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Enter the fascinating world

of couples counselling

Working with Couples

6 Day Foundation Programme


Ann Grant
Counsellor (accredited), Supervisor, Clinical Lead 1point Bolton
I qualified in 2009 and then went on to gain qualifications in couples’ work and supervision. I have supervised couples’ counsellors with Relate and have worked in both the voluntary sector and in the NHS. I gained my teaching qualification in 2010. Currently the Clinical Lead at 1point Bolton, I also provide supervision for managers working for Being There, a charity supporting people with life-limiting conditions.



This course combines the learning of theory and practice through a mix of direct teaching delivery, group discussions and experiential exercises such as role play / skill practice sessions.


Pre Requisite

Recognised Counselling Qualification

Course Details

The overall aims of the course are to build on existing skills and knowledge and gain confidence in working with couples/relationships.

Overall objectives:

  • Build on existing skills and knowledge.

  • Greater understanding of theories and practices relating to relationships.

  • Participate in a range of activities.

  • Gain a certificate in skills and practice

The course content outline is presented below. Please note the day structure may vary slightly depending on needs of attendees. 

Day 1

Introduction to the differences in working with couples and working with individuals.


  1. Understand what is needed in a contract when working with a couple.

  2. Exploration of what individuals bring to a relationship.

  3. Understand the meaning of “Relationship Fit”

  4. Where do we start when working with a couple.


  • Setting boundaries in line with BACP guidelines.

  • Introduction to theory

Day 2

Introduce 3 stage model, genograms and working with 3 people in the room.


  1. To understand the 3 stage model.

  2. To understand and practice using genograms as a therapeutic tool.

  3. Experience dynamics of 3 people in the room.


  • Introduce Carkhuff/Egan theory.

  • Reflection on genograms.

  • Interpersonal dynamics with 3 people.

Day 3

Loss, change, family systems, and pinch/crunch model when working with couples.


  1. To recap theories of loss and relate to couples work.

  2. To understand how change affects a relationship.

  3. To understand family systems

  4. To understand the pinch/crunch model.

  5. To reflect on how the above theories may affect a relationship.


  • Recap stages of grief including Kubler-Ross and Stroebe & Schut Dual Process Model.

  • Introduce Wei Chei Chart

  • Introduce Burnham’s Family Systems theory

  • Introduce Crunch Points for Couples – Julia Coles 

Day 4

Let’s talk about sex


  1. To understand sex and intimacy.

  2. To become familiar with sexual language.

  3. To be aware of personal responses and barriers.

  4. To research the influence of media.

  5. To become familiar with the terminology for primary and secondary sexual dysfunctions.

  6. To understand the human sexual response.

  7. To consider homosexual, bi-sexual, trans-sexual and transgender relationships.


  • Group reflection on talking about sex

  • How to introduce sex into the counselling conversation.

  • Personal reflection, limits and boundaries.

  • Knowing when to refer to a psychosexual service.

Day 5

Affairs, how are they defined and why do they happen? What do I when there is domestic abuse?


  1. To consider the definition of an affair.

  2. To explore why affairs happen, being alert to signs.

  3. To understand triangular relationships and how patterns repeat.

  4. To be aware of the domestic abuse policy in your organisation.

  5. To understand all forms of domestic abuse.


  • Possible definitions of an affair.

  • Common reasons why affairs happen.

  • Personal triangular relationships.

  • Personal responses to domestic abuse.

Day 6

Working with endings, incorporating the social aspects of separation and divorce, and Fishers rebuilding model.


  1. To reflect on personal endings.

  2. To consider the wider aspects when relationships end.

  3. To understand the complexities of moving on after a relationship ends.

  4. To explore if/how relationships can be repaired.

  5. Reflections and evaluation of the course

  6. To help decide whether couples work is for you.


  • Group reflections

  • Book reviews

  • Recap.

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