Special Workshops on

Relationship Enhancement®

and Filial Methods

The 2021 Relationship Enhancement®

and Filial Therapy Conference

May 12 and May 15, 2021

Webinars via Video Conferencing

Sponsored by

National Institute of Relationship Enhancement® (NIRE)

CE Workshops

Because of the continuing Coronavirus situation in the U.S., NIRE is again holding its 2021 RE/Filial Conference virtually via Zoom video conferencing.

This year there are two webinars being offered, on two different days because of scheduling issues for the presenters.

These webinars will also be recorded so that they will become available for on-line viewing once we are able to post them on the NIRE website.

Links for each of the webinars will be sent out the week prior to the respective conference dates.

The two webinars are:

Couples and Infidelity: A Manageable Crisis, held on Wednesday evening May 12 from 7-10:15 pm (Eastern DST)
Wisdom from Play Therapy Extended to Everyday Life: Strategies to Foster Generalization from Louise Guerney’s Parenting Program, held on Saturday May 15 from 10 am – 1:15 pm (Eastern DST)

Registration links for each workshop are provided below.

Workshop Descriptions


Couples and Infidelity: A Manageable Crisis 

Wednesday May 12, 7-10:15 pm. 3 CEUs

Presenter: Raffi Bilek, MSW, LCSW-C

Infidelity is often thought of as a deal breaker for any marriage. A Gallup poll revealed that 62% of partners say they would leave a spouse who was cheating. The reality, however, is that infidelity does not have to mean the end of a relationship – about 70% of couples actually end up staying together after an affair is discovered.

While certainly challenging to deal with clinically, infidelity can be skillfully managed by the therapist in order to facilitate a hoped-for process of healing and reconciliation. Couples facing the upheaval of infidelity in their relationship come in with as varied a presentation as with any other problem – some furious and yelling, some cold and disconnected, some apparently serene and objective. Wherever the couple is starting from, a good understanding of the roadmap for helping them heal from infidelity can ground the therapist and help them guide the couple through the process of healing.

This workshop will lay out the steps from one approach for working with couples dealing with an affair and provide useful perspectives on the process, as well as specific techniques to move through it. Empathic dialogue rooted in the Relationship Enhancement Therapy model will serve as a foundational tool for helping couples through this difficult time in their lives. The goal is to increase therapist confidence in working with couples presenting with infidelity.

Learning objectives: Attendees completing this webinar will be able to:

•    Identify the impact of their own values and experiences on their treatment of infidelity
•    Describe the needs of both partners in the wake of infidelity.
•    Describe a five-stage approach to helping couples facing infidelity.

Raffi Bilek, MSW, LCSW-C is a marriage and family counselor and director of the Baltimore Therapy Center. He is also the director of the Montgomery County (MD) Abuse Intervention Program and the founder of a small nonprofit to provide low-cost family services to his local community. Raffi earned his bachelor’s degree at Brown University and later a master’s degree in social work from Yeshiva University. He has authored five social-issues children’s books. His current writing projects include a couples’ communication handbook and a book on philosophy and linguistics. Raffi speaks four languages.

Standard: Couples and Infidelity: A Manageable Crisis        $60

Student: Couples and Infidelity: A Manageable Crisis          $10



Wisdom from Play Therapy Extended to Everyday Life: Strategies to Foster Generalization from Louise Guerney’s Parenting Program

Saturday May 15, 10 am – 1:15 pm. 3 CEUs

Presenters: Louise Guerney, PhD, RPT-S, and Mary Ortwein, MS, LMFT

Filial Family Therapy remains one of the most effective play therapies for reducing child problems and building parent-child relationships. COVID-19 has even enhanced its value, since it lends itself to COVID restrictions and has adapted well to Telehealth. But how can therapists help parents to generalize play therapy or Relationship Enhancement (RE) Therapy skills to everyday life?  Many parents do it naturally; others need deliberate guidance or need help knowing what skill to use when.

