Past Events Archive2018-06-20T13:53:52+00:00

What’s So Special About EFT?

When: Thursday, September 6, 2018, 9am-10:30am
Where: TBA
Instructor: Nancy Knudsen, LMFT
Rate: FREE

A 90 minute overview of the EFT model and the science of love as developed by Dr. Susan Johnson.

This can be taken on its own or as an introduction to our Seminar Series Jumping into the Fray: An Introduction to Working With Couples Using Emotionally Focused Therapy


Jumping Into the Fray: Working With Couples Using the Emotionally Focused Therapy Lens

When: Thursdays, September 20, October 4, October 18, November 1, November 15, 2018, 9am-12:15pm
Where: 40 Center Street, Northampton, MA
Instructor: Nancy Knudsen, LMFT
Rates: Early Bird until 9/9: $300; Regular Fee: $350; Individual Session (no CEs): $60; Student/Agency Clinician* Early Bird: $210; Student/Agency Clinician* Regular Fee: $250; Student/Agency Clinician* Individual Sessions (no CEs): $45
CE’s: 15 CE’s approved for LMFT’s, LICSW’s, LMHC’s, and Lic. Psychologists
All levels of experience welcome

Doing effective therapy with more than one person in the room is a whole different animal from working with an individual. If you have found yourself dazed and confused having stepped into a couple’s escalating conflict without a clear road map, then this course is for you. Likewise, if you are an experienced couple therapist wanting a new take on how to think about this complex and challenging work, this course is sure to energize you and up your skill set.

This 5-session Seminar Series can be taken as a whole for 15 CE’s, or as individual sessions without CE credits.

In this Seminar Series, you will:

  1. Learn how to conceptualize and identify the systemic feedback loop present in a couple conflict cycle.
  2. Become familiar with the underlying attachment needs of each member of the couple and what drives each partner to continue the escalation process.
  3. Understand the cue, emotion, cognitive appraisal, and behavioral response that occur for each partner in a cycle of distress.
  4. Learn how to name the negative cycle occurring between partners while simultaneously validating the emotional experience of each.
  5. Understand the importance of helping couples speak to each other directly about their emotional experiences in ways that elicit empathy.

*Note: This course does not take the place of the EFT 4-day Externship that is required for therapists wishing to pursue EFT certification.

*Special – September 6: “What’s So Special About EFT?”
A FREE 90 minute overview of the EFT model and why you should take this course. (Not required)

September 20: “Two of them, One of Me: The Art of Holding Two Perspectives”
Deep empathy is a key ingredient in any therapeutic alliance, but when there are competing views of the problem, we need to validate each person without taking sides. This class addresses how to build strong alliances with both members of the couple and properly assess them for effective treatment.

October 4: “Seeing the Forest Through the Trees: Identifying Negative Relationship Cycles in Distressed Couples”
As systems thinkers, we develop an ear for process over content, circular feedback loops over the more linear cause and effect approach. In this class, we learn how to track sequences of behavior, reframe the intent, and choreograph new interactions.

October 18: “There Is More Than Meets the Eye: Making Sense of Each Partner’s Deeper Emotions”
As couple therapists, we can serve as the safe attachment figure for each of the partners and help them explore their inner worlds and what drives them to feel and behave as they do.

November 1: “Learning Is Experience. Everything Else Is Just Information”
This quote from Einstein speaks to how couples learn new ways of relating to one another as well as how we as therapists best learn new approaches. This class will focus on learning how to facilitate effective enactments with couples. To drive in the point,  participants will practice each step experientially via role plays.

November 15: “Putting Together All the Pieces: The Elegant Integration of the Within and the Between”
Weaving the newly uncovered, more vulnerable emotions of each partner together with the emerging understanding of the negative interactional cycle, therapists learn how to help couples de-escalate while building empathy and capacity for connection.




Nancy Knudsen, LMFT, is a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in Northampton, MA with over 30 years experience in the field. She uses a family systems orientation to work with individuals, couples, and families on a wide range of issues. Over the past 8 years, Nancy’s primary clinical modality has been Emotionally Focused Therapy. She is a certified EFT therapist as well as a certified EFT supervisor, and serves on the planning committee of the New England Center for  EFT. Nancy has taught a number of workshops on EFT for professionals. Additionally, she is a Past President of the Massachusetts Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. She is co-founder and co-director of the Couple and Family Institute of New England.

*Who qualifies for the Student/Agency Clinician Rate?
We offer this discounted rate to enable students and clinicians working in community mental health settings on a full-time basis to be able to participate. Group practices are not eligible.

