First part: Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd November 2024

Second part: Friday 6th and Saturday 7th December 2024

Times: 10am to 5pm

CPD: 24 hours

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: £530 for the full 4-day introductory course. Early Bird price of £500 if booked before 16th August 2024.


Introduction Course

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 both Debbie Winterbourne and her partner Simon Adamson. It’s a 4-day course that introduces key principles and techniques from several established approaches that you can start putting into practice to help both couple clients and individuals presenting with relationship issues. The course comprises a mixture of theory, group work, role-plays and videos. We created the course by pulling together the key concepts we discovered through working in this challenging field ourselves, while also drawing on our personal relationship experiences.
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.

Following completion of the course, you can elect to join our Facebook Support page, enabling you to ask a group of couples counsellors questions you may have about your work.

We also offer the chance for a therapist to join our ‘Couple Therapist Register’ referring new couple clients direct to your practice (cost £100 per year).

To book a place, there is a non-refundable deposit of £100 payable now. The balance is payable one month before the course start date. 


All four days are needed to learn the basics of couples counselling.  A CPD certificate of 24 hours will be provided on completion of the course.

The course is integrative in nature and the ethical issues of couples counselling are also covered in detail to enable you to be a very capable practitioner. This course weaves threads of:

  • Psychodynamic – understanding how the unconscious attraction process works, and recognising childhood wounds of your partner;
  • Systemic – looking at the particular dynamic of disconnection in the relationship; how each partner moves in the ‘dance’;
  • Gestalt – working with intra psychic conflict in each partner;
  • Humanistic – working with dialogue and empathy between the couple;
  • Attachment – understanding attachment wounds of each partner and how this impacts their current relationship;
  • Behavioural – working out self-change goals for each partner and holding a future vision of what the relationship may be.

Here is a summary of the content of each day:

Introduction to Couples Counselling: first two days


•  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 abuse; 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 two days

• Ethical dilemmas in couples counselling; therapeutic balance;
• 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; how to handle domestic abuse;
• 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

This course will run at least once or twice per year.

There will be maximum of 19 people per course to ensure optimum benefit of the course.

Minimum qualifications required to enrol for the course: the 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.

Cancellation terms: A £100 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve a place. The balance is payable one month before the course start date, and once paid is also non-refundable.  In the event of cancellation with less than one month’s notice, a full refund will be offered if someone from the waiting list takes your place, otherwise the balance payment is also non-refundable.

To pay the deposit, please contact us for payment details.

  • This course has been incredibly informative and beneficial! It has opened my eyes to the world of couples counselling – both the joys and the challenges. I’m excited to add this service to my practice and feel equipped to start! Thank you Debbie and Simon!

Laura, therapist attending 2023 training

  • Thoroughly enjoyed this course as a refresher for my relationship training. Highly recommended, Debbie and Simon were fantastic!

Maria at attending 2023 training


  • I can highly recommend this course on couples counselling. I found it informative and enriching as well as highly relevant and relatable. Many thanks!

Therapist attending 2023 training

  • I found the course to be very informative; good pace and venue. Have signed up for Level Two. Good foundation course.

Therapist attending 2023 training

  • I feel thoroughly equipped and trained to be a competent standard from this excellent four day course. I cannot fault the professionalism, resources, content and delivery of the whole thing. It’s been a pleasure to be so well trained with up to the minute ideas.

Therapist attending 2023 training

  • Had a great experience on this Couples Counselling course; clear and concise training. Lots of handouts and practise. Great location. Great trainers.

Therapist attending 2023 training

  • Loved it! Such a safe space to learn, share and experiment. Will definitely be using what I have learned.

Therapist attending 2023 training

  • This course has been insightful and informative! Would greatly recommend.

Christelle Ntow- Revise Project

  • A great introduction course that goes beyond training in the classroom.

Horizon Therapy

  • This course was an excellent introduction to couples therapy – exploring different models and time to practise. It has piqued my interest to do more training and work with couples.

