Sunday, May 25, 2014

Specialized Training in Couples Therapy

        I had the pleasure of spending two days with Dr. Andrew Christensen for an Integrative Behavioral Couples Therapy (IBCT)/Marriage Counselling training organized by my dear friends at the Contextual Psychology Institute in Montreal. The short and sweet: the training was amazing and Andy is one of the most kind and genuine people I have ever met.

My post could simply end there or I could go on about the data supporting IBCT but look at the smile on Andy's face!

Andy and I in Montreal, 2014

You can just tell he's a sweet guy. Let me get on to the good stuff. Those who know me, know I spend a lot of time talking about the a-word.. acceptance. This is a distinctive feature of IBCT, something I have been interested in for a while now. I've been doing some readings and even watching APA's video of Andy doing a session using IBCT with a couple (he is a very talented clinician). IBCT fits in perfectly with my practice: it's a third wave behaviour therapy (beyond CBT), and is an empirically supported, evidence-based practice; something that again, I view as important: I want to know that what I'm practicing is "good medicine" and validated with strong data.

You may ask, what makes IBCT distinct and particularly interesting considering the plethora of other approaches to working with couples therapeutically. Of note, IBCT creates powerful clinical experiences through functional analysis, promoting legitimate behaviour change. I also appreciate the formal assessment time that allows for a clear case conceptualization. A fellow training attendee in Montreal whose dissertation randomized an IBCT trial told me that the therapists sharing of the assessment results and case conceptualization with their clients made substantial positive gains in the couples' relationships.

So, what about the acceptance part? Well, I could talk to you about it and show some data on how acceptance is more efficacious than cognitive restructuring but check out this video instead, I think it has a beautiful message that ties in acceptance nicely.

Our relationships matter, I am deeply moved in working with people who commit their lives to one another. I think they are incredible and inspiring,