Reconcilable Differences NBCC, NASW approved.*

Course Outline

Chapter 1: Three Sides to Every Story

Chapter 2: Relationship Problems as Faults

Chapter 3: Relationship Problems as Incompatibilities

Chapter 4: Incompatibilities Over Love and Power

Chapter 5: Confusing Incompatibilities

Chapter 6: Relationship Problems as Vulnerabilities

Chapter 7: Relationship Problems as Solutions

Chapter 8: Acceptance and Change

Chapter 9: Acceptance Through Understanding

Chapter 10: Acceptance Through Compassion

Chapter 11: Acceptance Through Tolerant Distance

Chapter 12: The Dilemmas of Deliberate Change

Chapter 13: Accepting The Foibles of Rules

Chapter 14: Using Your Own Story to Make Genuine Change

Chapter 15: How Change and Intimacy Can Emerge From Defeat

Chapter 16: Violence, Verbal Abuse, and Infidelity

Chapter 17: Couple and Individual Therapy

Evaluation of Individual Objectives

To assess the effectiveness of the course material, we ask that you evaluate your achievement of each learning objective on a scale of A to D (A=excellent, B=good, C=fair, D=unsatisfactory). Please indicate your responses next to each learning objective and return it to us with your completed exam.

Table of Contents

Upon completing this course you’ll be able to:

  1. Describe the integrative couple therapy approach to counseling.
  2. List four common triggers for argument.
  3. Describe how our past affects both the present and the future.
  4. Explain relationship problems as they arise from incompatibilities.
  5. Describe the two central dimensions–closeness and power–that are central to all relationships.
  6. Explain how conflict within one person causes conflict between two people.
  7. Describe how ambivalence in partners causes confusion in the relationship.
  8. Describe how dramatic incidents of neglect and the more common, everyday instances of neglect and provocation can cause conflict in a relationship.
  9. Describe the issues and conflicts raised by power and control.
  10. Describe how major life stressors and daily stressors affect our vulnerabilities.
  11. Discuss how ineffective solutions in a relationship can create even bigger problems.
  12. Distinguish between the content of conflict and the process of conflict.
  13. Describe how conflicts in a relationship are scaled, positions become polarized and couples become alienated.
  14. Discuss the anatomy of an argument and show how toxic cures make the problem worse.
  15. Describe how efforts to reach out for family and friends in times of relationship problems can actually cause more problems.
  16. Distinguish between acceptance and change.
  17. Discuss how acceptance and change can help end conflicts in a relationship.
  18. Weave and tell a story about a couple’s relationship problems that captures the essence of the conflict.
  19. Discuss how things that are left unsaid in a relationship can escalate conflicts and hard feelings.
  20. Explain how couples can recover more quickly and more fully if they can discuss the conflict without reengaging in it.
  21. Distinguish between compassion and tolerance.
  22. Describe the importance of being able to step back from your conflict, detaching yourself from your emotions.
  23. Explain when the emotional distance is achievable and even desirable.
  24. Explain why behavioral changes are easier to make than emotional changes.
  25. Identify the five crucial conditions that an ultimatum should meet in order for the outcome to be positive.
  26. Identify five circumstances under which it’s easy for a partner to effect a change.
  27. List four actions of yours that would make it difficult for your partner to change.
  28. Describe the importance of communication in acceptance and change.
  29. Expose the limits and inadequacies of “rules of good communication.”
  30. Assess the benefits, the risks, and the difficulties of implementing a particular advice to avoid the creation of a reactive problem.
  31. Describe the pros and cons of “expressing feelings” in terms of psychological and physical benefits.
  32. Express feelings using “I” statements instead of “You.”
  33. Describe “active listening” and the roles played by the listener and the speaker.
  34. Discuss the process of negotiating reasonable compromises to relationship problems.
  35. Extract emotional messages buried in a conversation between two partners.
  36. Describe how awareness of emotions can help avert conflicts in a relationship.
  37. Identify three guidelines for hindsight awareness that may allow a couple to recover more quickly from their arguments.
  38. Explain how to change your relationship you first have to change yourself.
  39. Explain how one can stop complaining and criticizing, and take constructive action.
  40. Describe why it is often important to confront your partner to assert your needs even if doing so may hurt his or her feelings temporarily.
  41. Outline the strategies to minimize the damage when things are getting out of hand.
  42. Discuss three categories of action in relationships that should not be tolerated.
  43. Discuss the prevalence of violence, destruction and physical coercion in married or cohabiting couples.
  44. Define verbal abuse and distinguish between abusive and non-abusive criticisms.
  45. Make suggestions that would discourage verbal abuse.
  46. Describe the impact of infidelity on a relationship and help clients get through the trauma of infidelity.
  47. Describe couple therapy and distinguish between various forms of therapy.
  48. Choose an effective couple therapist from among various disciplines.



“This was by far the most informative home study course material that I have read!” – M.H.M., LSW, PA

“Very good book. I learned some new things even after 25 years as a therapist.” – M.R., LCSW, WI