See our Cancellation and Grievance Policies

Monday Night Movies

When: Mondays, September 17, October 15, November 19, December 17, 2018, 5-7pm
Where: 53 Center Street, Northampton, MA 01060
Moderator: Nancy Knudsen, LMFT

Come watch EFT master therapists work with a couple. We will start and stop the video at various intervals to discuss what the therapist is doing and outline other choices that could be made. Master therapists include Sue Johnson, Rebecca Jorgensen, Scott Wooley, Marlene Best, Katherine Rheem, and other ICEEFT Certified Trainers.


Follow the Emotion: An EFT Refresher Course

When: Friday and Saturday, May 18-19, 2018, 9-4:30
Where: 40 Center Street, Northampton, MA 01060
Instructor: Nancy Knudsen, LMFT

This workshop was designed for those who had already received basic training in Emotionally Focused Therapy, but want to review theory and practice. Some didactic, some video demos, and some experiential exercises kept each day lively and varied.

Day 1: The Challenges of De-Escalation

The De-Escalation Stage of EFT Treatment took couples through the heightened negative cycle of conflict and disconnection to a place of new possibilities based on an emerging capacity for mutual empathy. Sound easy enough?

Participants reviewed steps 1-4 of Stage One Treatment along with the EFT skills involved, and troubleshot the common places where EFT therapists get stuck.

Day 2: Strengthening the Bond

Once a couple’s conflict cycle is quieted, many couples experience such relief that they are ready to terminate. But the real magic of EFT is actually the Stage Two work. This is when we help the couple deepen their bond with a new level of openness and vulnerability. Day 2 reviewed steps 5-7, first with withdrawer re-engagement and then pursuer softening, along with the EFT skills involved.

Nancy Knudsen, LMFT has devoted her 30 year career to serving couples and families in distress, most recently using the model of Emotionally Focused Therapy. She is a Certified EFT Supervisor, a Past President of MAMFT, a Founding Member of the New England Center for EFT, and Co-Director of CFINE.

On Becoming a Family: Clinical Approaches to Fostering Healthy Relationships

When: Friday, November 9, 2018, 9-5
Where: Smith College Conference Center, 51 College Lane, Northampton, MA
Co-Moderators: Jack LaForte, PhD, LMFT and Janine Roberts, EdD
Presenters: Carolyn Broudy, MD; Annette Cycon, LCSW; Charles Daniels, Jr., LICSW; Nancy Knudsen, LMFT; and Mirza Lugardo, LMHC
Rates: Early Bird until 10/19: $120; Regular Fee: $145; MAMFT Members Early Bird: $110; MAMFT Members Regular Fee: $135; Student/Agency Clinician* Early Bird: $75; Student/Agency Clinician* Regular Fee: $95
CE’s: 6 CE’s approved for LMFT’s, LICSW’s, LMHC’s, and Lic. Psychologists
Mental health professionals of levels of experience are welcome.

The family is the basic unit of our communities and the natural home base for each individual within it. When any member of the family is in trouble, the system becomes more fragile, and an outside intervention might be in order. How, what, and with whom is the most impactful intervention? How do we as clinicians best assess what is needed and then provide the most effective service? When is it best to treat the couple, intervene with a parent-child dyad, connect a family member to a support group, provide individual therapy, or offer family therapy?

Keeping in mind that families come in all different configurations from two-parents with a newborn to step-families with a mix of related and unrelated children to single-parent families, foster families, and more, this symposium will offer a rich exploration of how to approach this multitude of challenges.

The morning program consists of a panel of five speakers who will each address a hypothetical case study, drawing upon their own theoretical perspective  and particular approach to family intervention. Discussion among the panelists as well as questions from the audience will follow.

In the afternoon session, participants will select two 90 minute workshops that go into greater depth about the themes discussed in the morning.

Nancy Knudsen

Afternoon Workshops
Slot 1: 1:30-3

Slot 2: 3:15-4:45

  • Families in Crisis: When Childbirth, Relationship Distress, and Mental Illness Collide with Mirza Lugardo, LMHC
  • Strengthening the Couple Bond with Nancy Knudsen, LMFT
  • Promoting Growth at the Intersection of Personal and Social Context: GPS Group Peer Support with Annette Cycon, LCSW

Workshop Descriptions

Perinatal Mental Health: A Family Affair with Carolyn Broudy, MD

While evidence supports the efficacy of individual psychotherapy to treat postnatal mood disorders (PMDs), it also suggests that this approach may not be sufficient to prevent the associated negative developmental outcomes for the child. One reason may be that the family relationships need to be specifically addressed, as suggested by studies demonstrating that infant-parent(s) psychotherapy with depressed mothers can prevent these negative child outcomes. In this seminar we will explore a powerful new video-feedback parenting consultation method specifically developed to address this need.

