Marital Maladjustment & Premarital Counseling

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Marital Maladjustment & Premarital Counseling

Dr. Jim Bierman, Ph.D.

Course Description:

Every other marriage in the United States winds up in divorce. That number jumps to nearly three out of every four for couples in high-stress positions. Research indicates that premarital counseling can increase a couple’s chance for marital satisfaction by 30%. Yet, most graduate programs do not offer training in this important modality and no standards for best practice are offered by the APA. Marriage counseling per se is not funded by MediCal or other private health insurance coverage. The emotional and financial repercussions of marital distress resonate through the family, the community, and the nation.

This unique seminar examines the ethical practice of assessing, diagnosing and treating an individual’s distress that is caused by marital maladjustment. You will assess current research on premarital and marital counseling and design a bestpractice protocol based on your analysis. Participants will return to their practices with established therapeutic techniques, essential psychological assessment tools, and key resources in the community that contribute to improved therapeutic outcomes. Psychologists, therapists, social workers, and many other healthcare professionals will benefit from new treatment modalities for family and parenting therapy including interventions that help parents and children cope before, during, and after the process of divorce. Don’t miss this dynamic, ‘one-of-a-kind” seminar, so logon to and register today!

Learning Objectives:

The Participant will be able to:

1. Describe current research and the consensus of expert opinions regarding best practice principles for counseling couples at all stages of their marital relationship.
2. Outline a theoretical understanding of the psychology of love from the standpoints of developmental, attachment, and cognitive-behavioral perspectives.
3. Operate within the guidelines of managed care to assess, diagnose, and treat adjustment disorders stemming from issues in relationships.
4. Utilize assessment tools and other resources for quick, inexpensive and non-intrusive evaluation and treatment of marital distress.
5. Select and apply therapeutic and mediation skills to address relationship issues that are reconcilable and irreconcilable.
6. Identify which of the five types of couples most commonly present themselves for psychological treatment and how to develop a referral network with other professionals in the field.
7. Assess the impact of marital distress on the children in family and school settings and develop interventions with the parents for the children’s benefit.
8. Apply best practice principles to premarital counseling in order to improve marital satisfaction and longevity by 30%.

Who Should Attend:

    • Psychologists
    • Marriage and Family Therapists
    • Social Workers
    • Licensed Professional Counselors
    • Case Managers
    • Pastoral Counselors
    • Teachers
    • School Administrators
    • Attorneys
    • Clergy

Meet Your Course Instructor:
Presented by Dr. Jim Bierman, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist with over thirteen years experience working in marital and premarital counseling. Dr. Bierman is the renowned author of Of Sound Mind to Marry: A Reality Check from the Marriage Counselor for Pre-Weds and he has been published in the Annals of Clinical and Laboratory Science. Now in private practice in Rancho Mirage, CA, he has practiced privately and in a variety of institutional and community settings in Los Angeles, Seattle, London, and rural northern California treating individual adults, couples, families, and children. Dr. Bierman is a certifi ed parent evaluator working in high-confl ict child custody cases and making recommendations to the Court for the residential placement of children. Dr. Bierman is a Court’s expert in divorce and has seen and intervened with families struggling with domestic violence and other abusive situations. He received his Ph.D. from the California Graduate Institute in Los Angeles and his postdoctoral training at the University of Washington, School of Medicine Parent Evaluation Training Program. Dr. Bierman taught undergraduate psychology at Humboldt State University and the College of the Redwoods. He is a member of the American Group Psychotherapy Association, the Northern California Disaster Response Network, and is drafting a proposal for the APA on Guidelines of Practice in Premarital Counseling.

Summit Professional Education reserves the right to change the course agenda and/or instructors

7:30am - Registration & Breakfast
8:00am - Course Begins

Seminar Outline:

I. The Patient Population: Who Do We Treat?

• The identified patient and managed care reimbursement
• Billing for marriage counseling, relationship problems
    − V codes and adjustment disorders
• Structuring Therapy: assessment, evaluation, and brief dynamic therapy
• The referral network: the therapist’s niche in treatment milieu

II. Premarital Counseling: The First, Best Opportunity for Early Intervention

• Treatment Goals
• Psychological testing for couples
• Five Types of Couples
• Six sessions to promote marital health: semi-structured treatment outline
• The Psychology of Love
• Attachment perspective
• Perception, Emotional Response, and Communication
• Personality Similarities
• Predictors of Marital Quality and Stability
• Marital Red Flags

  » CASE STUDY - Deciding to Postpone Marriage

III. Psychological and Legal Issues of Marriage

• Moral Reasoning and Persuasion
• Legal Reasoning and Enforcement
• The Marriage Contract
• Prenuptial Agreements
• Internuptial Agreements

Lunch On Your Own: 11:30am - 12:30pm

IV. Marriage Counseling

• Statistics of marital stability, satisfaction, and divorce
• Common Issues in marriage
    − Marrying the In-Laws
    − Parenting
    − Assertive Communication
    − Friendship, sex, and emotional connection
    − The best interest of the spouse and the couple

V. Mediating Separation and Divorce

• Counseling an amicable separation
• Child visitation and responsible co-parenting

VI. Resources to Augment Therapy

• Couples retreats
• Self-assessment tools for couples
• Education for teens; the 4 R’s: Reading, writing, arithmetic, and relationships

3:30pm – Course Adjourns

Your instructor will break for 15 minutes in the morning and afternoon at appropriate times.


Contact Information

Payment Instructions

  • When paying by Purchase Order, you must include your purchase order number and a copy of your invoice with your payment. You may request a copy of your invoice by email at or call us at (800) 433-9570. Federal Tax Identification #20-2064736.
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