In this webinar, co-founder of Filial Therapy, Louise Guerney, PhD, RPT-S, along with co-presenter Mary Ortwein, MS, LMFT, will present ways that practitioners of Filial Therapy, Child-Centered Play Therapy, and RE Therapy can use Louise Guerney’s Parenting Skills program to further the generalization of RE and Filial skills by parents.

After a brief review of the skills in Guerney’s Parenting: A Skills Training Manual and their relationship to the skills of other RE model therapies, Louise and Mary will show workshop participants how to use the revised Clinician’s and Educator’s Guide to the Parenting Skills Program to complete Filial Therapy and supplement other Guerney-based models.

With a focus on skills for Structuring and Using Limits and Consequences, the workshop will guide clinicians in strategies that help parents move as needed from a focus that is child-centered to a focus where parents need to be directive.  Awareness of this progression enables parents to match parenting to child behavior in ways that work well for both parent and child.

Webinar will include lecture, discussion, demonstration, and practice.

Learning Objectives: Attendees completing this webinar will be able to:

  1. Identify how integrating parenting skills instruction that is compatible with Filial Therapy, Child-Centered Play Therapy, or RE therapy can improve generalization of therapy to everyday life
  2. Describe how to integrate the skills of the Guerney parenting program into the final stage of Filial therapy
  3. Describe how to guide parents to effectively match the appropriate parenting skill to everyday parenting situations

Louise Guerney, PhD, RPT-S, is the co-creator of Filial Therapy with Bernard Guerney, PhD, and the creator of the nationally recognized Parenting: A Skills Training Program, which was cited by the Department of Justice as one of 25 effective parenting programs. This program has been used widely with foster parents, parents in inner city and rural locales, Head Start parents, mothers in prison, parents of infants, preschool, school-aged children and adolescents, as well as parents of children with disabilities. Her most recent publication is Group Filial Therapy: The Complete Guide to Teaching Parents to Play Therapeutically with their Children (Jessica Kingsley, 2013). Louise, together with Mary Ortwein, is completing a revision of the Clinician’s and Educator’s Guide to the Parenting Skills Program.

Mary Ortwein, MS, LMFT, is co-author with Bernard Guerney of numerous Relationship Enhancement® programs, including Mastering the Mysteries of Love, Love’s Cradle, Relationship Enhancement® for Refugees and Immigrants, Ready for Love, and Mastering the Mysteries of Sacramental Love.  She also has authored Mastering the Magic of Play, a training manual for parents in Filial Therapy. Since her semi-retirement, she spends a couple of days a week with the carebound and their families in her church.  Her experiences and relationships from this work have led to a new curriculum within her Catholic faith, “Jesus is Coming to Your House Today: Communion with Community for the Carebound,” as well as “Dessert Dialogues.”

Standard:  Wisdom from Play Therapy Extended to Everyday Life          $60

Student:  Wisdom from Play Therapy Extended to Everyday Life              $10



Schedule: Each three-hour webinar will have one 15-minute break.

CE Credits

IDEALS/NIRE is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. IDEALS/NIRE maintains responsibility for each program and its content. NIRE has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 5560. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. NIRE is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. IDEALS/NIRE is approved by the Maryland State Board of Social Workers to offer Category 1 continuing education programs for social workers. NIRE also is approved by the Association for Play Therapy to offer continuing education specific to play therapy. APT Approved Provider 95-009. IDEALS/NIRE maintains responsibility for the program.

Each webinar will earn attendees 3 CE credits.

A CE Certificate will be issued to you attesting to your completion of each webinar attended and documenting the CE credits you have earned.


The fee for each 3-hour workshop is $60.

The fee for currently enrolled, full-time graduate students is $10.00 for each workshop.

For further information, please call NIRE at 301-680-8977.

We look forward to seeing you virtually on May 12 and May 15!

Rob Scuka, Ph.D.
Executive Director
National Institute of Relationship Enhancement®