Introduction to Couples Counselling

It’s likely that, as a counsellor or therapist, you probably found couples counselling wasn’t covered in much detail in your initial training. And if it’s something you’re now interested in, you’ll probably find most courses are one or two years long.

But it is possible to learn the fundamentals of couples counselling in a short course. This Introduction to Couples Counselling is a four day course and will provide you with the key principles and techniques you can start putting into practice to help your clients. The course is integrative and involves a mixture of theory, group work, role plays and videos.

You’ll be able to benefit from this training whichever situation you’re in:

  • if you’re thinking of moving into this field, it will help you better understand what you need to bear in mind, and give you a basic grounding in how to handle the distinctive challenges of couples therapy;
  • if you’re already working in this field, it can help you better understand and deal with issues and challenges you may already be encountering;
  • even if you don’t work with couples, this course will inform your individual work. Many trainees attending this course have found a lot of resources to help with their individual clients presenting with relationship issues.

Dates for 2018: London 

Dates have now been set for an Autumn training in London. These are: 20/21st October and 17/18 November 2018.

The price is £470 for the four day course. There is an early bird rate of £450 if booked before September 15th.

To book a place, there is a non-refundable deposit of £100 payable now. The balance of £350 (early bird or £370 subsequent) is payable one month before the course start date.

The London venue is: The Deborah Ubee Trust, 20 Egerton Drive, Greenwich SE10 8JS. This venue is very close to Greenwich DLR station, which also has direct links to London Bridge and Cannon Street.

Update: this course is now sold out; please contact me to be put on the waiting list for the next course.

Both weekends (4 days) are needed to learn the basics of couples counselling.  On the third day, Debbie will be joined by her partner Simon Adamson who is also a couples counsellor. The two of them will jointly facilitate this day; and hopefully this will add an interesting extra dimension to the work. Simon may also assist with supervision of role plays on other days. You can read more about their work together at

The London course will run at least once or twice per year.

There will be maximum of 15/16 people per course to ensure optimum benefit of the course.

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 me to discuss, as in exceptional cases, enrolment may be possible.

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.

Here is a summary of the content of each day:

Introduction to Couples Counselling: first weekend


•  Differences between Individual and 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 difference and frustration

• Ethical dilemmas in couples counselling (seeing individuals separately concurrently with couple counselling; screening for domestic violence; addictions; confidentiality and keeping secrets; contact outside sessions)
• Transference in the Couples Relationship; Mechanisms of Attraction and Partner Selection; Uncovering your Unconscious Relationship Attraction Pattern;
• Attachment vs. Differentiation; Working with Conflict & Emotions;
• Attachment Patterns & Mechanisms of Disconnection;
• Working with the Couple’s Defeating Pattern or Dance of Disconnection

Introduction to Couples Counselling: second weekend

DAY THREE (jointly taught with Simon Adamson)
• Ethical dilemmas in couples counselling;
• Stages of relationship from romance to power struggle to co-creation;
• Working with the Stages;
• Working with hostile couples; understanding and de-escalating conflict; bonding exercises;
• Working with avoidant couples; facing the elephant in the room

• Ethical dilemmas in couples counselling;
• Homework and exercises for couples clients;
• How to conduct your first couples session; theory and format; determining client intentions, motivation and how to proceed;
• How to conduct your first couples session; role plays;
• Making a Treatment Plan for the journey ahead;
• Questions; Summary and End


♦  A thorough and fascinating grounding in working therapeutically with couples. Using a wide and interesting variety of teaching methods, the presenters Debbie and Simon were professional and well organised, but at the same time relaxed and friendly. So much was packed in, including in-depth training on a number of popular contemporary therapeutic models. Handouts covered everything, so it was easy to just absorb the information and insights, without needing to take notes. I’d absolutely recommend this course to any professional contemplating working with couples.
Martin (Course participant May/June 2018).

♦ Excellent course by professional trainer; suitable for counsellors wanting to understand and practise couples work.

Course participant, London 2018

♦ Best, most comprehensive set of handouts and notes of any training I’ve ever been on – much appreciated. Really thorough grounding in essential considerations, ethics and differences working with couples. Comprehensive introduction to different theories/models.

Jill Kay, therapist

♦Everything was excellent. The resources fantastic, the pace was just right and the expertise of the facilitator was great. All of it has been helpful without feeling overwhelming.

Amanda, therapist

♦ I would (and have) thoroughly recommend this course to colleagues who are considering couples counselling. It contains a large amount of practical information backed up with Debbie’s hands-on experience and her revealing and invaluable insights into many of the front-line occurrences that couple counselling will present. Both Debbie and Simon have a vast experience of couple counselling and the manner in which they present their knowledge is both accessible and entertaining. Without doubt a ‘must do’ course.

