A exploration of how Emotionally Focused Therapy and Relational Life Therapy approach early-stage couple therapy

Interview-style, with Elizabeth Irias, LMFT

  • Course Description

    In the early stage of therapy, many couples are deeply in crisis, and have reached out for therapeutic support late in the game. This interview course reviews interventions clinicians can use to better work with high-conflict couples, including tools for working with couples from the perspective of a therapist trained in Emotionally Focused Therapy and a therapist trained in Relational Life Therapy. This course discusses similarities and differences in how each of these models considers a number of factors when working with these couples at the beginning of treatment, and offers meaningful interventions geared at helping couples feel validated and calm their nervous systems to be open to deeper work in the couple therapy.

  • Learning Objectives

    Upon completing this course, participants will be able to: Describe Emotionally Focused Therapy and Relational Life Therapy similarities and differences with regard to early-stage couple assessment framework; List three methods a therapist can employ to create emotional safety in the context of couple therapy; Describe two or more interventions from each model aimed at increasing the compassion each member of a couple has for their partner(s)


    Target Audience and Instructional Level
    This course is intended for psychologists, therapists, social workers, clinical counselors, and addiction counselors. Instructional level: Introductory/Intermediate

  • How To Take This Course

    In order to receive a certificate of completion reflecting the associated CE credit hour, you must:
    #1: Have an active Clearly Clinical membership
    #2: Listen to the corresponding course podcast
    #3: Achieve a passing grade on the post-presentation test (the test has up to ten questions and you must earn a score of at least 80%; you are able to re-test)
    #4: Complete the required course evaluation.

    Course requirements (including the course audio, post-test, and course evaluation) can be completed on a computer or mobile device via your Clearly Clinical account.

  • Course Format

    This high-quality and interesting course contains a one-hour audio podcast interview, which is available for free via Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or your other favorite podcast providers. You can also listen to and download the file via the course player.

  • Commercial Support

    There is no known commercial support or conflict of interest for this CE program, sponsor, instructor, or content. Both presenters/interviewees mention self-created resource during this course, and they also discuss options for clinicians to become trained in Emotionally Focused Therapy and Relational Life Therapy.

  • Certificate Access Details

    Once you've completed the course, your certificate will automatically populate in the 'Certificate' section of your account; it will also be emailed to you. Access to completion certificate will expire 365 days after issuance. Course certificates will be on file for ten (10) years from date of course completion.

Interviewees and Interviewer

Dr. James Hawkins, LPC

Emotionally Focused Therapy Expert

James L. Hawkins II, Ph.D., LPC., joins us from Northwest Arkansas. James brings a passion for helping individuals, couples, families, and communities in relational distress. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor with 11 years of experience. Currently, he serves as a clinical coordinator at The Joshua Center. James is a certified EFT Therapist and Supervisor. James was recently designated as an EFT Trainer-in-Training by Sue Johnson and the ICEEFT Board.

James also is the Founder of Healing Conversations and co-host of three training platforms – The Leading Edge in Emotionally Focused Therapy podcast, The Leading Edge: Transforming your Leadership Through Attachment Science, and an internet-based training site for therapist called www.successinvulnerability.com.

Shane Birkel, LMFT #167

Expert Couple Therapist

Shane Birkel is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice near Boston. He works primarily with couples and is a certified Relational Life Therapist with Terry Real as his mentor. Shane hosts a weekly podcast called the Couples Therapist Couch that is all about the practice of Couples Therapy. On the podcast he talks to experts in the field relationships and therapy. Shane also provides education, training, and supervision for therapists wanting to build their confidence in working with couples.

Elizabeth Irias, LMFT #80500

Clearly Clinical Founder, Program Administrator

As Clearly Clinical founder Elizabeth (‘Beth’) Irias, a California Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and professional Law & Ethics trainer, walked out of yet another amazing and engaging in-person continuing education presentation, she thought to herself, “If only there were a way to make this incredible content reach the clinicians who aren’t able to be here.” She realized that she had missed loads of amazing CE courses over the years due to time limitations or financial constraints, and sought to solve the problem… great, low-cost CEs could be offered online, in a modern, relevant format like podcasts. Clearly Clinical’s goal is to give you courses that answer your questions, build your skills, and help you satisfy your licensure and certification requirements, all via an affordable and easy-to-use platform. Thanks to the collaboration of passionate, experienced, and forward-thinking colleagues, Clearly Clinical came into existence.

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  • CONVENIENT: All courses are 1-hour podcast episodes, available on Apple Podcasts, GooglePlay, and many others

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  • SOCIALLY-RESPONSIBLE: We donate to The Trevor Project for LGBT youth suicide prevention

  • WOMEN-OWNED: We are founded and run by Elizabeth Irias, LMFT

  • DIVERSE: We feature women and interviewees/presenters from historically-marginalized populations


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