Schedule


Online Streaming Event – Friday, April 3

9:00am – 1pm PDT

We are grateful for your loyalty and enthusiasm for the Couples Conference which has been a regular event since 1995. The 2020 Couples Conference was to be held April 3-5, 2020 at the San Francisco Airport Hyatt in Burlingame, and has been postponed until 2021.

To express our appreciation, we will stream an online program Friday, April 3, that will provide up to four hours of continuing education credit. Our faculty members have graciously and generously agreed to give a 30-minute introduction to a topic that they would have presented at the 2020 Couples Conference. Registration for this is free to those who had registered for 2020 Couples Conference, even if your registration was cancelled.
Signed,
Jeffrey K. Zeig, Milton H. Erickson Foundation
Ellyn Bader, Couples Institute

Handouts are available here.

Friday, April 3
Image of Ellyn Bader
Image of Joe Winn

Workshop 01

Friday

9:00am –
10:00am

WS01

Workshop 01 – Infidelity Crisis and Queering The Developmental Model

Ellyn Bader, PhD and Joseph Winn, MSW, LICSW, CST-S

Ellyn Bader’s Handouts

Joseph Winn’s Handouts

Click for Session Details

1.0 Credits

Difficulty: All Levels

Description:

Couples often come to therapy in the aftermath of infidelity. Their marriage
is in crisis, their emotions are intense, and you are required to quickly organize a lot of complex information into a coherent treatment plan. How do you do this with confidence?

Knowing what to look for will help you delineate core treatment issues in the initial, middle and termination stages of therapy.  Next, use 10 parameters to assess the meaning of the infidelity and then uncover the major types of lies and deception to give you a solid way to determine what to address and when.

The Developmental Model maintains that relationships move through progressive stages of growth. When partners are able to tolerate the tension of actively engaging in the process of differentiation, they grow the emotional muscle needed for long-term vitality and intimacy.

Issues of racism, heteronormativity, transphobia and other forms of oppression often contribute to partners being stuck in painful patterns that keep them from evolving as lovers and as strong individuals.

Joe will blend the Bader-Pearson Developmental model with queer theory to provide clinicians with insights and tools to work more effectively in clinical practice with the lived experiences of class transitioners, queer people, people of color and diverse styles of relationship.

Educational Objectives:

  1. Organize what you know about the couple into a coherent treatment plan.
  2. To evaluate the meaning of an affair.
  3. Explain the value of obsessing about an affair and its details.
  4. Focus on 4 Key Issues that affect Stage 1 treatment.
  5. Develop an understanding of how privilege, racism, heteronormativity, transphobia and misogyny, classism, and ageism impact relationship development.
  6. Develop an ability to utilize and incorporate concepts from queer theory, intersectionality and anti-bias practices into the developmental model.
  7. Utilize concepts from the developmental model to enable clients to stop pathologizing themselves and their partners.
Image of Terry Real
Image of Hendrix and Hunt

Workshop 02

Friday

10:00am –
11:00am

WS02

Workshop 02 – Enhancing Conversations in the Imago and Relational models: Safe conversations and improved narratives

Terry Real, LICSW, Harville Hendrix, PhD and Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD

Terry Real’s Handouts

Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt’s Handouts

Click for Session Details

1.0 Credits

Difficulty: All Levels

Description:

Couples come to us with limiting moralistic essentialist stories about one another. “My wife is just a cold person.” “My husband is mean.” Even if correct, these frames leave little purpose for change. Through video examples and discussion participants will learn how to deftly change a couple’s choreography by shifting their imagery or themselves and their partner’s. For example: “He’s not bad; he’s suffering PTSD. We can work with that!” Learn how to quickly unearth the core negative image of each partner and transform it from the couple’s worst nightmare to a positive useful tool.

Safe Conversations is a relational technology that helps people talk without criticizing, listen without judgment and connect beyond their differences. Participants in this workshop will engage this technology as a personal experience and learn to share it with others. Participation in this training counts towards a SC certificate.

