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Couples Therapy for Depression and Difference: Working therapeutically with couples and diversity

Kate Thompson & Sammantha Knight

Monday, 2 December 2024


This clinically focused workshop, led by Kate Thompson and Sammantha Knight, will provide a refresher for experienced and recently trained CTfD therapists and will focus on how to implement the key objectives of the CTfD model.  During this day we will give particular attention to key issues that are often difficult for therapists to feel confident in, such as the therapeutic relationship and the therapist’s stance working in the context of difference and depression.

The event will be equivalent to 5.1/2hrs of CPD.


Punctuated throughout with case studies and clinical vignettes, this study day will look into the defence systems and fears within both clients and therapists that are triggered in working with difference.

Whilst revising key aspects of the model, the presenters think about differences in culture and identity that may be present within a couple relationship and wonder how therapists may react defensively in relation to ‘not knowing’ in this area. Common pitfalls and helpful therapeutic techniques will be discussed in addition to the use of and resource in supervision and parallel processes in these kinds of cases that are bound to be present, especially where depression is a presenting problem.

Issues around belonging and exclusion are discussed, particularly in relation to working as a threesome in couple therapy where there are three competing narratives at play. The day culminates in an exploration of benign curiosity and an acceptance of the therapist’s mistakes as tools in therapy.

Learning Objectives

• A revision of the model and its components
• Exploration of the therapeutic stance when working with differences between intimate partners
• Exploration of the therapeutic stance when working with differences between the couple client and the therapist
• Beliefs, internal unconscious bias and intersectionality
• Cultural identity; what is it and how does it affect the couple relationship?
• Linking themes of difference to aspects of the model

Training Modalities

Didactic content, clinical analysis, polls, videos and Q&A.

Key References

Couple therapy across cultures (May 2000) Sexual and Relationship Therapy 15(2):183-192. DOI:10.1080/14681990050010763
Authors: Dinesh Bhugra & Padmal De Silva

Cultural countertransference as a clinical obstacle (March 2004) Smith College Studies in Social Work 74(2):333-347
Authors: Cheryl Stempley Ph.D&Evelyn Slaght Ph.D

The Danger of a Single Story
Acclaimed author Chimimanda Adiche talks about the need for curiosity and to get beyond stereotype and generalisation
Legendary cricketer Michael Holding talks about racism 
‘We need to teach both sides of history’ July 2020

Jason Lee’s Podcast ‘AbsoluteLee’
 A Long Time Coming
 Jason Lee’s conversation with David Baddiel

Neurodiversity at work: ‘I had to kick doors down to be heard’
Working It 28 March 2023

About the presenter

Kate Thompson is a couple psychoanalytic psychotherapist and senior staff member at Tavistock Relationships with over 20 years experience of therapy with couples and individuals. Currently heading up Couple Therapy for Depression Training of NHS practitioners, Kate is also clinical lead for TRs’ Parenting services.  Kate has developed the model, Behavioural Couple Therapy for Alcohol Misuse, and delivered the government funded pilot training to practitioners. She has also worked in TR’s mentalization-based therapy service for separated parents in conflict; specialist adoption service; supervised TR’s violence project in Harrow and Parents as Partners, a group intervention for couples.  Registered with BPC and BACP, Kate writes for a variety of publications; co-edited ‘Engaging Couples: New Directions in Therapeutic Work with Families’, (Routledge, 2018), and a Special Edition of Couple and Family Psychoanalysis on Divorce and Separation, (Phoenix, 2021). She is currently co-editing a book, ‘Couples as Parents’, due to be published by Routledge later this year and is Editor in Chief of the Journal of Couple and Family Psychoanalysis. Kate also works in private practice in South West London.

Sammantha Knight is a psychotherapist who works with individuals and couples in her private practice in London. She also provides training to Local Authorities on Reducing Parental Conflict and tutors’ students on the Talking Therapies High-Intensity Pilot for Couple Therapy for Depression at Tavistock Relationships. In addition to her clinical work with parents using Mentalization Based Techniques for Couple Therapy (MBT-PP/YPP) at Tavistock Relationships, Sammantha is responsible for training and supervising counsellors on the Couple Therapy for Depression course. Sammantha is registered with BACP and is a member of the Tavistock Relationships' Alumni body.

Who should attend

This one-day refresher workshop is suitable for those who have completed a five-day CTfD practitioner training and are completing or have completed accreditation casework.

Details coming soon

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