Intimate Partner Violence: Fighting for a Safe Connection

  • 28 Feb 2020
  • 9:00 AM
  • 29 Feb 2020
  • 5:00 PM
  • Improv Asylum Theater 307 W 26th Street (at 8th Ave) New York, NY 10001 Live in-person workshop – 13 CEs
  • 29


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Intimate partner violence: Fighting for a safe connection

Intermediate Level

Lieven Migerode and Jeff Slootmaeckers

Research shows that intimate partner violence is rather frequent; even more so in couples seeking couple therapy. However, the subject of violence often remains hidden from the therapist. Or due to contraindication, couples seeking therapy are often refused.

The vision of this workshop is that, in many couples, the underlying strong, heavy negative interaction patterns are paramount in the violence. These patterns form a challenge for many therapists in working with these couples, and often the violence between the partners is central to the therapeutic process. In this case, it is remarkable that these couples mostly want us, the therapist, to work toward a safer relationship where they can stay together and the violence stops. How can this be approached when violence is often seen as a contraindication for couple therapy and EFT? Based on new scientific knowledge about intimate partner violence and their experience, Lieven and Jef have worked together to come to a deeper understanding of this difficult relational drama. 

In this workshop we outline a theoretical roadmap how we can understand intimate partner violence from an attachment focused point of view, and how we can use EFT in helping these couples to fight for a healthier, safer connection. We outline specific interventions to use and discuss several important topics such as assessment, de-escalation, the attachment meanings of violence, and common self-of-therapist challenges.  

This two-day workshop will include lecture, q&a, video material, personal exercises and will make space for participant dialogue. The workshop offers a mini roadmap that can be inserted in the larger EFT map for therapy. Ideally participants should have a basic training in EFT or read basic works so that we can build on this. Participants will receive articles before the workshop to familiarize themselves with the basic concepts of the workshop. 

WHEN: FEBRUARY 28-29, 2020 9AM-5PM

WHERE: improv ASYLYM THEATER 307 W 26th street NEw York, NY 10001




Lieven Migerode, certified EFT supervisor and trainer introduced Sue Johnson in Belgium on the occasion of the Good Enough Couple Congress in 2006. He published earlier on the subject of partner violence and love. Lieven is a member of  ICEEFT. He published articles and a book on the subject of love. Migerode,L (2015). Hoe blijf je gelukkig in je relatie. Tielt: Lannoo. (I love you: how to stay happy in your relationship).

Jef Slootmaeckers, certified EFT therapist, and EFT Supervisor in training works 10 years with partner violence. He specialized in EFT and couple violence. Over the last few years, Jef trained several teams in working with these highly reactive and violent couples. Together with Lieven Migerode he published several articles about partner violence and couple therapy. He is member of ICEEFT.


Day One:

9:00-10:45 creating safety

We start with a video clip from a couple who escalates in the session.

We ask the participants what they feel as a therapist when confronted with such a scene. We ask what they need and hope from this workshop to be able to work with violent couples. In doing so we demonstrate how we create safety around this topic.

Since violent couples who seek out couple therapy hope that therapy might help them

overcome the violent patterns they are suffering from, we learn therapist to use the hope from both partners to create safety in the session.

We demonstrate the accepting stance of the therapist by welcoming and validating the

couple with their hope. We exercise with the participant to use accepting language to welcome the couple in their conjoint desire to halt the violence.

We train some interventions to stop escalations in the therapy room.

10:45-11:00 Break

11:00-12:30 Differentiation between forms of violence. Because the EFT – approach is not suitable for all forms of violence we work around the difference between Intimate Terrorism (IT) and Situational Couples violence (SCV). It is not suitable for Eft. At the other hand, SCV can be understood from an attachment point of view. We train therapists how to differentiate these two forms when the encounter violent couples. We explain and show how SCV is connected to negative interaction cycles that can be understood within the attachment frame.

