Toxicity in Couple Relationships is often the underlying factor in a number of manifestations – in visible forms including physical, sexual and emotional abuse and in not so apparent linkages with chronic depression, habitual anxiety and individual psychological morbidity. When toxicity is manifest as violence in intimate relationships, it is also a key risk factor for serious harm including child maltreatment and fatal violence.

At this practical and intellectually stimulating e-learning course, which is aimed at therapists working with couples whose relationships have turned toxic, as well as victims and perpetrators of intimate partner violence, Dr Gwen Adshead and Gerry Byrne integrate psychological and criminological data with clinical illustrations to examine the complex manifestations and specific causes of toxicity in couple relationships. The course draws on perspectives from Attachment Theory to evaluate the roles played by the individuals involved and examines the addictive nature of these damaging relationships; while demonstrating and explaining mentalisation based therapeutic techniques that we can use, when working with couples. Looking through examples and discussing specific case examples, our aim is to assimilate the therapeutic approaches that work best in such cases. Interactive exercises will also allow delegates to evaluate their own case materials.

Key discussion themes for the day include:

  • A review of theories that explain how intimate relationships develop in humans; with particular reference to Attachment Theory and the development of mentalisation skills
  • The effect of intimate relationships on affect regulation and how this explains linkages between personal and social identities
  • The influence of cultural and social stereotypes on how intimacy is conceived and perceived – and how this affects couples
  • The addictive force and power of violent relationships – the roles of passion, destructiveness, jealousy and a wish to control one’s partner
  • The forces that keep toxic relationships going, with reference to intra-psychic as well as social factors
  • How early experiences of disturbed attachments are repeated and re-enacted in toxic relationships
  • We discuss a typology of violent relationships, looking at the destructive dynamics that maintain these and the unconscious fantasies of security and love that underlie them

Using illustrative case vignettes and discussions, this e-learning course offers clinical examples of therapy and examines the evidence base for interventions with violent couples, specifically drawing on MBT and psychoanalytic couple therapy.

CPD Hours: 5

Ticket prices:

Individual ticket for 2 year access: £125
(note: if you face any problems booking online, please call us at 020 7096 1722)