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 working in this field is something in which you’re now interested, you’ll probably find that most courses are one or two years long. Also, many courses focus on just one approach.

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, and will provide you with key principles and techniques that you can start putting into practice to help couple clients. 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.

Dates set for 2019

The next London course is scheduled as follows: (now fully booked)

First weekend: 8th & 9th June 2019
Second weekend: 6th & 7th July 2019
Times: 10am to 5pm
Venue: The Deborah Ubee Trust, Greenwich, London SE10 8JS (a short walk from Greenwich mainline and DLR station)

Please note:

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

Cost: £470 per 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 15 people per 4-day course to 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.

The London course is expected to run at least once or twice per year.

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;
  • 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;
  • 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. 


“Absolutely fantastic course, jam-packed with information and resources. Will definitely be recommending to fellow counsellors.”  Katie, Private Practitioner

“An excellent overview to couples counselling offering you a strong base to start practising with growing confidence.”  Isabel, Letchworth Centre

“I found the course very enlightening and full of information. Highly recommended course. You will get all the information you need to move forward in couples counselling. Debbie is an inspirational teacher and I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to work with couples.”  Counsellor attending London course

“I would certainly recommend this course to anyone who is thinking of starting out on couples counselling. Be ready to discover how much there is to take on board. Debbie is a fantastic tutor.”  Counsellor attending London course.