12:30-1:30 Lunch

1:30-3:15 Violence in de EFT- cycle. We explain and demonstrate by role-play and video clips how violence can take place within the negative interaction cycle known in EFT. We discuss four different violent patterns that are related to negative interaction cycles known in EFT. We discuss different attachment significance of violence. We present a roadmap to understand violence in negativeinteraction patterns.

See: Slootmaeckers, J. & Migerode L. (2018). Fighting for connection. Patterns of intimate partner violence.

Journal of couple and relationship therapy. We train specific skills and interventions to help therapist to reflect these violent patterns with the couples. We exercise (role-play) in tracking the negative cycle that leads to violent outburst.

3:15-3:30 Break

3:30-5:00 Integration and exercise. We look at different video clips of sessions with violent couples of distances seeking and proximity seeking violence. Based on the video’s we do some role-play to learn how to reflect the interactional process of violence and meanwhile learning to work with the underling emotions.

Day Two

9:00-10:45: The Person of the therapist. We use experiential exercises to get participants in touch with their own emotions about working with violence and help them to recognize their own emotion as anger, rage and aggression. In small groups the participants will do exercise in reflecting and validating these emotions. It’s our goal that participants experience the liberating power of being welcomed in these emotions.

10:45-11:00 Break

11:00-12:30 Helping people taking responsibly for the violent behavior. Taking responsibility for the violent behavior in de negative cycles is of the essence. Rather than a precondition for therapy we discus that this is a therapeutic goal on itself. We present how we can help people take responsibility for their own behavior in de negative violent pattern. We use the EFT-tango as a roadmap for this process. We exercise to reflect the current process and to assemble the emotions underneath the violence. We exercise (role-play in small groups) to set up position enactments that leads to taking responsibility within the relation.

12:30-1:30 Lunch

1:30-3:15 4 tasks in stage 1 of EFT to de-escalate the violent pattern. We discuss the therapeutic process that lead to de-escalation of the violent patterns. We explain and describe the four different therapeutic tasks that help the EFT-therapist to guide the violent couple towards safety in the relationship.

These four tasks are:

  • Building a safe therapeutic alliance

  • Exploring the negative interaction cycle.

  • Getting access to the primary emotions underlying the violent patterns

  • Externalizing the violent patterns and attending to the attachment needs.

(See: Slootmaeckers, J. & Migerode, L. (2019), EFT and Intimate Partner Violence: A Roadmap to De‐escalating Violent Patterns. Fam. Proc.. doi:10.1111/famp.12468

Specific interventions to navigate through these tasks will be discussed and shown

3:15-3:30 Break

3:30-5:00 Consolidation video and Q&A. We watch in large group a video that consolidates the whole process where we highlight and show how all the material discussed in this workshop looks like in practice. We end with Q&A and some specific topics (for example: children, trauma, etc.)


  • Participants choose to relate themselves towards violent couples and their underlying hope.

  • Participants can use accepting language.

  • Participants can determine whether EFT is suitable or contra-indicated depending on the form of violence.

  • Participants can classify and categorize different forms of violence.

  • Participants can identify contraindications for EFT and violence.

  • Participants can apply the roadmap we presented to understand different violent patterns.

  • Participants can transfer secondary emotions into primary emotions.

  • Participants can organize negative violent interaction cycle so then can slow the process down.

  • Participants can explain how violence takes place in negative interaction cycles between couples.

  • Participants can restructure negative interaction cycle so the attachment significance of violence becomes clear to clients.  

  • Participants can subdivide and analyze different violent patterns.
  • Participants can apply validation and acceptations as interventions that our necessary to help client take responsibility for the violent behavior when they feel the importance of the acceptation of the underlying emotions of violence through experiential exercises
  • Participants can describe and identify their own emotional experience around violence in their own live and how these influence their work with violent couples. 
  • Participants can use the EFT-tango in their work with violent couples. 
  • Participants can restructure violent patterns in a coherent emotional narrative.
  • Participant can apply positions enactments to help people take responsibility in the violent pattern. 
  • Participants can describe the different steps of the EFT-Tango. 
  • Participants can organize their work with violent couples in different steps and tasks in the process to help them de-escalate.  
  • Participants have an overview of the process and can use EFT interventions throughout the therapeutic process.
  • Participants can describe the different tasks in stage 1 of EFT with violent couples.

