Professional Education

Continuing Education

Council for Relationships offers continuing education classes throughout the year for psychologists, counselors, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and clergy. We are approved by the following organizations to sponsor continuing education:

  • American Psychological Association
  • Pennsylvania State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors
  • New Jersey State Board of Marriage and Family Therapists

The number of continuing education credit hours available for each program is listed with the workshop description. Individuals must attend the entire workshop in order to receive the credit hours listed.

All of our continuing education classes are held at our University City Office, located at 4025 Chestnut Street, 1st Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Our workshops are 100% refundable up to two weeks before the date of the workshop.

Click here to register online for one or more of our continuing education workshops.

If you would like additional information on any of our workshops/intensives for CE credits, please contact us at (215) 382-6680 or

2015-2016 Continuing Education Workshops


Intensive:  Trauma
Instructor: Bea Hollander-Goldfein, Ph.D, LMFT
Date: Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
CE credits: 5.5

This workshop will provide an overview of the field of Trauma studies through the exploration of an evolving integrated model of coping and adaptation after extreme trauma developed over the past 20 years by the Transcending Trauma Project. Important concepts in the field of trauma will emerge through this model which will also serve as an introduction to the consideration of the intergenerational impact of trauma.  The workshop will review the definition of PTSD, the expansion of PTSD termed complex PTSD and the co-existence of post trauma effects along with coping and adaptive strategies. The inclusion of the study of coping and the study of resilience has certainly addressed the skewed emphasis on pathology that characterized the field prior to the 90’s. Advances in understanding human development and human functioning, in addition to the major contributions of the new brain science, have added to our understanding of trauma’s impact. The interpersonal perspective applied to trauma studies is a logical extension of systemically oriented concepts. Treatment approaches will be discussed briefly reviewing the general principles of working with trauma individually and systemically.


  1. Describe the development of the Trauma studies field from emphasis on pathology to a more integrated understanding of post traumatic effects.
  2. Discuss an integrated model of coping and adaptation after extreme trauma that includes various models of traumatic impact and post trauma adaptation.
  3. Compare and contrast the relationship between individual and familial development pre-trauma and individual and familial development post-trauma.
  4. Discuss the contribution of the new brain science and mind/body approaches to an understanding of trauma’s impact and the treatment of post traumatic symptoms.
  5. Analyze excerpts of interview transcripts for a deeper understanding of the relational context for post traumatic impact and the development of successful adaptation.


Intensive: Substance Abuse
Instructor: Bill Coffey, MSS, LCSW
Date: Friday, March 4, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
CE credits: 5.5

The disorders of substance abuse are common, costly, and challenging to understand or treat.  Denial of disease and resistance to treatment are hallmarks of these conditions in the individuals who suffer from them and often in their family and social systems.  Even when the disorders are acknowledged and treated wholeheartedly, treatment failure is frequent.  Our true understanding of their complexity is surprisingly limited.

In this one day Intensive my approach will focus on how to:  identify these disorders;  understand the current knowledge regarding the neural, genetic, and systemic pathology of these disorders; and care for those with these disorders based on decades of empirical experience integrated with the current state of knowledge about therapeutic and biologic approaches.


  1. Identify substance abuse disorders.
  2. Describe treatment approaches for substance abuse that are empirically validated.
  3. Describe the current state of knowledge about therapeutic and biologic approaches to the substance abuse.
  4. Critique the limited scope of our understanding of substance abuse and what this means for clinical practice.


Intensive: Intimate Family Violence
Instructor: Rita DeMaria, Ph.D., LMFT, LSW
Date: Monday, March 7, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM- 3:00 PM
CE credits: 5.5

This intensive workshop will provide a broad-based perspective on intimate family violence. Contemporary issues in working with family violence will be addressed along with specific recommendations for clinical practice. Child abuse and neglect will be discussed along with current guidelines for therapeutic intervention. The presentation will include a historical perspective, an overview of research, and practical requirements for addressing intimate family violence. Video presentations will serve to heighten awareness and increase sensitivity to these issues. Participants will be provided a directory of resources for the greater Philadelphia area.


