When it comes to training in couples counselling, it’s the C word that holds the biggest fear for one-to-one therapists: Conflict.
Therapists who see individuals work with the story and perspective of that one person. With couples counselling, there are two stories to take into account. Therapists can feel anxiety about the conflict that can arise in the room between the two people and their version of the story. People often don’t come to couples counselling until the relationship really is in crisis, so therapists find themselves working with people who are distressed, angry and disappointed – and who bring their arguments, resentments and sexual difficulties into the therapy room.
Managing this conflict is one of the key areas tackled in The Awareness Centre’s weekend CPD seminar Working with Couples with Cabby Laffy.
“One-to-one therapy is about the relationship between therapist and client,” says Cabby. “With couples work, it’s the relationship that is the client. Once therapists realise it’s the relationship they’re working with, it reduces their anxiety about not taking sides, and about giving two people enough time to tell their side of the story.”
The seminar also looks at understanding the dynamics in the relationship, and identifying difference in desire – which can be about sexual issues or even where to go on holiday. Key to resolving these issues is communication. For the therapists this involves a lot of facilitation, negotiation, conflict resolution and mirroring good communication skills.
Cabby adds: “Individuals assume that everyone feels like them, and if only their partner would change then the relationship would work. Couples therapy helps them realise that they as individuals can change how they respond – and really it’s up to them how they live their relationship.”
The Working with Couples with Cabby Laffy seminar is on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th June 2014, from 10am to 5pm. It is endorsed by COSRT with 12 CPD hours.
For more information and to book, email [email protected] or call 020 8673 4545.