On the Eve of Destruction: Last Chance Couple Therapy

A badly broken marriage or other intimate couple relationship, in which both partners show high levels of mutual anger and disdain and low levels of patience, goodwill, or hope — and in which one or both spouses may be close to leaving – does not seem to hold promise for clinical salvation. Often, couples come to clinicians having tried therapy without lasting success, and announce that “this is our last chance.” It’s possible, however, to turn even the most hopeless relationships around.

In this workshop, participants will explore how to engage reluctant partners in therapy without making them feel trapped in an unhappy future. The workshop will use videotape/audiotape demonstrations, experiential exercises, and case presentations that will include heterosexual, gay, and biracial couples.

Participants will learn an integrative, research-supported theory of couple assessment and therapy, and a wide range of specific techniques for assisting highly distressed couples on the brink of divorce/relationship dissolution.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe four types of last chance couples
  • List the steps necessary to engage reluctant partners in a collaborative, flexible, nonbinding therapeutic contract
  • Learn the skill in Beginning Anew, a mindfulness-based approach to communication, problem-solving, and emotion modulation


Peter Fraenkel, PhD, is an associate professor of Psychology at the City College of New York. He is a former externship teaching faculty and Director of the Center for Work and Family at the Ackerman Institute for the Family. He is also a former director of the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program at NYU Medical Center.


Date / Time:

Friday, February 15, 2019
10 am–4 pm

Continuing Education:

5 CE Contact Hours

Register Online:

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