  1. Review recent research on family violence.
  2. Identify types of family violence.
  3. Identify patterns of intergenerational family violence.
  4. Increase emotionally focused strategies for interventions with victims of family violence.
  5. Identify community resources to support individuals and children who are victims of family violence.


Intensive: Families in Transition – Part I and Part II
Instructors: Priscilla Singleton, MSW, LCSW, LMFT and Michele Southworth, JD, LMFT
Date:  Part I – Tuesday, May 17, 2016; Part II – Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
CE credits: 5.5 for each part

The phenomenon of divorce has a large presence in modern-day America. Most clinicians will encounter the following constellation of issues in their practices: 1) couples making decisions about whether to stay in their marriages  2) families struggling at the brink or in the midst of the divorce transition; and 3) children and adult children of divorce, and post-divorce families dealing with single or shared parenting.

This intensive workshop will delineate the stages of the divorce process in its functional and dysfunctional aspects, as it unfolds for the adults and the children in the family, as well as for the family as a whole.  It will also consider the special strengths and limitations of the different forms that the post-divorce family can take.  We will discuss family dynamics and treatment approaches for adults in conflict and for children under stress.  The class will also cover treatment modalities such as mediation, co-parent counseling and parent coordination so that attendees can be well-informed about the options available to help the divorcing families with whom they may work.

Part I Objectives:

  1. Discuss the research and current theory concerning the origins of modern divorce.
  2. Describe psychological aspects and clinical implications related to an individual or a couple’s decision to divorce.
  3. Apply techniques of how to work with a family through the stresses and challenges of the process of physical separation, to optimize chances of a healthy adjustment for all family members.
  4. Describe available options for clients in their choice of professionals and process, including mediation, collaborative divorce, lawyer-negotiate divorce, and traditional adversarial divorce, as well as what factors to consider in guiding divorcing clients in making these choices.
  5. Discuss the impact of the legal system on divorcing families.
  6. Describe the process of accepting finality of the end of a marriage, how to help the various family members with this process, and the implications of the failure of this process.

Part II Objectives:

  1. Compare the differences between high and low conflict divorces, the factors that contribute to high and to low conflict divorces, and the impact on children and adults of a high conflict divorce.
  2. Compare the differences in the experience of divorce for mothers, fathers, children, the nuclear family and the extended family.
  3. Discuss co-parenting post-divorce in the bi-nuclear family, including the positives and the risks of joint legal custody and shared decision-making, and the use of parenting plans.
  4. Compare the differences in post-divorce co-parenting in low and high conflict divorces, and about some of the interventions available to assist families with co-parenting in high conflict situations.
  5. Discuss the phenomenon of visitation refusal, current controversies in the field about this issue, and what interventions are available to assist families who deal with this challenging situation.
  6. Describe common issues in the divorced family in later life, and treatment options for issues that arise.
  7. Discuss research and recommended interventions concerning common issues for adult children of divorce.
  8. Describe interventions designed to address the unique structure of re-partnered and remarried families.


Intensive: Spirituality
Instructors: Flo Stiffler, M.Div, LMFT
Date: Friday, May 27, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
CE credits: 5.5

It is an interesting coincidence that the Sanskrit word nirvana and the English word “spirit” both come from a root that means “wind.”  The word “spirit” means the wind sends our sails into the real life of a lived world.  Our calling as therapists is a spiritual endeavor.  We journey with our clients as they seek truth and beauty – we encourage our clients to access resources that enhance their physical, sexual and emotional well-being. Awareness of the spiritual components of our clients’ lives can be a rich therapeutic resource.  As clinicians, our own spiritual beliefs can help or hinder our clients’ journeys.  This workshop is designed to help clinicians explore and deepen their understanding of their own beliefs and worldviews and spark creative thinking about exploring spiritual themes and resources with clients.


