1. I’m really interested in couple therapy but have little experience of working with couples. Can I join the practitioner training?
No, unfortunately not. The practitioner training is only open to therapists who already have an initial qualification in Couple Therapy or equivalent experience of treating couple relationships, together with approximately two years’ experience of working with couples with common mental health difficulties. If you are interested in developing your couple therapy skills, but have little or no clinical experience then the Foundation Course is the one for you.
2. I’m a systemic therapist. Is this course suitable for me?
Yes – as long as it included a focus on couple work and you have relevant clinical experience. Couple Therapy for Depression has been developed by identifying best practice in a range of behavioural and other types of couple therapies evidenced in RCT effectiveness trials. It is an integrative model and suitable for couple therapists from a variety of training backgrounds. The training team welcomes applicants from a range of approaches to facilitate a rich learning experience.
3. Is this CPD or a training course?
Both! This is a training course in Couple Therapy for Depression in IAPT Services and those who complete the training will be competent to deliver this particular model as recommended by NICE. The course is described as CPD by the NHS because it is not itself a baseline therapy qualification – it is an add-on to an existing qualification as a couple therapist. It includes assessment of clinical competences and it is possible to not pass the course.
4. I’m a Relate trained therapist. Will you be teaching me anything that I don’t do already?
Yes. As an integrative treatment for depression by couple therapy this 20-session model has never been taught before. Elements of it have, of course, as it is based on behavioural principles and so these may be familiar to you, but as a whole it hasn’t. We have found that this mix of familiarity and unfamiliarity can be disconcerting to some Relate-trained therapists, but others say it is exciting and valuable.
5. How will I be supervised?
TCCR provides up to 24 supervision sessions for this course. You will be expected to participate in either weekly or fortnightly supervision which will be conducted in groups with a maximum of four supervisees. Generally this will require telephone or video conferencing. The length of the session depends on the size of the group but will usually last an hour, to an hour and a half. Trainees should attend a minimum of 80% of the supervision sessions.
6. How will I pass the course?
You will need to attend the five day training course and successfully complete two supervised clinical cases of twenty sessions with couples. You will be required to submit six digital recordings of therapy sessions (three per case), as well as verbal reports of your casework and these need to be rated as competent by your supervisor. We strongly recommend that you self-rate the competencies for each of your recordings.
7. My practice usually offers six sessions of therapy. Why does this model recommend 20 sessions?
We recommend 20 sessions because NICE have specified this number in their guidance for the treatment of depression by couple therapy and our model comes out of their guidance. We appreciate that ordinary clinical practice would make use of a range of number of sessions and we try to be pragmatic within the limits of the existing evidence base. On average, the Integrative Behavioural Couple Therapy literature that forms the backbone of the model suggests between 16-24 sessions and so we try to keep both this and the NICE criteria in mind. What we know about depression is that it is likely to reoccur and that it can be fatal. This makes the model slightly different to ordinary good-enough clinical work with couples. Not least, an important part of the therapy is to reinforce different techniques that couples can put into practice when there is a relapse. With an assessment phase of four sessions and an ending phase of around three sessions, it is clear that a therapy of only a few sessions more than this is unlikely to cover all the things that a couple may need to relieve their distress and keep them safe in the longer-term.