasons to refer on
  • Practice
  • Half a couple
  • Reflections on theory

Module 6: Irreverence, sex and Oedipus wrecks

  • Talking about sex-why you must, and how you do
  • The PLISSIT approach
  • Affairs: as relational trauma and offering a treatment path
  • The 7 C’s of Successful Couples ™©: integration and tools for your tool box
  • The work of Cecchin: irreverence and ways of constructing conversations and being (nicely) direct
  • Practice
  • Reflections on theory

This workshop is facilitated by Graeme Armstrong and provides 36 hours of CPD.

Feedback from Previous Courses 

“particularly useful for a practitioner working from an integrated way with clients”
[I learnt] “how to effectively manage a very different therapeutic relationship”
100% said the course met their expectations
“flexible and deep content”
“I learnt a lot from the Systemic Approach”
Tutor incredibly well prepared and organised throughout. Great resources, visual material and books”
“a very useful foundation from which to read and develop”
[the teaching resources were] “excellent”
“I have the confidence to begin”
Excellent use of learning techniques
Great insights into the politics of infidelity
I would recommend this course!
This course will help me in my private practice
Well structed and easy to follow
It was great over three weekends; it gave me time to reflect in-between
The course was perfect for me
I have learned a great deal; the knowledge has also had a very positive impact on my existing counselling work with individuals
[the trainer] allowed a lot of discussion and feedback which made it a very interactive group
Audio-visuals were excellent
Loved the practical mindfulness day and using mindfulness with couples
Fantastic venue and good, experienced trainer
Massive amount of knowledge explained very effectively
Graeme being down to earth
Learned so much
The resources are great, too!
Great training thank you
Great groupwork!
Passionate and articulate tutor!
A great mix of different leaning techniques
Excellent balance of theory and application
He clearly understands to an expert level
Exceptional in all areas
Comprehensive grounding in a challenging subject
A realisation of the complexity of couple work
Good fun!
Excellent trainer
Excellent course
A very relaxed way of being which made it a great pleasure to learn
Learning was creative
Graeme knows his stuff!
I learned so much-not just about couples work but for use with individuals as well
Excellent-especially being sent the power point -it enables you to focus on what is being said rather than scribing notes

Click here to view our Training Booking Terms and Conditions.

Please note, our training room is on the first floor and is accessed by stairs.     If you have any special requirements, or if you need to advise us of anything before booking or attending the training, then please contact us.


Jesmond Therapy Centre, Jesmond, Newcastle Upon Tyne
7 Holly Avenue West, Jesmond, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE2 2AR United Kingdom
0191 281 2167

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