This course is for Psychologists, Psychoanalysts, Social Workers, MFTs, Creative Arts Therapists, Counselors and Therapists

Certificates will be available following course completion at

Cosponsored by R. Cassidy Seminars, P.O. Box 14473, Santa Rosa, CA 95402

Satisfactory Completion
Participants must have paid tuition fee, signed in and out each day, attended the entire seminar, and completed an evaluation in order to receive a certificate. Failure to sign in or out each day will result in forfeiture of credit for the entire course. No exceptions will be made. Partial credit is not available. Certificates available following course completion at

R. Cassidy Seminars is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.  R. Cassidy Seminars maintains responsibility for this program and its content. 13 CE hours

NY: R. Cassidy Seminars is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychoanalysts. #P-0005. (13) clock hours. Live in-person 

Social Workers
Intimate Partner Violence: Fighting for a Safe Connection, Course #2845, is approved by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program to be offered by R. Cassidy Seminars as an individual course. Individual courses, not providers, are approved at the course level. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. ACE course approval period: 02/18/2020 - 02/18/2022. Social workers completing this course receive 13 Clinical Practice continuing education credits.
(NJ SW: Ace individual course approval would meet the NJ Board of Social Work Examiners requirements for individual course approval pursuant to NJ Code 13:44G-6.4.16)

Counselors/Marriage and Family Therapists
CA: The Board of Behavioral Sciences has deferred CE course approvals to APA and other states’ licensing board approvals for its licensees. See those approvals under Psychologists and Social Workers.
Other States: If your state is not specifically listed, nearly all state Counselor and MFT boards accept either APA or are reciprocal with other state licensing board approvals, such as those listed below. Check with your board to be sure. The Ohio Board includes MFTS and Counselors.
IL: Illinois Dept of Professional Regulation, Approved Continuing Education Sponsor, #168-000141.  (13) hours.|
NY-LMHCs: R. Cassidy Seminars is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board of Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors. #MHC-0015. (13) contact hours. Live in-person.
NY-LMFTs: R. Cassidy Seminars is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board of Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed marriage and family therapists. #MFT-0011. (13) contact hours. Live in-person
OH: Provider approved by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board for (13) clock hours, #RCST110701
TX: Approved CE Sponsor through the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists. Provider #151 13 CE hours.
Creative Arts Therapists
NY: R. Cassidy Seminars is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board of Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed creative arts therapists, #CAT-0005. (13) contact hours. Live in-person

Chemical Dependency Counselors
CA: Provider approved by CCAPP, Provider #4N-00-434-0220 for (13) CEHs. CCAPP is an ICRC member which has reciprocity with most ICRC member states
TX: Provider approved by the TCBAP Standards Committee, Provider No. 1749-06, (13) hours general. Expires 3/31/2020.  Complaints about provider or workshop content may be directed to the TCBAP Standards Committee, 1005 Congress Avenue, Ste. 460, Austin, Texas 78701, Fax Number (512) 476-7297.

TX: R. Cassidy Seminars is an approved provider with the Texas Education Agency CPE# 501456. This course is (13) CE Hours.

CA: Provider approved by the CA Board of Registered Nursing, Provider #CeP12224, for (13) contact hours

Disability Access - If you require ADA accommodations please contact our office 30 days or more before the event. We cannot ensure accommodations without adequate prior notification.

Please Note: Licensing Boards change regulations often and while we attempt to stay abreast of their most recent changes, if you have questions or concerns about this course meeting your specific board’s approval, we recommend you contact your board directly to obtain a ruling.

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Cancellation Policy

If notified in writing of canceling by February 14 fee is refunded minus $50 administrative fee.  Registrations canceled after February 14 are not refundable.

There is no conflict of interest or commercial support for this program.

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