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Engaging Fathers with a Legacy of Trauma and Addiction
With Charles Daniels, Jr., LICSW

Often the most difficult to engage member of the family is a father on the periphery. These men frequently suffer from trauma histories that they have learned to cope with by using substances and other maladaptive behaviors. This workshop will focus on how to engage fathers who have distanced themselves from their children and help them make meaningful contact in order to stay connected and involved. Time will be spent on how to assess the effects of trauma and addiction, as well as therapeutic approaches best suited to effective treatment.

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Strengthening the Couple Bond
With Nancy Knudsen, LMFT

Giving priority to a primary relationship can be quite a challenge when it is competing with the task of parenting. This workshop explores the multiple hats couples wear while raising a family and the importance of attending to the often neglected couple bond. Participants will learn approaches to helping couples stay connected to one another and bridge the great divide when feeling disconnected. The particular challenges of step-families, fostering, and adoption will be discussed.

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Promoting Growth at the Intersection of Personal and Social Context:
GPS Group Peer Support
With Annette Cycon, MSW

Social isolation breeds and exacerbates emotional complications, such as anxiety, depression and relationship conflict. This is especially common in the postpartum period, when demands are high, and resources low. The GPS support group model, breaks down isolation, educates about, and normalizes the challenges of becoming a parent, illuminating and validating explicit and implicit cultural messaging that plays a massive role in parental identity formation. In this workshop, participants will experience a GPS group. We will begin to deconstruct the trauma-informed elements that provide relief, perspective and safety, and how to integrate life-course issues of race, class, age and culture in a diverse group setting.

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Families in Crisis: When Childbirth, Relationship Distress, and Mental Illness Collide with Mirza Lugardo, LMHC

Couples and families who are touched by a range of mental illnesses can be thrown into serious crisis by a normal life event such as the birth of a child. This workshop will examine the prevalence of chronic mental illness across various ethnic groups, social classes, and age categories in our communities. A variety of treatment interventions will be highlighted with an emphasis on creative solutions for working with couples and families in crisis who are at risk for serious conflicts, separation/divorce, and other traumatic experiences that impede their family structure and interfere in healthy meaningful relationships.

Read More

*Who qualifies for the Student/Agency Clinician Rate?
We offer this discounted rate to enable students and clinicians working in community mental health settings on a full-time basis to be able to participate. Group practices are not eligible.




See our Cancellation Policy

Moving Couples Forward: Using Concepts of Differentiation and Attachment to Harness Growth

When: Friday, April 20, 2018
Where: 40 Center Street, Northampton, MA
Instructors: Nancy Knudsen, LMFT and Katherine Waddell, LMFT

Differentiation of Self and Attachment Theory both offer a window into how to understand the very human struggle as clients’ attempt to balance out a desire to be close and connected to others, yet have an independent and strong self of self.

This workshop spent the morning exploring these key concepts and how they each explain couples’ best attempts at orienting and managing themselves in their relationships.

The afternoon presentation guided clinicians to start thinking developmentally about couples, using both differentiation and attachment theory, and taught six developmental assists that support differentiation and risk taking in building stronger, more vulnerable and more loving kinds of interactions. Participants learned through a combination of lecture and role plays with audience members. There was also discussion of the importance of the therapists’ own differentiation in utilizing these interventions. The work presented is based on the concepts and work of Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson, founders of the Developmental Model of Couples Therapy.

Nancy Knudsen, LMFT is a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in Northampton, MA with over 30 years experience in the field. She has used a family systems orientation over the years to work with individuals, couples, and families on a wide range of issues.

Katherine Waddell, LMFT is a Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Couples Center of the Pioneer Valley located in Northampton, MA. Having worked with couples for over 20 years, Katherine teaches and trains therapists, offering workshops and supervision in the Developmental Model of Couples Therapy (Ellyn Bader/Peter Pearson) across the USA.

When Emotions Run High: Helping Couples Make Sense of Stuck Places With Emotionally Focused Therapy

When: Friday, March 9, 2018
Where: 40 Center Street, Northampton, MA 01060
Instructor: Nancy Knudsen, LMFT

This workshop taught the basic concepts of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), an evidence-based approach that has been shown to be highly effective in helping distressed couples repair and create a secure bond. Based on an integration of structural systems theory and the theory of

attachment and emotional bonding, EFT offers a roadmap to help couples stuck in a perpetual cycle of conflict to find their way back to loving connection. Weaving together the intra-psychic elements of emotional experience with the interactional component between two people, EFT offers clinicians a bridge between the individual and couple therapy paradigms.

