Two to Tango: Deepening Skills and Practice in Working with Couples

May 19, 2017 9:00 am - 5:00 pm


Columbia School of Social Work, 1255 Amsterdam Ave., New York 10027

6.5 contact hours are available for NYS, NJ and CT Licensed Social Workers

$250 single; $200 each for 5 or more

Alumni will receive a $50 discount. Please email for the promotional code. Your email should contain your name and the year you graduated.


*Open to the public


Why is it that the people closest to us are also the ones with whom we have some of our greatest conflicts? Such is the power of a couple’s relationship. While many social workers have the tools for working with individual clients, they often find themselves at a loss when working with couples. This workshop provides participants with a conceptual framework and the clinical tools to effectively work with couples.

Workshop Description

Participants will learn how to conceptualize the couple as system, paying close attention to relational dynamics and patterns of interaction. Participants will learn interviewing skills as well as techniques that help couples improve communication, manage conflict, balance individual and relationship needs, and strengthen connection. The training will emphasize how social locators such as race, gender identity, sexual orientation, and culture exert an influence on a couple’s relationship and the worker-client relationship. The instructor will present the application of theory and practice skills by using experiential and role play exercises, case studies and participants’ case examples.

Learning Objectives

Participants will learn to:

  1. Identify and apply fundamental concepts of the family systems perspective (e.g. cycles of interaction, complementarity, fused/rigid boundaries) relevant to assessment and treatment of couples’ relationship problems;
  2. Demonstrate the ability to discuss the influence of both the clinician’s and clients’ social location on case assessment, treatment and therapeutic relationship in working with couples;
  3. Demonstrate the ability to use interviewing techniques and treatment strategies to help couples address common problems they encounter such as communication impasses, conflict escalation, and differences in expectations regarding the relations.


Walter Vega, LCSW received his Masters in Social Work from Columbia University School of Social Work in 2004. He began his social work career in family preventive services where he provided case management and counseling services to low-income families in Brooklyn, many of whom were recent immigrants to the United States. He is a graduate of Ackerman’s Clinical Externship training program and became a member of Ackerman’s teaching faculty in 2010. For the last three years, Walter has also served as the faculty liaison to the Ackerman Institute Student of Color Supportive Space, a collaboration among Ackerman trainees and alumni of color who seek to have a forum for sharing their unique experiences at the institute and in the field of family therapy.

In addition to being a social worker, Mr. Vega has been a teacher and trainer for over 15 years. He has been an adjunct lecturer at Columbia University School of Social Work since 2006 where he has taught courses in Human Behavior in the Social Environment, Social Work Practice with Families, and Critical Conversations in a Social Justice Paradigm. He is also an instructor and academic counselor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice for students in the school’s SEEK (Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge) Program. Mr. Vega has a private practice in Brooklyn and Manhattan seeing families, couples, and individuals. He also works as a family therapy consultant for various organizations in New York City, including Administration for Children’s Services, Good Shepherd Services, and Mt. Sinai Hospital.

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Special Accommodations and Grievance Policy

For information on special accommodations or our grievance policy, click here.

Cancellation policy: Fees will be refunded less a $5.00 processing fee, if written notification is received by the Office of Professional Excellence up to two weeks prior to the workshop date.