Special Workshops on

Relationship Enhancement®

and Filial Methods

The 2022 Relationship Enhancement®

and Filial Therapy Conference

April 30, May 7 and May 14, 2022

for three separate Saturday morning presentations

Live Interactive Webinars via Zoom

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 2022 RE/Filial Conference virtually via Zoom video conferencing.

This year there are three webinars being offered on three different Saturday mornings 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 three webinars are:

Advanced Topics in Relationship Enhancement Couples Therapy. Saturday April 30 from 10 am – 1:15 pm (Eastern time zone). 3 CEUs.

Using Practice Groups to Help Individuals and Couples Better Integrate  Relationship Enhancement Skills into their Daily Lives.  Saturday, May 7 from 11 am – 2:15 pm (Eastern time zone).   3 CEUs.

Filial Therapy for a Child with a Chronic Skin Condition. Saturday, May 14 from 10 am – 12:15 pm (Eastern time zone). 2 CEUs.


Please go to: https://nire.org/workshop-registration/

Workshop Descriptions

Advanced Topics in Relationship Enhancement Couples Therapy

Saturday, April 30, 10 am – 1:15 pm (Eastern time zone). 3 CEUs

Presenter: Robert Scuka, Ph.D., M.S.W., LCSW-C

This webinar will explore a variety of issues that not uncommonly come up during the course of RE Couples Therapy that can complicate the therapy process. It will also address important considerations for RE therapists to be aware of to increase their effectiveness while conducting RE Therapy.

The first issue to be explored is the delicate issue in cases of infidelity between helping the involved partner assume full and exclusive responsibility for their violation of the boundaries of their marriage or intimate relationship while helping both the involved partner and hurt partner come to understanding the vulnerability factors that rendered the involved partner more susceptible to engaging in infidelity. The additional crucial point is that none of those vulnerability factors can ever be invoked to justify the decision to engage in infidelity. The three types of vulnerability factors will be outlined, along with numerous examples of each.

The second issue to be explored is the crucial importance of the RE therapist constantly listening empathetically to what the Expresser shares during the course of a dialogue in order to be able to “read between the lines” so that the therapist can engage in the advanced RE therapy technique of “Becoming” the Expresser. The goal of Becoming is to help deepen both the Expresser’s self-understanding and the Empathizer’s ability to understand their partner better. A variety of clinical examples from the presenter’s couples therapy cases will be presented.

A third issue to be explored is the not uncommon tendency on the part of many people to misinterpret a legitimate criticism of their behavior as a criticism of themselves as a person. This (typically unconscious) mental/emotional “translation” of the former into the latter then manifests as a defensive verbal response that implicitly rejects the legitimacy of the criticism of their behavior and shuts down the possibility of constructive dialogue because the person feels attacked as a person. It is important for the RE therapist to observe this defensive response in order to help that individual recognize the distinction between criticism of behavior vs. criticism of them as a person, so that the partner’s actual issue has a chance of being addressed on its own terms.

In addition, a variety of briefer but important issues that come up in RE Therapy will also be addressed.

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

  1. Identify the three types of vulnerability factors that can render a person more susceptible to engaging in infidelity, along with multiple examples of each
  2. Describe the importance of the therapist process of “reading between the lines” so as to be able to employ therapist Becoming to deepen a couple’s dialogue process
  3. Describe the distinction between criticism of a person’s behavior versus criticism of the person as a person, and the importance of this distinction to the effectiveness of a couple’s dialogue process

Robert Scuka, Ph.D., M.S.W., LCSW-C, is Executive Director of the National Institute of Relationship Enhancement® in Kensington, MD, a senior member of its training faculty, and the lead trainer in RE Therapy. Rob is author of Relationship Enhancement Therapy: Healing Through Deep Empathy and Intimate Dialogue (Routledge, 2005) as well as a number of professional articles, including “A Clinician’s Guide to Helping Couples Heal from the Trauma of Infidelity.”

Using Practice Groups to Help Individuals and Couples Better Integrate
Relationship Enhancement Skills into their Daily Lives

Saturday, May 7, 11 am – 2:15 pm (Eastern time zone). 3 CEUs

Presenters: Céline Barrau, Monique Ducarre, Lise Nathanson, France Sarradon, Nicole Sarradon

“Our relational patterns have been developed unconsciously from the relational experiences we have had throughout our lives. They have built up a program within us consisting of a coherent set of cognitive, emotional and behavioral strategies that we reproduce with the people around us. These strategies are inscribed in our physiology and modifying them requires building new neuronal connections that offer our brain and body new pathways to feel, think and act differently. It is therefore essential to accompany these changes through reminders, training and role-playing.” Marie Pugeat, RE Supervisor

Having people practice the RE skills is a crucial element of the Relationship Enhancement (RE) skills-training approach. It has also been shown by research to be one of the most effective teaching modes in Couples Education Programs. Creating practice groups, led by a certified RE leader, can greatly enhance the improvement and integration of the skills in participants’ lives.

In this interactive webinar 5 practice group leaders from the Francophone Institute of Relationship Enhancement (IFRE) in France will describe their experience in creating and leading such practice groups. The criteria for participants (individuals, couples, professionals) and structures (open or closed, length of time, number of participants, content and process) will be described. Challenges in creating and leading such practice groups will be shared, including potential pitfalls, as well as ways to increase their efficacy and benefits.