Nancy Knudsen, LMFT has devoted her 30 year career to serving couples and families in distress, most recently using the model of Emotionally Focused Therapy. She is a Certified EFT Supervisor, a Past President of MAMFT, a Founding Member of the New England Center for EFT, and Co-Director of CFINE.

Getting Even: When Children Seek Revenge in Their Families

When: Friday, February 16, 2018
Where: 40 Center Street, Northampton, MA 01060
Instructor: Howard Wolfe, LMFT

This workshop was about how children can destroy family life through acts of revenge. They can ruin meal times, playtimes, vacations, morning and bedtime routines. These small and big moments are often acts of revenge. The child gets “hurt” by a parent and then seeks revenge. Unlike some family issues which can be easily corrected, the child who seeks revenge develops a narcissistic and self protective shell which can insulate him or her from all reason and correction. Parents often react by hurting back, creating and reinforcing a feud. This workshop presented an overview of a family systems approach to working with young children (age 3-11), explained the dynamics involved in revenge and discussed methods to prevent and heal it.

Howard C. Wolfe, MA, LMFT was trained as a Family Sociologist before completing two marriage and family therapy programs, one at Penn State (MA) in Human Development and one at The Minnesota State University (PhD program) in Home Economics. He has been practicing for many years in a variety of settings including street work with youth, mental health clinics (as a clinician, supervisor, and director), and in private practice.

Tales From the Licensing Board: Ethical Issues facing Couple and Family Therapists

When: Friday, December 8, 2017
Where: 40 Center Street, Northampton, MA
Instructors: I. Scott Cohen, LICSW, LMFT

If you work with more than one member of a family at a time, it is critical to be well informed about the relevant professional ethics, yet how many of us are? This workshop brought to life the AAMFT Code Of Ethics as well as some of the ethical guidelines issued by the Commonwealth of MA, in an engaging and thought-provoking way. Topics such as the Guidelines for Dealing with Children Whose Parents are Divorced, Separated or Not Living Together, and Policy on Distance, Online and Other Electronic-Assisted Counseling were examined. In addition, we discussed informed consent, record keeping and how to be compliant with HIPPA and state regulations. Examples and case material from the Board of Registration complaint cases were used, offering guidance to clinicians in avoiding common pitfalls.

I. Scott Cohen, LICSW, LMFT is both a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. Since 1978, he has provided couples, family, individual and group therapy. He specializes in working with victims of violent crime and post-traumatic stress disorder, adolescents and their families, and substance abuse and addictions.

Navigating the Danger Zone: Working with Dysregulation and State-Dependent Couples Therapy

When:Friday, November 17, 2017
Where: 40 Center Street, Northampton, MA
Instructors: Kerry Lusignan, LMHC

This workshop focused on the challenges of working with the dysregulation of distressed couples and provided assessments and interventions to support them. It drew on a number of methods falling under the rubric of state-dependent couples therapy, including Gottman Method Couple Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT),Pragmatic Experiential Therapy (PEX-T) and the Psychobiological Approach (PACT). These models share an overlapping interest in the psychobiology of relationship and shifting partner’s states to support self and co-regulation. We explored the overlap in terms of the insights and treatment options that it affords.

Kerry Lusignan, LMHC holds a Master’s from the Department of Applied Psychology at Antioch New England Graduate School, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and has more than 25 years of experience in the field of mental health. In 2002, she opened her first private practice in Northampton, MA, and in 2009 began dedicating her practice exclusively to the treatment of couples in distress.

Addressing Addictions, Fostering Attachment with Emotionally Focused Therapy

When: Friday and Saturday, November 3-4, 2017
Where: Smith College Conference Center, 51 College Laine, Northampton, MA 01060
Instructor: Michael Barnett, LPC

This two-day workshop was an advanced master class in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) designed to inform how addictive processes (chemical dependency as well as other non-chemical or process addictions) impact attachment bonds and how clinicians can successfully work with these couples and families.

So often in clinical work, we run across addictive processes that impact clients’ ability to connect and establish secure attachment. We now have the tools to integrate an attachment-based focus in addressing addictions so that a new positive cycle can be created in couples and families to support sobriety, growth and healing.

Participants will:

  • Gain a thorough understanding of how addictions can be seen through the lens of attachment
  • Assess whether EFT can be beneficial in the face of active addiction
  • Learn to assess and address both active addictive process and well as past addictive process
  • Learn effective tools to address addiction and increase attachment security with EFT

Michael Barnett, LPC is a certified supervisor and trainer in Emotionally Focused Therapy, and the founder and director of the Atlanta Center for EFT. Michael brings extensive experience in the addictions field and a passion for helping couples and families impacted by addiction.