Therapist attending 2023 training

  • Fabulous course, giving me the tools of understanding that I needed to embark on my journey as a couples therapist. Looking forward to attending level two!

Therapist attending 2023 training


  • Debbie and Simon’s introduction to couples therapy training is one of the most enjoyable and inspiring CPD trainings I’ve attended. They shared their passion for the work with huge generosity and patience. The training was robust, with every aspect carefully considered to ease and encourage our learning, from extensive handouts to fresh fruit during the breaks. It felt like a really safe place to practice new skills and ask questions freely. There was a great combination of theory and experiential practice and although the days were jam-packed they seemed to fly by.        I feel I now have a good understanding of the basics involved in becoming a couples therapist including many of the ethical dilemmas such as working individually with clients alongside couples work, of confidentiality vs transparency as well as the practical issues of drawing up contracts and the wording of client questionnaires. They kindly provided us with a great set of ready-made documents to facilitate our entrée into the world of couples therapy.              What I love too is the ongoing support through their facebook group and the option to be included in their couples therapist directory. If you are thinking of finding out more about couples training I can’t think of a better place to start.

CheryAnn, therapist attending 2021 training

  • A practical course that covers a range of models. I feel I have been introduced to the world of couples counselling in a way that feels thorough, and gives me confidence to begin working with couples. Debbie and Simon have been generous and supportive trainers. A great thing to have done overall!

Therapist attending 2021 London training.

  • An informative in depth introduction to couples counselling. I would most definitely recommend this course. 

SS (therapist attending 2021 London training).

  • I would definitely recommend this course; in depth knowledge of the trainers; gives you all the information you need to be a professional couples therapist 

Therapist attending 2021 London training

  • An engaging and thoroughly useful course. First rate trainers with excellent knowledge and experience. Interactive and enjoyable. Went away feeling informed, empowered and inspired with useful resources. Thank you!

Therapist attending 2018 London training

  • The course was full and packed with good/best practice. Theory was backed up with exercises and the sharing of personal experience. I feel more confident in setting up and running a couples/relationship practice. It also allowed me to review my individual client practice. Thank you for sharing so much in a caring and comprehensive way.

Aidan Lynch (therapist attending 2018 London training)

  • 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 (therapist attending 2019 London training)

  • I found couples training with Debbie and Simon to be extremely valuable for my journey into this specialised profession. Their style of delivery is both informative and absorbing, in a relaxed atmosphere. I would thoroughly recommend this course for those looking to ensure they can deliver a professional couples counselling service to their clients”

Sally Grant, therapist, Berkshire Holistic Therapy

  • Fantastic training. Extremely informative and very well run. Enjoyed trainer’s style of delivery and openness to answer questions. I rate this highly.

Therapist attending 2018 London training

  • The course is incredibly informative and left me feeling very positive and confident about making the move into couples work.

Andy Zeller; psychotherapist in private practice, and counsellor at Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living

  • 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.

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 attending Introduction Course London 2019

  • 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, therapist attending Introduction course in London 2019

  • 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 attending Introduction course in London 2019

  • 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.

Therapist attending Introduction course in London 2017

  • A very contemporary, finger on the pulse course

Angela Robertson, therapist attending 2018 course

  • Will be recommending this course to my colleagues. Packed with lots of practical guidance and very thought provoking. Feel much more prepared for working with not only couples but individuals presenting relationship issues.

Leah, Therapist attending Introduction course in London 2018

  • An excellent overview to couples counselling offering you a strong base to start practice with growing confidence. Thank you!

Isabel; Letchworth Centre; therapist attending Introduction course in London 2017

  • It was a very informative course which covered the different methods of working with couples. Leaves you feeling equipped to work with couples, and if you feel the need to explore in further depth, information is given. Very enjoyable course indeed; fully recommend!

Therapist attending Introduction course in London 2017