  1. Discuss how to encourage clients to access resources that enhance their physical, sexual, and emotional well-being.
  2. Describe the process of helping clients experience serenity out of anxiety, joy out of depression, hope out of hopelessness, and courage out of fear.
  3. Describe how therapists create a safe haven for clients so that they can engage with the real world.


Intensive: The Gender Spectrum & Family Therapy
Instructor: TBA
Date: Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM-3:00 PM
CE credits: 5.5

Cultural shifts in gender roles, gender expression and the emergence of previously unacknowledged gender identities, are having an impact on couples, families and our heteronormative, gender binary-based view of relationships and family therapy.   This intensive will provide foundational information for the new discourse of gender, gender identities and sexual orientation.   We will explore the richness of gender diversity as well as the challenges of gender nonconformity for individuals, couples and families.  Special attention will be given to the challenges and resources presented by faith-based communities to clients exploring the gender spectrum.


  1. Describe and list concepts and definitions in the discourse of gender and sexual orientation.
  2. Critically engage life experiences by analyzing the dynamics of bias in the gender binary system.
  3. List sources of resources and challenges for gender diverse clients, couples, and families.
  4. Apply increased knowledge and sensitivity of gender diversity and justice issues to clinical work and reflect on how this knowledge and sensitivity impact therapeutic relationships.


Intensive: Sex Addiction and Compulsivity
Instructor:  Jordan Leif, PsyD.
Date:  Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
CE credits: 5.5

In this one day intensive course, participants will learn about the etiology of sex and love addiction, and about the underlying causes for this behavioral pattern.  Proper assessment and diagnosis will also be reviewed.  In a section entitled “The Experience of the Addict”, participants will get to know what the addiction looks and feels like.  They will be introduced to the Addiction System and the Addiction Cycle.  A good deal of time will be spent discussing treatment issues, and how a multi-faceted treatment approach usually yields the best results.  Participants will learn about sexual sobriety and how its definition varies from patient and patient.  Lastly, the issue of long term recovery will be reviewed.  Time permitting, other potential topics include relapses vs. slips, working with spouses and partners, and couples therapy issues.


  1. Describe what types of experiences and environments can lead to sex and love addiction.
  2. Assess and diagnose for sex and love addiction.
  3. List DSM diagnosis for sex and love addiction.
  4. Describe how sexual and love addicts behave, think and feel.
  5. Describe the Addiction System and the Addiction Cycle.
  6. Discuss the multi-faceted treatment approach for sex and love addiction.
  7. Describe sexual sobriety and the possibilities for long term recovery.


Helping Vets Get Help: Operation Home and Healing’s Intensive for Mental Health Service Providers
Instructor: Will Barnes, D.Min, MFT, and Nancy Isserman, PhD, MSW
Dates: Mondays, June 20 and June 27, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
CE credits: 11 (must attend both dates)

America’s Armed Forces have always operated in the face of significant duty and military life challenges. Military service is by its very nature inherently stressful! During periods of active conflict, as             during the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, many Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen, and their family members were exposed to a wide array of physical and/or psychological trauma. These military experiences and their associated physical, psychological, social, and spiritual consequences often follow military members and their families into their post-service life as Veterans and Veteran-connected families.

The personal and family challenges associated with post-service life are important risk factors for mental health problems. They are also often at the root of dysfunctional personal and family relationships. For the military member, the Veteran, and for their family members, the stigma and shame often associated with mental health issues in our society, as well as other barriers to care, often lead to profound suffering, sometimes persisting for a lifetime and frequently transmitted across generations.  Our awareness and appreciation of diversity, in particular the unique cultural factors associated with military service and Veteran’s status, are especially important with regard to success in establishing and sustaining effective clinical relationships with this population.


  1. Identify key components of military culture that impact the mental health of our nation’s military/Veteran population and their family members.
  2. Recognize mental health problems and relationship dysfunction through the lens of this population and their experiences.
  3. Recognize the parameters of the transmission of trauma and other military mental health and relational disorders within families and across generations.
  4. Discuss specific clinical skills that will better serve the needs of military members, Veterans, and military/Veteran-connected family members