Instructor Training

Where to start

Learn to teach COUPLE COMMUNICATION I & II Programs (plus CORE COMMUNICATION for individuals) for pre-marriage preparation, marriage education, or counseling. The 2-day workshop covers teaching/coaching methods for improving skills of talking, listening, resolving conflicts, and managing anger effectively. The workshop shows you how to use practical tools to help couples build a more collaborative and satisfying relationship. The content in the workshop is integrated with relevant theory and research. (For more about CORE COMMUNICATION, see

Included with the workshop, yet held separately via web-based learning, is facilitator training for the "ThriveSphere Collaborative Marriage Reflectment" Inventory. For more details on ThriveSphere, Click here.

Who Should Attend

The workshop is open to the following:

  • Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists  
  • Psychologists
  • Clinical Social Workers
  • Certified Counselors
  • Clergy
  • Family Life Educators
  • Pastoral Counselors
  • College/University/Seminary Educators in Marriage Preparation, Marriage and Family Therapy, Pastoral Care
  • Leader Couples Who Teach or Mentor Couples in Congregations


The goal of the workshop is for participants to gain a systemic set of methods to help couples and individuals talk, listen, resolve conflicts, and manage anger more effectively.
By attending the workshop, participants will:

  • Identify/experience competencies for coaching communication skills and processes with couples and individuals.
  • Explain major maps and frameworks underlying the communication skills and processes.
  • Practice and apply communication skills, processes, and coaching methods in an interaction (using skills mats as tools).
  • Identify the major theories supporting the skills, processes, and methods for teaching.
  • Experience the major exercises of COUPLE COMMUNICATION I & II and CORE.
  • Choose a course design for working with couples and individuals in a particular setting -- counseling practice, congregation, educational institution, or community center.
  • Identify guidelines for making learning agreements (contracts) with prospective participant couples.

Workshop Learning Methods

The instructor workshop incorporates all COUPLE COMMUNICATION learning modes – presentations, demonstrations, skills practice using skills mats, inventories, and application/transfer exercises. Special attention is focused on how to coach and give feedback effectively to couples. As in the COUPLE COMMUNICATION Program itself, you practice and coach with real issues of your own choosing (appropriate for the setting). In addition, because it is instructor training, you use simulated issues and situations for certain exercises.

Each workshop participant uses a COUPLE COMMUNICATION (CC) Instructor Manual, a CC I Couple Packet, a CC II Instructor Agenda, a CC II Couple Packet, and a CORE COMMUNICATION workbook. For a description of the Couple items and other instructor materials, click here.

For those with major interest of working with individuals, the CORE COMMUNICATION Instructor Manual may be substituted for the COUPLE one or purchased in addition.


Day One

8:00 a.m. Registration/Check In
8:30 a.m. Introduction to the Communication Programs: COUPLE I & II and CORE COMMUNICATION
Presentation - Overview of CC I (with Preview Video), The Couple Packet, Goals, Ground Rules, Definition & 7 Dimensions of a Collaborative Marriage, Instructional Competencies
Communication: Attitude and Behavior
9:15 a.m. Styles of Communication
Presentation - 4 Styles of Talking: The "Low" Road and the "High" Road
Demonstration (Video) - Using the Styles
Exercise Styles of Communication Nonverbally
10:00 a.m. Communication and Issues
Presentation - Types of Issues
Exercise - Identifying Issues
Presentation - Process Contracts
10:15 a.m. Break
10:30 a.m. The Awareness Wheel - The Structure of an Issue & the Basis for Clear Communication
Presentation - The Practical Tool for Dealing with Issues
Exercise - Expanding Awareness Using the Awareness Wheel
Demonstration - Understanding an Issue (with Skills Mat)
12:00 p.m. Lunch Break: Participants Make Own Arrangements
1:00 p.m. Presentation - 6 Talking Skills for Clearer Messages
Demonstration - Instructor-Coaching
Exercise - Practice Using the Awareness Wheel Skills Mat to Process an Issue (in Small Groups, with Coaching), Tracking a Talker
1:45 p.m. The Listening Cycle - A Tool for Effective Listening
Presentation - 5 Attentive Listening Skills & the Listening Cycle
Demonstration - Attentive Listening (with Skills Floor Mat) and Coaching
Exercise - Practice Using the Listening Cycle Skills Mat to Understand (in Small Groups, with Coaching)
3:00 p.m. Conflict Patterns & Collaborative Process
Presentation - Conflict Outcomes/Process, & Mapping Issues
3:30 p.m. Break
3:45 p.m. Demonstration (Video or Live) - Couple Applying 9-Step Process
4:15 p.m. Instructional Designs and Settings
Presentation - Group or Conjoint Program Agendas
4:30 p.m. Course - Contracting with Couples
Presentation - Couple Readiness & Commitment to Participate; Working with Highly Conflicted Couples
4:45 p.m. Inventory and Theory of CC Program
Presentation - ThriveSphere Collaborative Marriage Inventory; Individuation, Consideration, & Systemic Collaboration: Integration with Neuroscience and Attachment Theories
5:30 p.m. Day 1 of Workshop Ends

Day Two

8:00 a.m. Communication Teaching/Coaching Cycle
Presentation and Demonstrations - Tying Competencies Together and Coaching Methods
8:45 a.m. Coaching Practice
Exercise - Coaching Talking/Listening Skills in Mapping an Issue Process
9:45 a.m. CORE COMMUNICATION for Individuals
Presentation - Teaching the Same Skills and Processes to Singles
10:15 a.m. Break
10:30 a.m.

Presentation - Overview of COUPLE COMMUNICATION II and Prerequisites for Couples

The Skills Zone: Collaborative Communication
Demonstration - Inside and Outside the Skills Zone
Exercise - How you leave the Skills Zone
Presentation - Staying Skilled: Leading & Following, Hot & Cold Responses, Stop & Shift

12:00 p.m. Lunch Break: Participants Make Own Arrangements
1:00 p.m.

Demonstration - Creating a Collaborative Operating System

Managing My Anger
Presentation - Typical Focus, Catalysts, & Expressions of Anger
Exercise - A Situation of My Anger
Presentation - Principles & Processes for Managing Self in Anger
Demonstration - Process Use
Exercise - Re-Appraise a Situation of Anger

2:45 p.m. Responding to Partner's Anger
Presentation - Escalating or De-escalating the Anger, Choice Points, Staying Skilled
Demonstration - Options for Responding to Expressions of Anger
Exercise - Customizing Effective Responses
3:30 p.m. Break
3:45 p.m. Aligning the Relationship
Presentation - Overview
3:55 p.m. COUPLE COMMUNICATION II Instructional Designs
Presentation - Options for Your Setting
4:05 p.m. How to Offer Couple Communication Successfully in Your Setting
Presentation - Ingredients of Successful Implementation
4:20 p.m. Action Plan for Your Setting
Exercise - Planning an Approach
4:35 p.m. Program Certification
Presentation - Certification Benefits & Steps
4:50 p.m. Evaluation of Workshop
5:00 p.m. Workshop Ends

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