Educational Objectives:

  1. To understand impact of childhood experience and family patterns on current relationships.
  2. Learn when and how to bring up family of origin in couples therapy.
  3. Describe the steps of Safe Conversations.
  4. Discuss the function of safety in relational thriving.
  5. Practice relational competence.
Image of Stan Tatkin
Image of Martha Kauppi

Workshop 03

Friday

11:00am –
12:00pm

WS03

Workshop 03 – Common Issues: Acting Out and Desire Discrepancies

Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT and Martha Kauppi, LMFT

Click for Session Details

1.0 Credits

Difficulty: All Levels

Description:

Couple therapists often expend too much energy by failing to take up acting out in couple therapy. Therapists are working too hard because they fail to notice acting out by one or both partners and deal with it appropriately. Acting out should not be rewarded with doing therapy. Rather, acting out is a sign that the therapist does not have a therapeutic alliance with the couple and must use tools necessary to address it as soon as it arises. A therapeutic alliance means that the couple and therapist remain fully collaborative, cooperative, and on task. The task of couple therapy is to focus on the relationship, not on the therapist or partner on partner. The couple therapist must use supportive confrontation of the couple system itself (not partners directly) in order to gain a therapeutic alliance. In this workshop, attendees will learn how to spot signs of acting out and practice, through demonstrations, various interventions. This workshop will help therapists work less and accomplish more with acting out couples.

The most common sex-related issue brought into the offices of sex therapists and generalists is desire discrepancy. Yet desire is one of the most complicated and misunderstood issues, even for many sex therapists. Desire resides at the intersection of multiple systems: it encompasses purely sexual aspects, numerous physiologic components, and a vast web of interconnected emotional and relational issues. In this skills-based presentation, Martha integrates the Developmental Model of Couple Therapy with a deep understanding of sexual function and interpersonal dynamics. Participants will learn how to open the topic of sex in therapy, follow up strongly with an original brief assessment, sort complicated symptoms, address urgent issues immediately, make appropriate referrals, conceptualize the case, order an appropriate treatment plan, and effectively help clients build sexual relational skills that go far beyond “improving communication.”

Educational Objectives:

  1. List at least five ways acting out appears during couple therapy.
  2. Apply at least three interventions gaining a therapeutic alliance with insecurely attached partners.
  3. Demonstrate the technique of confronting a couple “down the middle”.
  4. List 6 questions that sort sex-related symptoms into categories, and distinguish between urgent and less pressing concerns so as to develop a prioritized treatment plan.
  5. Describe and distinguish between purely sexual, physical, emotional, and relational aspects of desire.
  6. Discuss how the skills related to differentiation of self provide an important key to working effectively with desire discrepancy.
Image of William Doherty
Image of Shawn Giammattei

Workshop 04

Friday

12:00pm –
1:00pm

WS04

Workshop 04 – Common Issues: Individual Problems and Gender Affirmative Approaches

William Doherty, PhD and Shawn Giammattei, PhD

William Doherty’s Handouts

Shawn Giammattei’s Handouts

Click for Session Details

1.0 Credits

Difficulty: All Levels

Description:

Most clinical conversations about couple relationship problems occur in individual therapy, not couples therapy. But individual therapy models offer little guidance for how to address relationship problems. The result is that therapists sometimes collude with their client’s view of the partner and offer one-sided narratives of complex relational problems. This doesn’t help the client and can undermine the relationship. Even couples therapists sometimes make the same mistakes when doing individual therapy. This workshop will provide specific tools and guidelines for helping individual clients in the context of their relationship, while avoiding common traps when we are seeing just one member of a couple.

Regardless of the model of couple therapy used, being a gender affirming couples therapist requires both an understanding of your own gender narratives as well as the key issues that may impact couples where one or more partners is transgender or gender expansive (TGE). It involves moving beyond simply holding a positive view of TGE clients or having some knowledge of the most obvious issues TGE individuals face; while these may be necessary, they are not sufficient even if you consider yourself a part of the LGBTQ+ community. To do this one must understand their own hetero/cis-normative beliefs around coupling and how these influence the questions they ask and the interventions they use. TGE couples experience many of the same issues as other couples, yet have unique stressors that impact these issues in profound ways. Therefore, being a gender-affirmative couple therapist also involves understanding and knowing how to address the unique stressors and issues that both the TGE individual and couple experience that influence the quality of their relationship. Shawn will use experiential exercises, video, and clinical vignettes to discover and utilize the basics of the gender affirming approach to couple therapy.

Educational Objectives:

  1. Identify warning signs that the therapy isn’t couple sensitive, including attributing negative intentions to the absent partner and expressing pessimism that the partner can change.
  2. Describe strategies to avoid reflexively siding with the client’s view of the relationship.
  3. Discuss techniques to support the clients’ personal therapy goals while supporting their important relationships.
  4. Recognize and assess personal gender narratives and biases that may impact couples therapy with TGE Couples.
  5. Recognize the ways traditional couple therapy models may uphold hetero/cis-normative practices and formulate gender affirming tactics to address these.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of how familial, social, cultural, economic, legal, and political experiences exacerbate minority stress for TGE couples, identify gender affirmative approaches to address the impact of these stressors on TGE couples’ relationships and how to implement these within various models of couple therapy.