Couples Therapy Training Program

The Couples Therapy Training Program is a one-year course comprised of both theoretical seminars and clinical group supervision. The trainees learn the material through lectures, case write ups and presentations and group participation. The trainees meet together for 3 hours per week from September to May. The emphasis of the programs is on the application of self-psychological and relational concepts applied to the clinical practice of treating couples.

There are six major components to the program and learning objectives. On the completion of the Couples Therapy Training Program the trainees will be able to:

  1. Assess the dynamics of couples (the relational unit, projections and introjections, spouses’ psychological history, latent messages underlying manifest presentations, and thematic tracking)
  2. Describe the phases and the tasks of each phase of Couples Therapy (assessment, early/middle/impasses and resolution in the late phase and termination)
  3. Discuss Self Psychological theory and clinical applications as related to Classical theory, Object Relations
  4. Describe and utilize effective interventions in working with difficult couples (borderline/schizoid couples, pursuer/avoider couples, oppositional/aggressive couples, and abusive couples
  5. Recognize and utilize transference and countertransference issues in working with couples (intervening on re-enactments and impasses)
  6. Analyze and intervene on sexual issues in couples therapy

Unit Descriptions of Couples Therapy Training Program

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  1. Introduction
    1. The View of the Couple: Self Psychology and Object Relations
    2. Self Regulation versus Projective Identification
    3. Conscious versus Unconscious Relating
    4. From Archaic To Maturing Couple
    5. Sexual dysfunction As a Symptom Versus a Cause
  2. The Therapist’s Conception of the Couples Intersubjectivity
    1. The Couple as a Unit
    2. Implications of Projective Identification
    3. No Person Psychology and the Empathic Mode of Listening
    4. Hopes Needs, and Disappointments and the Cure in Couples Therapy
  3. Therapeutic Assessment of the Couple
    1. Assessment & the Early Phase of Couples Treatment
    2. The Latent Themes of the Couple
    3. The Technique of Couple Couples Therapy
    4. The Creation and Maintenance of the Holding Environment
  4. Working with Difficult Couples
    1. Mid Phase of Couples Therapy: Intervening on Marital Collusion & Impasse
    2. Working With Borderline and Aversive Couples Using Empathy
    3. Working With Aggressive & Abusive Couples
    4. Working With Couples and Their Trauma
  5. Transference and Countertansference Issues
    1. The Intersubjective Perspective and Use of Empathy
    2. The Countertransference Issues in working with “borderline” Couples
    3. The Countertransference Issues in working with Traumatized and Aggressive Couples
    4. The Countertransference Issues in Working with Illness in the Couple, or Divorcing Couples
    5. The Countertransference in Dealing with Impasse and Termination with Couples
    6. Intervention of Therapist’s Secondary Trauma or Burnout Symptoms in Working With Difficult Couples
  6. Termination of Couples Therapy
    1. The Process and Dynamics of Termination
    2. The Accomplished Goal of Couples Therapy
    3. The Capacity for Forgiveness and Reparation

CE: 32 classes, 3 CE credits each class. Total: 96 CE credits. A CE/CME certificate is awarded for each course when attendance is 80% or more, and is for the number of hours actually attended.


  • Tybe Diamond, LCSW
  • John Gualtieri, PhD
  • Mary O’Farrell, PhD
  • Janice Sanchez, LCSW
  • Barbara Shapard, LCSW
  • Michael Wannon, PhD