John Hade  – Dartmoor Centre for Counselling and Psychotherapy

♦ Clear explanations for the theory and the practical issues. fantastic resources to back up the learning and to use in practice. Thoroughly enjoyable and fascinating.

Lucy Candey, therapist

♦ I very much appreciate how broad the course is and how we are introduced to a number of different ways of working. This is also true for the different teaching methods that are used, a lovely balance of talks, videos, practice etc. I particularly love the way Debbie and Simon share themselves and their experiences. The pace for me is also excellent.

Adela Austin, therapist

♦ Generally, I felt the course was very informative and gave me lots of ideas and insights. I feel the course is an excellent alternative to some of the lengthy and expensive other couples counselling courses.

Francesco Piro, therapist and supervisor

♦ Debbie is engaging and very competent – asking her about her own experience (and Simon’s) is very affirming and inspires confidence. The handouts are comprehensive and the content has covered many aspects of how to begin as a couples counsellor.

Sarah Davenport –  Sarah Davenport Counselling

♦ I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. The information was clear and really well presented. The day was well structured and had a great mix of practical and didactical learning. Made a difficult subject easy to understand and left me feeling confident to begin to practise. Best CPD course I have attended.

Sarah Wolfin, private practice

♦ An excellent balance of structure/input and mapping onto/listening to participants’ own experiences and practice.

Helen Mackay, therapist

♦ “Exceeded expectations manyfold. Thoughtful, informed, up-to-date content from classic and relevant models, with the opportunity to practise techniques. Delivered in a great way. The opportunity to practise the techniques made the learning real. Very impressed.” 

Dean, Robin Corner Counselling

♦ ‘Debbie was an extremely generous trainer with her thinking and resources. She was also relaxed in her style which put the group at ease.’ 

Abigail, London

♦ I feel as if I’ve had a solid grounding in the basics. Clearly explained. A good balance between teaching and participation. I will be recommending!

Helen Batten, therapist

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

Katie, Private Practitioner

♦ A lovely balance of learning through a variety of methods; very interactive and felt like a safe learning environment. A very enabling approach by Debbie, acknowledging all participants’ experiences. A good acknowledgement of learning styles.’

Margaret Headland, Headland Therapy


♦ “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.

‘I attended the couples counselling 4 day course run by Debbie. I have to say, this has been some of the most helpful study days I have attended.
The course is very comprehensive, and well thought out. Each day has a range of topics and techniques. Debbie sets out to explain the information, then allows time to practise the techniques, and time to discuss at the end. She covers a vast range of information, which is supported by a very comprehensive selection of handout and forms which can be used with clients. There is a good selection of books and information about couples and relationships available at the course Since finishing, I have been in contact with Debbie, and she has been very helpful in offering suggestions of further information and ideas.
I would recommend this course to anyone who has an interest in couples counselling. The course has increased my knowledge, and self confidence in working with couples in counselling.’
(Sue Cognitive Analytic Therapist)


‘Fabulously informative workshop on the how to and why of setting up as a couples counsellor. I recommend it highly. Excellent, with brilliant handouts’ (Tara, therapist and supervisor, London)

‘Excellent attention to detail. The course draws attention to the most important considerations and provides a comprehensive toolkit for anyone starting out as a couples counsellor’ (Phil Martin, therapist, Bournemouth).

‘An extremely clear and informative course. Very well organised. Delivered with clarity and warmth. Very useful.’ (Kate Renner, Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living, Herts)

‘Debbie and Simon are great trainers. the four dates were informative, insightful and fun. I loved the range of teaching methods and have already recommended the course to two colleagues. Fantastic handouts also. Lovely and safe group.’ (Phil Puttock, counsellor, Brighton)

‘I found most helpful the depth of experience of both leaders….the supervision of role-plays was done well and helpfully. Everyone was given permission to join in or sit it out or passively participate. I found that sensitive’ (B, therapist)

What was good was the expertise and experience of Deborah. Really clearly laid out. Really supportive and encouraging. I enjoyed and found Deborah’s anecdotal accounts really useful. They gave me much to think about. The really thorough treatment of ethics was most beneficial.

(Katrina Pitts, therapist, London)

I liked the pace and the practise in a safe environment. Very stimulating and excited at the prospect of practising newly acquired skills

(Wendy Willis, counsellor, Bucks)


Other Courses

Working with Domestic Violence

  • Types of domestic violence;
  • When a counsellor can safely work with domestic violence in a couple relationship;
  • Risk assessments and ethics;
  • Co-dependency and anger management.

“Outstanding. Debbie provided an exciting, stimulating well researched and excellently resourced session in an enjoyable accessible manner. The experiential exercise was thoughtfully guided and I left wanting more thinking this is one of the best courses I have attended.”  Sherry, London