RE Therapy

shutterstock_12236728IDEALS for Families and Communities provides 4 days of professional training workshops to train mental health professionals in the Relationship Enhancement Method (RE) of therapy.  The Relationship Enhancement® Method was developed by Dr. Bernard Guerney, Jr. and his colleagues at the Pennsylvania State University in the latter part of the 20th century.  It has a long history of effectiveness.  (See Relationship Enhancement in the 3rd column)

Combined, the four one-day workshops provide full training in the RE method.  Individually, the workshops provide therapists with opportunities to integrate RE methods in with their current practice.

The four workshops are described below in their preferred sequence.  However, it is possible to take any workshop independently.

Each day of training is $95 with 6 CE or$55 without CE. In the summer of  2011 students enrolled in a full-time mental health training program may attend ALL FOUR days for a $35 materials fee.  [If you schedule does not permit you to attend all four days, you may attend one, two, or three days for $35.  However, at least three days must be attended in order to qualify for RE Therapy supervision.] To register, email, or call 502-227-0055.  These workshops are presented by Mary Ortwein, MS, LMFT, co-author with Dr. Bernard Guerney of several RE based programs, and RE therapy supervisor/trainer.

Upcoming Dates for  Summer of 2011 are:

May 18:  RE Basics One:  The Eleven RE Skills for Therapists

May 24:  RE Therapy Basics Two:  Starting Couples on a Different Path

May 25:  RE Therapy Basics Three:  Creating Healing Conversations

May 26:  Special Skills for Couples in Crisis and Despair


Below is detailed information about each workshop.

The 11 Relationship Enhancement Skills for Therapists

The foundation of all Relationship Enhancement interventions is the 11 RE skills.  This workshop, aimed at professionals, teaches the rationale, skill steps, and therapeutic context for: Empathy, Expression, Discussion, Problem Solving, Self-Change, Helping Others Change, Coaching, Conflict Management, Forgiveness, Generalization, and Maintenance Skills in one day.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of the training participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate Empathy, Expression, Discussion, and Problem Solving Skills
  • Use RE materials to practice Coaching, Self-Change, Helping Others Change, and Forgiveness Skills.
  • Understand the rationale behind Conflict Management, Generalization and Maintenance Skills.

6 CE Agenda:


Overview of Relationship Enhancement Interventions and the 11 RE Skills
Processes for learning skills: Experiential, Behavioral, and Skills Training Concepts

Empathy Skill, Expression Skill, and Discussion Skill


Coaching Skill, Problem Solving, Self-Change, and Helping Others Change Skills

Forgiveness Skill

Conflict Management Skill, Generalization, and Maintenance

RE Therapy Basics 2: Starting Couples on a Different Path

How do you use the 11 RE skills in therapy to transform troubled relationships?  This 6 CE training  teaches the basics of RE therapy, including setting up intakes so couples get down to work immediately, managing couple conflict in and out of your office, and enabling couples to have a different kind of conversation using empathy, expression, and discussion skills.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of the training participants will be able to:

•    Conduct an intake that follows the RE process to start change in the intake session
•    Use RE Coaching and Conflict Management Skills to immediately change conflict patterns
•    Teach and coach Empathy, Expression, and Discussion Skills

6 CE Agenda


RE Therapy Overview: Time-Designated, Experiential, and Crisis Formats.  Focus on Time-Designated Format
Demonstration of an RE Intake

Discussion of Intake Demonstration
Teaching Conflict Management Skill to Conflictual Couples
Practice Helping Couples Implement Conflict Management Plans

Teaching Empathy


Teaching Expression & Discussion

Coaching Initial Dialogues

Practice Conducting an RE Intake

Dialoguing for Change

How do you change a couple’s relationship by helping them have a different kind of conversation?  In this 6 CE workshop you will learn how to combine RE skills, your own empathic capacity, and special coaching techniques to enable troubled couples to redesign their relationship while they talk through issues.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this workshop participants will be able to:

•    Model and prompt couples in dialogue to use RE skills
•    Deepen dialogues by using your own empathic capacity to name what’s not quite been said
•    Move couples from surface events to solutions that work for each person

6 CE Agenda


Video demonstration of couple working through issues in RE
Discussion to identify elements of intervention, use of Experiential Model

Techniques: Identifying underlying positives, Becoming, Identifying vulnerable and loving feelings

Dyad practice with techniques


Practice session in triads

Helping Couples Move from Discussion to Problem Solving Demonstration

Practice session in triads

Advanced Relationship Enhancement Techniques for Couples in Crisis and Despair

This workshop teaches advanced techniques often needed to work effectively with couples ready to end their relationship.  These interventions include Becoming,  Laundering, and Troubleshooting.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of the training participants will be able to:

•    Use Becoming and Laundering to enable couples to acknowledge and express intense negative emotions safely
•    Use Becoming and Laundering to enable couples to access and express blocked positive feelings
•    Use Troubleshooting to overcome resistance and increase flexible thinking

6 CE Agenda


Group creation of troubled couple scenario for the day
Intake demonstration of this troubled couple

Becoming practice, based on Created Troubled Couple
Practice in 4’s

Demonstration of Laundering, based on Created Troubled Couple
Practice in 4’s


Troubleshooting Demonstration and Practice in 2’s
Creation of a Second Troubled Couple for Practice

Last 2 hours: Triad practice, Based on Second Troubled Couple
Each person has about 30 minutes to be therapist