Upcoming Relational Play: Engaging Couples’ Power Dynamics for Relational Transformation [In-Person]

How is the interplay of social power dynamics and shifting gender roles showing up in heterosexual couples therapy? Are you struggling to navigate power dynamics in couples therapy? How do you play with the presence of social power in couples therapy? This interactive workshop offers an innovative approach to couples therapy by engaging the relational play in power dynamics. Therapists will learn how to harness the interplay between social and relational power for relational transformation. Drawing on Collaborative-Dialogic Practice approach, learn how to stay open and curious about the meaning of a couple’s dynamics by engaging in hyperlinked conversations and sculpting of power dynamics. By examining the role of discursive power—the power to shape relationships through language, interactions, and meanings—gain insight into how to engage different forms of power that circulate in couples’ relationships.

The heart of this workshop is relational play which emphasizes the creative processes of co-creating the self, the other, and the partnership via relational responsiveness. This embodied workshop will be facilitated by AFTA-award winning trainer Dr. Saliha Bava and assisted by Rebeca Brau Martinez (a breathwork teacher) and Tiffany Cardona, Relational Play lab associates. Join us to learn how to engage the transformative potential of play, creativity, and language to promote rapid change towards more robust, fulfilling, self-organizing relationships!

Note: Please dress for movement. Adaptations available for folx with limited movement.

Learning Objectives:

  • To explore the interplay of social and relational power to engage couples’ power dynamics within therapy
  • To explore creative responsiveness to power and uncertainty
  • To learn how to apply relational play in couples therapy by exploring power sculpting and hyperlinked conversations


Saliha Bava, PhD, LMFT, Professor at Mercy University, received the 2023 Distinguished Contribution to Family Therapy award from the American Family Therapy Academy. She is a globally sought-after trainer on socio-relational change practices for couples and organizations. Dr. Bava serves on the board of the Taos Institute where she co-founded the International Certificate in Collaborative-Dialogic Practices Network (spread over 14 countries). As the Director of Research with the International Trauma Studies Program, she has researched theater, community resiliency, and psychosocial practices.

Founder of Mercy’s Relational Play Lab, Dr. Bava, explores how play intersects with relationships, identity, trauma, and inclusion in couples, organizations, and pedagogical and AI contexts. The lab’s mission is to harness the creative potential of play – improvisation – to humanize relationships, fostering a sense of belonging and connection. As an innovative writer, she has co-authored The Relational Book for Parenting and The Relational Workplace based on her extensive scholarship on relational intelligence.

Return to Workshops

  • May 31, 2024
    10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Saliha Bava, PhD, LMFT

5 CE Contact Hours

Ackerman Institute for the Family

Location:   Ackerman Institute for the Family

936 Broadway, 3rd Floor, New York, New York, 10010, United States

Details Price Qty
Tuition $200.00 USD  

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