Coronavirus Update April 2021

Our trainings are run in accordance with the prevailing Government guidelines and all in-person training events remain subject to possible postponement or cancellation in response to changes in Government or venue policies.

To allow for social distancing, we’re now using larger venues than would normally be required and limiting the number of delegates.

UK lock-down measures have impacted our programme through the past year, but with the reopening of the education sector in March we were able to proceed with our postponed introductory course at the end of the month and are set to complete the second weekend in April. 

Introduction to Couples Counselling

It’s likely that as a counsellor or therapist, couples counselling wasn’t given much coverage in your initial training. If you’re interested in working with couples, you’ll probably have found that most of the available courses in this field are one or two years long. Also, many courses focus on just one approach, meaning that you need to make a significant commitment in time and cost before you can be sure whether the approach suits you, or even if you necessarily wish to pursue this kind of work.

We believe that it’s possible to learn the fundamentals of couples counselling though a short course. This Introduction to Couples Counselling is facilitated by Debbie Winterbourne, with assistance from Simon Adamson. It’s a 4-day course that introduces key principles and techniques from several established approaches that you can start putting into practise to help both couple clients and individuals presenting relationship issues. The course comprises a mixture of theory, group work, role-plays and videos.

This course will be of particular benefit to you if:

  • You’re thinking of starting work with couples and want to have a basic grounding in how to handle the particular challenges of couples therapy;
  • You’re already working with couples and wish to gain a better understanding of how to deal with the issues and challenges you’re encountering;
  • You’re not necessarily planning to work with couples, but wish to engage in an area of professional development that could assist you further with your individual work, since ultimately, all our work is relational;
  • You have an interest in working with couples, but aren’t yet sure if this is the work for you.

The next introduction course is scheduled as follows:


First weekend: Friday 15th & Saturday 16th October 2021

Second weekend: Friday 19th & Saturday 20th November 2021

Times: 10am to 5pm

Venue: Quaker Meeting House, 2 Lawn Terrace, Blackheath, London, SE3 9LL

Please note:

Both weekends (4-days) are required to learn the basics of couples counselling.

Cost: £490, or £470 early bird (if booking by 1st August 2021), for the full 4-day introductory course.

To book a place, a non-refundable deposit of £100 is required, followed by the remaining balance six weeks prior to the first weekend. Please email for payment details.

There will be a maximum of 21 people per 4-day course to allow for social distancing and ensure the maximum individual attention and benefit from the training.

Minimum qualifications required to enrol: this course is most suited to qualified counsellors or psychotherapists. If you are a trainee, then completion of a minimum ten week certificate course is required to enrol. If you are outside of these criteria, please contact us to discuss, as in exceptional cases, enrolment may be possible.

Space is limited, so to reserve a place, please pay a non-refundable deposit of £100 now.

This course usually runs at least once or twice per year, so if you can’t make the next date, please get in touch so that we can let you know when the next dates are announced.

A CPD certificate of 24 hours will be provided on completion of the course.

Cancellation terms: A £100 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve a place. The balance is payable one month before the course start date. Once paid this balance is also non-refundable.

Introduction to Couples Counselling Part 1 (first weekend):

Day One

  • Philosophy & theory of couples counselling;
  • The role of the therapist in couples counselling. Content versus process;
  • Different models of couples counselling;
  • Essential communication skills to teach your couples;
  • The basics of non-confrontational communication. Therapist as ‘translator’;
  • Couples dialogue. Facilitating your couples expressing differences & frustrations.

Day Two

  • Ethical dilemmas in couples counselling (seeing individuals separately concurrently with couple counselling; screening for domestic violence; addictions; confidentiality & keeping secrets; contact outside sessions);
  • Transference in the couple relationship; mechanisms of attraction & partner selection; uncovering unconscious relationship attraction patterns;
  • Attachment vs. Differentiation. Working with conflict & Emotions;
  • Attachment Patterns & mechanisms of disconnection;
  • Working with the couple’s defeating patterns.

 Introduction to Couples Counselling Part 2 (second weekend):

Day Three

  • Ethical dilemmas in couples counselling (therapeutic balance between couple partners);
  • Stages of relationship from romance to power struggle to co-creation;
  • Working with the stages and developmental tasks of relationship;
  • Working with hostile couples; understanding & de-escalating conflict; bonding exercises;
  • Working with avoidant couples; facing the elephant in the room.

Day Four

  • Ethical dilemmas in couples counselling (domestic violence);
  • Homework & exercises for couples;
  • How to conduct your first couples session; theory & format; determining client intentions, motivation & how to proceed;
  • How to conduct your first couples assessment session; role plays;
  • Making a Treatment Plan for the journey ahead;
  • Questions; summary & end. 

