Perspectives, Skills and Effective Techniques for Enhancing Couple Therapy - Counselling


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 practiced 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 practicing them followed by questions and discussion. (should only be single space between this and above sentence!)

Module Information:

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. 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)

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.


  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.

Note this e-course is not hosted on Nexlec and users can click the "Select" button to be directed to the course page.

Providers Terms

Cancellation Policy and Disclaimer

Refunds less a $50.00 administration fee are given for cancellations received in writing via email or post. Cancellations must be received no later than 10 days prior to your event date. Refunds and transfers are not possible inside 10 days from the event. Cancellation policy is final and not negotiable.

PDP regrets the difficult personal circumstances that prevent people attending including medical conditions, emergencies, severe weather or transport difficulties and we do not issue refunds in any circumstance other than those outlined in this cancellation policy. PDP is unable to accept responsibility for the failure of the presenter to arrive due to unforeseen circumstances.

Transfer of Registration to Another Person

Registrations are transferable IN FULL to another person on notification in writing to PDP and no admin fees are charged for this service. Where a delegate can only attend for part of a training, transfer of the remainder of the registration to another person is NOT possible.

Cancellation/Reschedule of an Event by PDP

PDP will contact you within 10 days of the event date on the rare occasion that we need to cancel/reschedule an event. You will be offered the following options:

  • A full refund of your paid registration fee.
  • Transfer of your registration into another equivalent event on our calendar.

Please contact the Provider directly or follow the ticket selection button to the Course Provider Website for full terms and conditions.



Contact Hours:

15.0 hrs




5 Modules

Lecture Videos

All Devices





PDP Seminars

Ari Badaines

PhD Clinical Psychologist, MAPS Psychotherapy

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.

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