Date: Saturday 21th November 2020

Time: 9:00AM till 4:00PM

PD hours: 7

Couple and family work can be confronting and challenging to new and experienced Therapists alike, especially when highly conflicting clients enter the room. For many Therapists anxiety levels rise leaving them wondering how they will manage the session without the conflict escalating out of control. In some instances, safety of all people (including the Therapist) needs to be considered and managed.

In this one-day course students will learn how to engage a couple or family, manage both the couples’ and the Therapist’s anxiety, and manage escalation of the conflict in the therapy room and outside of it. There will be an emphasis on learning systemic circular questioning and Milan hypothesizing, as well as key ideas from Solution Focused Therapy to provide containment and structure.

Jacqueline will share over 20 years’ experience working with couples, families and children, families with adolescents, separated families and adult families.

This is a practical course where students are provided with clear ideas and a step-by-step process to manage conflict and complex couple and family presentations.Participants will be shown how to work with a high conflict couple and family session in a productive and helpful way.

Learning will be by couple and family case presentations, class discussion and group work.


  • Participants will understand systemic ideas and the difference between interpersonal work and intra-psychic work.
  • Participants will understand how to manage a first and second session where a couple or family have presented in a volatile way and are in crisis.
  • Participants will be able to positively connote and have a basic understanding of circular questioning.
  • Participants will be able to construct and work with a genogram.
  • Participants will understand how to systemically hypothesize.
  • Participants will understand how to engage a couple or family and keep the session balanced.
  • Participants will understand how to manage their own anxiety and potential trigger responses to crisis situations.
  • Participants will be provided with practical ideas to manage conflict in their sessions with high conflict clients.
  • Participants will feel more confident approaching high conflict couples and families.

View testimonials for this course here.

jacqueline finalCourse presenter

Jacqueline McDiarmid MCFT, B.Couns., Dip. Psych, is the Director of the Sydney Couple and Family Specialists, a private practice in Sydney and the Director of The Couple and Family Training Centre where she runs professional development training sessions and a mentoring program for those who wish to work in couple and family therapy. She currently lectures in the Masters program at the Jansen Newman Institute and guest lecturers at various universities. Jacqueline is well known for her work with couples and families and is passionate about offering clients the opportunity to experience a safe and productive place to work with well trained Couple and Family Therapists. Jacqueline is a Clinical Member of the Family Therapy Association of Australia and a Clinical Member of PACFA.