Couples

Couples in Search of Soul 2019

This two part programme offers an opportunity for qualified practitioners to learn a style of couple work unique to Re-Vision. It draws on the diverse experiences of the trainers to create an imaginative and coherent course that condenses the essentials of couple work.  We run this course every two years and the next start date will be January 2019.  The schedule below is for 2017 and though there may be some changes in 2019 it will follow effectively the same pattern.

For Part 1 you do not already have to be working with couples, although you may be.   For Part 2, you will need to have a practice with couples. Some students may go straight from Part 1 to  Part 2,  some only take Part 1, others may pick up Part 2 in a later year.

The aim of this programme is to offer:

  • a comprehensive framework to understand and work with the complex dynamic of couples and how this differs from individual counselling and psychotherapy
  • a transpersonal perspective that locates disillusionment and difficulties faced by a couple within a context that gives meaning to the dilemmas of relationship
  • a methodology that draws on systemic, developmental, gender, gestalt and transpersonal perspectives to frame ‘the relationship as the client’
  • practical skills for working with troubled couples such as circular questioning, managing conflict, working with sexual difficulties, contextualising and reframing, use of paradox, communication, contact and dialogue as well as the use of story and imagination.
  • a learning community within which to develop and enhance professional practice to take advantage of a growing market for skilled couple workers.

Central to the whole training is the idea that the Relationship is the Client. It is not a matter of working with two individuals but with the dynamic between them. The frame of reference draws on systemic, field and archetypal concepts, to facilitate deep transformation.

This practical programme begins with setting the overall context of the couple as an entity that has soul. From this starting point participants will develop an understanding of the different phases that a relationship needs to negotiate, in order to support the couple in their journey towards mutual individuation and intimate relatedness. Each weekend will build on previous ones, adding skills to create a repertoire of potential interventions, which can be tailored to the needs of each specific couple.

