Boulder Psychotherapy Institute

Advanced Training in Applied Existential Psychotherapy (AEP)

An Experiential Psychodynamic Gestalt Approach   •   Boulder, Colorado

2. AEP Relational Training: Module II

BPI Senior Faculty


Both Sections are now full!

Couples Issues that AEP Addresses:

Being Yourself While Being With a Partner

Choice of Relationship Style

Relating More Authentically and Spontaneously

Family of Origin Issues as They Impact the Relationship in the Here and Now

Cherishing Each Other's Freedom While Being in a Committed Relationship

Being in Relationship in Community (including extended family and blended families)

Sexual Issues and Their Meaning in This Relationship

The Workshop: Research shows that couples and relationship counseling is the least effective form of therapy. 
We offer an approach, based in a profound philosophy, that avoids the pitfalls of other therapies. Applied Existential Psychotherapy supports and elaborates the conclusion that John Gottman came to through longitudinal research with couples: Facilitation and support for individual and mutual meaning-creation is (or ought to be) at the heart of relational therapy.

Using Jean-Paul Sartre's existential phenomenology, we teach you to invite clients to explore the twin poles of human existence: freedom and facticity (the circumstances of our lives) as these impact our relationships and ourselves.

If we deny or overemphasize one or the other pole we may fall into 'bad faith' or inauthentic relating. If we try to suppress 
 or control our own or our partner's freedom, we may end up with security at the expense of aliveness, spontaneity and desire. 
 But if we overemphasize freedom, we may find it difficult to commit ourselves to a relationship or we may fail to develop 
 care for our partner's needs and desires.

Many couples approaches overemphasize either togetherness or differentiation. Applied Existential Psychotherapy takes both into account as the avenue to creating a more spontaneous, fulfilling, and intimate relationship style in which partners come 
 to support each other's deepest desires and to create shared meaning in their relationship.

You will learn to work with perennial relational issues in the context of an overarching philosophical framework. This larger framework is critical to therapy. It provides structure, meaning, and direction to all the techniques, methods, or interventions that the therapist may have at his or her disposal. Since existential phenomenology insists that all experience is bodily-lived experience, you will learn body-oriented as well as verbal interventions. You will also learn to explore family of origin issues as they impact current difficulties and collisions over relational meaning.

Together we will explore practical issues relating to conflict, avoidance, sexuality, the death of desire, real or imagined betrayal, communication, and other matters--including life transitions, relationship stages, alternative lifestyles, and more.
 The overarching umbrella for these explorations will be Applied Existential Psychotherapy, the approach that we have developed and taught at the Boulder Psychotherapy Institute for the past 25 years. We call this class 'Relational Training' rather than 'Couples Training' because the principles we teach apply to all relationships, and even to individual work, not just to couples work. Individual, couples, family, and group therapists will find this material useful.

The Group Leaders: Betty Cannon, Ph.D., licensed psychologist, is the President of the Boulder Psychotherapy Institute and the originator of AEP. She has worked with individuals, couples, and groups in Boulder for over 30 years and trained psychotherapists for over 20 years. She is a member of the editorial boards of three professional journals: Sartre Studies International, Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry, and Existential Analysis. She is the author of many articles and chapters on existential therapy. Her book, Sartre and Psychoanalysis, is considered a classic in existential psychology. She is the co-author with Reed Lindberg of a chapter on couples therapy in Existential Perspectives on Relationship Therapy, edited by Emmy van Deurzen and Susan Iacovou (Palgrave Macmillan 2013).

Reed Lindberg, M.A., L.P.C., is the Managing Director of the Boulder Psychotherapy Institute. He has worked primarily with couples and individuals on relationship issues for the past 30 years. He is the co-author with Betty Cannon of "Being Yourself While Being with Another: Bad Faith and the Couples' Dilemma," in Existential Perspective on Relationship Therapy, ed. Emmy Van Deurzen and Susan Iacovou (Palgrave Macmillan 2013) and the author of "Eoyore and Tinkerbell: An AEP Perspective on Couples Therapy" (Hermeneutic Circular, October 2013). Reed is the co-founder with Betty of AEP Relational Therapy.


Existential Issues in Couples Therapy
Approaching the Issues: Putting Them on the Table
Working with Communication: I-Thou versus I-It
Bad Faith Versus Authenticity
Verbal Interventions
Body-Oriented Interventions
Family of Origin Issues in Couples Therapy
Cultural Issues in Couples Therapy
Reclaiming Projections
Play Versus Seriousness
Cultivating Genuine Reciprocity
Transference in Couples Work
Countertransference in Couples Work
Working with Defenses with Couples
Moving between the Interpersonal and the Intrapsychic
Working with the Romantic and the Erotic
Sexuality: Body and Meaning
Alternative Relationship Styles: Same Sex Couples, Bisexuality, Transexuality, Swinging, Polyamory

1140 Lehigh Street, Boulder, Colorado 80305  •  303 494 0393

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