The panel will also describe their shared experience in creating and operating a call line created to answer the needs of people and families during the covid pandemic, and how this call line also contributed to increasing the skill level of the participants while also creating a greater sense of community amongst RE participants. This call line also provided a useful service to the wider community.

Participants in this webinar will be invited to share their own ideas or experiences. The hope is that participants will gain ideas and support for planning and starting their own practice groups.

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

1. Describe how practice groups can facilitate the teaching, deepening, generalization and maintenance of the RE skills
2. Describe the various structures and modalities for creating and conducting practice groups, and their advantages and challenges
3. Describe how establishing a call line can further reinforce and deepen people’s ability to learn and utilize the RE skills in their daily lives.

Monique Ducarre is a certified RE practitioner and supervisor, and was President of IFRE from 2017 to 2021. Being convinced that practice is at the heart of the RE method, she has been leading practice groups since 2014. She has trained couples in the RE Method in groups within the national French Movement of Marriage Encounter, as well as volunteers who accompany people at the end of life in palliative care. She also has organized basic RE training weekends for individuals.

Lise Nathanson is a psychologist in private practice in Paris who uses the RE method with adults, children, couples and families. She is a certified RE practitioner and supervisor. She also has been trained in non-directive play therapy and Filial Therapy. She has worked with women and children who have been victims of domestic violence, and has also been working in an underprivileged area of Paris in collaboration with the local schools. Her goal is to contribute to the further development and expansion of RE and Filial methods in France.

Céline Barrau is a couple therapist and a certified practitioner and supervisor in the RE method located in the south of France. One of her goals is to help improve human relationships through the acquisition of relational and emotional life skills. She also intervenes in companies to work with both management and staff, as well as professionals on an individual basis.

France Sarradon, MA, LPCC, LFMT, is a certified RE Therapist, Supervisor and Trainer located in Albuquerque, NM and France, and co-founder with her sister Nicole Sarradon of IFRE (Francophone Institute of Relationship Enhancement). In addition to her work in private practice using the RE method with individuals and couples, and training other therapists in the RE method, she and Nicole also co-created Listen Up! – a version of RE for use in the workplace. For her, RE is a way of being that she wishes to share everyone she comes into contact with, both personally and in her professional roles. She has been committed to spreading RE throughout France and is pleased that IFRE has grown into a thriving organization that continues to grow and promote RE.

Nicole Sarradon, is a psychologist and certified RE Therapist, Supervisor and Trainer located in Marseilles, France, and co-founder with her sister France Sarradon of IFRE (Francophone Institute of Relationship Enhancement). Since its founding, she has been the lead trainer of RE practitioners and supervisors in France. She does human resources consulting in corporate settings in France using the Listen Up! version of RE that she co-created with France Sarradon. For her, learning the RE method was like finding “an unfathomable treasure” that she wishes to share with everyone she encounters. She also has been committed to spreading RE throughout France through IFRE by training, supervising and nurturing other RE practitioners.

Filial Therapy for a Child with a Chronic Skin Condition

Saturday, May 14, 10 am – 12:15 pm (Eastern time zone). 2 CEUs

Presenter: Geraldine Thomas, MSc., M.A.

Children with chronic medical conditions often show signs of depression and anxiety, have a negative self-image and perceive their quality of life as poor. Indicators of fragile mental health in children with chronic conditions, alongside parental challenges in managing the emotional aspects of the child’s condition, call for an intervention that addresses both the child’s distress and the familial context of the child’s condition.

This workshop will discuss how Filial Therapy was efficacious in reducing the symptoms of a 4-year old boy diagnosed with impetiginized eczema. In offering a coordinated two-pronged approach (a) incorporating non-directive play for the child to reduce anxiety and develop self-esteem and self-agency while (b) fostering skills development for the parents as well as insight and understanding into how their child’s chronic illness had impacted their parenting style. The family was able to gain insight into the child’s need for autonomy and self-agency which helped the parents alter their behavior in a manner which facilitated the child’s healing process.

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

1. Explain the advantages of a psychosocial approach to chronic pediatric skin conditions.

2. Describe how Filial Therapy creates an accepting and safe environment for the whole family so that the parents can make necessary changes guided by the child’s lead.

3. Describe how Filial Therapy provides a way of enabling the parents to understand and accept the child’s expression of need and refocusing the parental perception of the child thus achieving a re-balancing of the family dynamic and the child’s position within it.

Geraldine Thomas MSc. MA. is a Child and Adolescent Play Therapist and a Filial Therapist and Instructor located in England who specializes in attachment across the lifespan, cross cultural dimensions of parenting and preventative family interventions. She earned her Bachelor degree at Vassar College and her post graduate degrees at University College London, the Anna Freud Centre and the University of York. She is the author ofFilial Therapy: Forming Therapeutic Partnerships with parents to achieve intrapsychic, interpersonal and neurobiological change for families’ (2018), ‘Bridging the Cultural Divide with Enhanced Awareness, Knowledge and Skills’ (2015), ‘Understanding Attachment in Family Relationships, Assessment, Research and Intervention’ (2013), and ‘Redrawing the front line, a Play therapy service for meeting the psychosocial needs of children and families in school’ (2009).


Please go to: https://nire.org/workshop-registration/

Schedule: Each 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 either 2 or 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 webinar is $60. The fee for the 2-hour webinar is $40.

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 April 30, May 7 and May 14!

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