General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Couples counselling and relationship enhancement
Language English
Module lecturer Mark Widdowson, Monika Zielona-Jenek
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position visiting professor, senior leturer
Faculty Faculty of Psychology and Cognitive Science
Semester 2024/2025 (summer)
Duration 30
USOS code 23-PIE-CCR


The course consists of four full-day workshops conducted over two weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) in April and May 2025. Each workshop runs from 9 AM to 4 PM, with breaks.

Campus Szamarzewo (Szamarzewskiego 89). Precise information regarding the room number and building will be provided before the semester starts.

Module aim (aims)

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)


Workshop 1:   The scope and nature of couples counseling
Identifying similarities and differences (in terms of process and therapist skills) between individual therapy and couples counseling. Developing a couple-oriented 'view' of the counseling process.Suitability for couples counseling and management of ethical issues.

Workshop 2:   Assessment of relationship strengths and areas of relationship difficulties
Intake, screening, and assessment. Helping a couple to identify and articulate their difficulties. The principles of the assessment process and identifying a therapeutic focus. 

Workshop 3:   Conflict and communication
Identifying and intervening in conflict cycles. Identifying and changing problematic behaviors and thought processes that generate conflict. Prevention and management of conflict. Effective communication strategies

Workshop 4:   Sex, emotional intimacy and dealing with specific difficulties in couples work
Supporting couples to increase their sense of emotional and physical intimacy. Addressing common sexual difficulties. Relationship enhancement strategies.

The course is conducted in a workshop format (i.e., interactive). Students are required to participate in class activities, read obligatory readings, and complete individual reflective activities.

The learning outcomes are assessed by the completion of a workbook, which contains reflective activities and summaries of aspects of the theory and practice of couples counseling.

Reading list

Wachtel, E. (2019) The heart of couple therapy. Routledge.
Gottman, J. & Silver, N. (1999) The seven principles for making marriage work. Crown publishers.