Level Two Couples Counselling Course

As a follow-on from the introduction course, this Level 2 course explores the important concept of differentiation in couples counselling, with a particular focus on the Developmental Model of Couple Counselling pioneered by Drs Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson. It has a similar 4-day format to our introduction course and is facilitated by Debbie Winterbourne with assistance from Simon Adamson.

The next Level Two course is scheduled as follows:

First weekend: Friday 11th & Saturday 12th June 2021
Second weekend: Friday 16th & Saturday 17th July 2021
Times: 10am to 4.30pm
Venue: Quaker Meeting House, 2 Lawn Terrace, Blackheath, London, SE3 9LL

Cost: £465 early bird, £490 if booked subsequently, for the full 4-day Level Two course.

A CPD certificate of 22 hours will be provided on completion of the course.

To book a place, a non-refundable deposit of £100 is required, followed by the remaining balance six weeks prior to the first weekend. Please email for payment details.

Cancellation terms: A £100 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve a place. The balance is payable one month before the course start date. Once paid this balance is also non-refundable.


Testimonials by previous attendees of our training courses:

  • ‘I can honestly say that this is by far the best couples counselling training I have ever attended. I would not hesitate to recommend this training to anyone, excellent all round.’

DN (attended Introduction Course London 2019)

  • ‘The Introduction Course provided an excellent foundational level insight into the world of couples therapy. I am completing the course feeling well equipped to begin couples therapy. The handouts and level of information and different theoretical approaches is exactly what I was hoping for. Thank you both.’

Deone Payne-James, Integrative Counsellor (attended Introduction Course London 2019)

  • ‘Clear concise delivery, I feel confident to start with clients. I have trained on a couples workshop previously but didn’t feel confident to start working, so delayed and continued to look for further training. Really impressed by the content shared, every question answered and great safeguarding implementation.’

Therapist (attended Introduction Course 2019 London)

  • ‘I am so thankful that I chose to do your course. My supervisor highly recommended it, and I was not disappointed. Not only did it reassure me that I already was familiar with a good number of approaches by the foremost experts in the field of couples counselling, but your comprehensive coverage of the basics was thorough, practical and reassuring. The range of helpful handouts will also be a source of practical guidance both for me and my clients: a wide menu. Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson’s ‘developmental approach’ was new to me, and makes absolute sense. I’ll enjoy exploring it more. It was also a first proper introduction to Marshall Rosenberg, and I now have his step by step guide to nonviolent communication in my grasp and am passing it on to clients. I also liked the fact that you both have a depth of knowledge and experience, which has come both from your passionate exploration over time within the field, as well as your ongoing commitment to increased happiness within your own relationship.’

Loraine McDonald (attended Introduction Course 2019 London)

  • ‘This course was an excellent way of creating the solid groundwork for having a couples practice, whilst giving the tools and confidence to be a better practitioner. It made me re-evaluate all my counselling skills and practice.’

Therapist (attended Introduction Course 2019 London)

  • ‘This was one of the most informative and useful trainings I have experienced. Excellent trainers, thorough handouts, lots of practice. Highly recommended. Don’t become a couples counsellor without this training!’

Denise Dyson (attended Introduction Course 2018 London)

  • ‘An excellent and thought provoking training. The course is well structured and Debbie and Simon weave in a range of theory and therapeutic approaches. I left feeling much better equipped to work with couples. I also found plenty to enrich and expand my individual work. I will definitely recommend this course to colleagues looking to make the transition from individual to couples counselling.’
Rowena (attended Introduction Course 2018 London) 
  • ‘An extremely full and informative course for therapists. Diverse in content approaches, and very well supported with copies of information given. Great balance between interactive and didactic approaches and good to share existing and future work with other clinicians. Gives space to explore the parallels between ones own experiences and the clients’, which is an essential part of our ongoing practice.  Good for therapists new to couples work and to those well versed in the practice. Very pleased that I found this rare training.’

Julia Dansie (attended Introduction Course 2018 London)

  • ‘For anyone considering working with couples, this course is a must; so informative and really enjoyable.’

Julie Mills-Langdown, Psychodynamic Counsellor (attended Introduction Course 2018 London)

  • ‘Very well organised with excellent handouts. warm, professional delivery. Excellent course. Thank you.’

Therapist (attended Introduction Course 2018 London)

  • ‘High quality training delivered with a real depth and enthusiasm. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.

Therapist (attended Introduction Course 2018 London)