September 18, 2019

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  • Need to get 5.5 Category A hours?
  • Practicing as a psychologist, social worker, licensed professional counselor or licensed marriage and family therapist?
  • A student in graduate school?
  • Appropriate for beginning, intermediate or advance level


  • Want to add new tools to your couple therapy skills?
  • Want to deepen your understanding of unconventional approaches to effect couple change?
  • Want to find ways to incorporate movies and story into your work with couples?

WHAT (Overview)

Milton Erikson was a pioneer in the use of unconventional therapies. He successfully incorporated metaphor, story and paradox into his on-going work with clients.

In this presentation, Matthew Alexander, Ph.D. will apply Erikson’s approach to working with couples. In particular he will provide a rationale for the use of these therapies in marriage therapy and provide specific examples of how to use metaphor, paradox and story to effect change with committed couples.

Metaphors will be explained that are useful for the following situations, among others:

  • Infidelity
  • Family of origin disparities between couples
  • Repair of attachment wounds
  • Negative reciprocal feedback loops
  • Homeostatic principles
  • Forgiveness
  • Learning new behaviors

Attendees will be asked to share powerful metaphors they have already used in their own practice so that other health care professionals in attendance can benefit from the collective wisdom of the group.

The principle of paradoxical intervention will be presented. Specific applications will be made to couple therapy including the utility of:

  • Providing a worse alternative to influence positive change
  • Encouraging a relapse to help couples reframe conflict
  • Emphasizing the “positive” to strengthen motivation
  • Prescribing the symptom in order to improve adherence to treatment

Finally the use of story will be discussed. Here the following will occur:

  • The presenter will describe some of Erikson’s stories that he used to effect change
  • The use of story as a means of indirect suggestion, with particular emphasis on referencing past successful outcomes in couple therapy, will be discussed
  • The application of cinematherapy to couple therapy, in particular the use of two Hollywood films with specific discussion questions, will be described

  • Describe the impact of Milton Erikson on the practice of psychotherapy
  • Identify the rationale for using metaphor, paradox and story in couple therapy
  • Apply the use of metaphor to your own practice by identifying at least five metaphors to use with couples
  • Describe three paradoxical techniques that are useful in couple therapy
  • Identify the rationale, research and application of cinematherapy to couple therapy
  • Identify two movies that are of great utility in working with couples
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The terms marriage therapy and couple therapy are used interchangeably and the material presented will be applicable to all couples. Relevant movie clips will be used to anchor workshop insights and, when appropriate, trigger discussion.

5.5 CE hours (category A) are provided for psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists and licensed professional counselors. It is the participant’s responsibility to check with their individual state boards to verify CE requirements for their state.


Fall: September 18, 2019  8:00 to 4:00


Cornwell Center, 2001 Selwyn Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28207

(704) 927-0774


$239 Standard (includes power point presentation)

$28.95 (Pre-Order) Five Marital Conficts and How to Resolve Them (Money,

Parenting, Sex, Division of Labor, In-Laws): The Guide to Getting Along

Deadline for Registration: September 16, 2018

Accommodations for the Differently Abled

Alexandertherapy’s training facilities are handicap accessible. Individuals needing special accommodations please contact Dr. Matthew Alexander, (704) 371-3070. Grievances would receive, to the best of our ability, corrective action in order to prevent future problems.

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