PART 1
Weekend 1,  28/29 January 2017
Dark Side of the Moon: relationship and soul – Chris Robertson
When a couple comes to therapy it signifies an end of the relationship – either a literal end or a symbolic death of what-has-been – which opens the way to a new beginning. The core of the work is in facilitating the couple facing the painful, often bitter reality of this transition, which may involve disillusionment and the letting go of cherished ideals or idealisations.
Expectable learning includes:
• the use of context and reframing
• the place of crisis as catalyst in relationship
• holding relationship as the client
Weekend 2,  25/26 February 2017
The Inner Couple – Nicky Marshall
We all come into relationship carrying the unconscious patterns and beliefs that we have internalised from being the child of our parents. We also enter relationship seeking the perfect parent to fit our unmet needs. This weekend will explore the ways in which such historical influences can impact upon intimate relationships, and how to work effectively with these dynamics, supporting couples to see and take responsibility for their projections. Developing sensitivity to, and learning to understand
our countertransference as giving us information about the couple system will form the other thread of the learning during this weekend.
Expectable learning includes:
• bringing out of mutual projections through surfacing bonding patterns
• disentangling individual identities and relinquishing idealizations
• eliciting self-soothing capacities between the couple
• neutrality, alliance making and managing internal process as a counsellor
Weekend 3, 11/12 March 2017
Managing the Couple Process: new ways to communicate – Lesley Brown
Inevitably coupledom reactivates old wounds from childhood in the areas of bonding and separating so we shall look at how attachment patterns get played out in the relationship. In particular, we shall look at the play of projections as it is uncovered through circular questions and how through speaker/listener techniques, we can improve conscious communication between the couple.
We shall explore how setting up a working alliance in couple work is both different and more difficult than working with individuals, especially as conflict is often involved. As well as giving a significant place to conflict between the couple, we suggest ways for monitoring it and repairing the therapeutic alliance should it break down. Counsellors accustomed to working with individuals have to make a cognitive and perceptual leap from looking at the boundary of one person to experiencing the couple’s boundary as a ‘third entity’. Exercises and role plays will assist understanding and help you make this necessary leap.
Expectable learning includes:
• contracting, making and sustaining contact
• holding the couple & managing the alliance
• circular questioning
• dialogue and communication skills
Weekend 4, 8/9 April 2017
Listening to the Relationship – Chris Robertson
Given the two persons present, how can we attend to the relationship rather than their separate issues? We will learn to pay attention to the dynamic between the couple and especially the unconscious communication. This includes an awareness of the inner couple of the therapist, the potential infection of therapist and mistakes s/he might make as part of the relational Field. It also means educating the couple to appreciate their relationship, honour the journey they have been through together and nurture their relationship as a separate entity.
We will re-imagine the role of the couple therapist as one of enquiring and naming what is rather than offering solutions. Using thresholds on the Couple Wheel we will distinguish different levels of intervention and levels of alliance.
Expectable learning includes:
• working with field dynamics
• the therapist’s use of self including transference and counter-transference
• the parallel process and synchronicity
• naming, not solving, the dilemma
Weekend 5, 13/14 May 2017
Surfacing and Accepting Difference – Nicky Marshall
All couples present with a variety of obvious and hidden differences. How do couples frame and negotiate the differences of family norms, such as attitudes to sex, and gender role expectations with which they have grown up? What happens when a couple struggles to be seen as such, when a relationship does not conform to dominant cultural norms? This weekend will focus on the ways in which these dynamics of difference play out within the relationship, supporting couples to move from polarisation around difference to a place of curiosity and of valuing the enriching potential of difference.
We will learn the skills needed to explore these differences, illuminate difficulties and then reframe them as a source of nourishment to the soul of relationship, rather than an obstacle to be overcome. By learning to recognise and cherish the difference in the other, couples can come to a place of separateness in their individual identity, from which union becomes possible. This disentangling of self from other, and letting go of the expectation that the other be as we want them to be, is a crucial transitional process in journeying around the wheel of relationship.
Expectable learning includes:
• understanding the value of difference in relationship
• recognising the shadow projections in the intolerance of difference
• facilitating the work of grieving in letting go of the ideal other
• working with same sex couples
Weekend 6, 10/11 June 2017
Intimacy, Boundaries and Power: dangerous dances – Lesley Brown
Intimacy is difficult to define. Part of the difficulty lies embedded in the powerful feelings, images and archetypes that intimacy evokes. We will learn to recognise the common relationship patterns that are mistakenly viewed as intimacy and how to work with the couple in a way that will foster the ingredients for authentic intimacy.
For intimacy to flourish between two individuals a long-term balance of power is necessary. We will explore how power is managed in relationships particularly in relation to sex and understand the connection between power and responsibility. We will use the concept of power as a way of organising and describing the encounter between the couple and how to empower them to meet more fully.
Expectable learning includes:
• using a ‘process’ approach to describe the phenomenology of an encounter
• modeling presence and personal power
• working with conflict both to catalyse and to mediate
• disentangling the web of sex and power
Weekend 7, 22-23 July 2017
Story, Shadow and Inner Marriage – Lesley Brown and Chris Robertson
How do the couple tell (and rehearse) their story, how do they listen (or not) to each other and how could they revision their story through becoming joint authors?
In this weekend we will explore the collective influences that may affect the field, from the ancestral family, tribe and nation. What are the wider patterns that impact the couple, such as the collective wound of absent fathers? To do this we need to slow down, listen to our feeling perceptions, utilise an alchemical perspective to sensitise ourselves to the emerging pattern. We will also look more at the idea of the couple shadow, both how the shadow element of each person is often projected onto the ‘other half’ and more mysteriously the shadow of the couple – what they have constellated together through aspiring to be the couple they should be. In re-joining the shadow, the couple can become a vehicle for inner marriage.
Expectable learning includes
• the use of imagery and story-telling for couples
• facilitating secrets being spoken
• working with couple shadow – the dark heart of relationship
• authentic engagements and levels of union
Fees: £1,375
How to Apply
This is a post-qualifying course.  It is open to counsellors, therapists, social workers and others in the helping professions. Criteria for acceptance include:
1. previous relevant training and qualifications
2. current professional experience
3. personal experience of individual or couple therapy
4. previous couple work experience, or potential field of application for couple work.
Application Procedure:
Please consider the following questions:
1.  Why do you want to do this training?
2.  How do you intend to use it?
3.  How do you satisfy the entry requirements above? Please detail training, relevant qualifications and field of experience.
Please type your answers and return them to tara@re-vision.org.uk along with:
  • Your full name
  • Occupation
  • Contact address
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • The name and email address of your supervisor (for a professional reference)
Also please send us a £50 deposit for processing your application. This can be a cheque made out to Re-Vision or a bank payment to: Re-Vision ltd, Co-operative bank, sort code 08-92-99 account no. 65301472
Early application is advised as numbers are limited. Applications will continue to be screened as long as places are available. You may be asked to attend for interview.
PART 2 
Some students find that the Certificate training meets their needs. Some may wish to continue to Part 2, the Diploma extension course, which will require you to be actually working with couples. This will start in Autumn 2017. Dates are to be confirmed but it will consist of five supervision/tutorial meetings and three training days). These will involve a mixture of thinking, experience, coaching and playful creativity.   There will be a part 2 again in 2019, following that year’s part 1.