Narrative Therapy: A Postmodern Approach to the Therapeutic Process

When: Friday, October 20, 2017
Where: 40 Center Street, Northampton, MA
Instructors: MaryAnna Domokos-Cheng Ham, Ed.D., LMFT

This workshop took concepts from postmodern thinking and infused them into Narrative Therapy: a method for therapeutic intervention. With postmodern concepts as a foundation for Narrative therapy, this therapeutic method becomes a collaborative and non-pathologizing approach to family and couple therapy that respects and promotes people as the experts of their own lives. Narrative therapy interventions treat problems as separate from people. These interventions assume people to have many skills, abilities, values, commitments, beliefs and competencies that will assist them to change their relationship with the problems influencing their lives. Narrative therapy is a way of working that considers the broader context of people’s lives particularly in the various dimensions of diversity including class, race, gender, sexual orientation and ability.In the evolving development of relational therapies (family and couple therapy), postmodern assumptions about the purpose and goals for therapeutic interventions have become the center of how relational therapy is implemented. Hierarchy and power in relationships as well as the role of the therapist is now challenged by the goals of postmodern thought: to deconstruct “facts” by delineating the assumptions, value, and ideological frameworks supporting the “facts.” Those who work as postmodernists recognized that the self is not an isolated, autonomous being but rather is constructed in relationship. Narrative therapy implements these postmodern concepts.

MaryAnna Domokos-Cheng Ham, Ed.D., LMFT is a Professor Emerita at the University of Massachusetts Boston. While at UMass Boston she founded and developed the Family Therapy Program, and was its director. Currently, Dr. Ham maintains a private practice in Northampton, MA. She is also a Master Therapist for Couples Therapy Inc, an online therapy practice that treats couples located internationally and throughout the United States.

The Leap to Systems Thinking: Learning from the Great Innovators

When: Friday, September 27, 2017
Where: 40 Center Street, Northampton, MA
Instructors: Jack LaForte, Ph.D., LMFT, Nancy Knudsen, LMFT, and Peter Titelman, Ph.D, LMFT

This workshop was designed to ground clinicians in the fundamentals of family systems theory and practice. Starting with the work of Karl Ludwig von Bertalanffy, the founder of General Systems Theory; progressing to two of the giants of the family therapy movement, Salvador Minuchin, the founder of Structural Family Therapy, and Murray Bowen, the originator of Bowen Systems Theory; and ending with Susan Johnson, the originator of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), the three presenters elucidated the theme of “thinking systems.” A way of thinking about people in the context of their family relationships, the great paradigm shift that revolutionized the field of psychotherapy can be applied to working with individuals, couples, families, or even larger social groups. Lecture, video clips of these great originators at work, discussion, and a live case consultation with a workshop participant on the application of Bowen theory with a therapist’s own family made this day a full experience.

Jack LaForte, Ph.D., LMFT has worked with literally thousands of clients during his career as a psychologist, licensed marriage and family therapist, life coach and consultant. With over 35 years experience, he has developed an integrated client-focused approach which combines family systems, positive psychology, communications theory, cognitive behavioral therapy, and emotionally focused therapy.

Nancy Knudsen, LMFT is a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in Northampton, MA with over 30 years experience in the field. She has used a family systems orientation over the years to work with individuals, couples, and families on a wide range of issues.

Peter Titelman, PhD maintains a private practice in clinical psychology, specializing in Bowen family systems therapy, consultation, professional education, and supervision in Northampton, Massachusetts. Dr. Titelman has been leading consultation groups on the professional’s own family for close to thirty-five years. He is a founding member of the New England Seminar on Bowen Theory in Worcester, Massachusetts.

The Hold Me Tight®, Hold Me Just Right Program: The Dance of Touch and Sexual Connection in Intimate Relationships

When: December 1-2, 2018, Saturday 9-5 and Sunday 10-4
Where: Smith College Conference Center, 51 College Lane, Northampton, MA
Instructor:  Nancy Knudsen, LMFT and Michael Moran, LCSW, CST
Early Bird Rate: $595  Regular Rate: $650 after 11/16

Why is it so hard to reach and maintain the flow of authentic sexual connection with our intimate partner over time? How is it that our signals get distorted and misunderstood? What is behind all that avoidance that one or both of us has fallen into? How can we enhance what has become too predictable a routine?

This workshop is designed for couples who have either done the Hold Me Tight® Program or worked with a therapist using the Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) model and have some familiarity with their cycle of relationship distress.


Couples will:

  • Learn about the blocks to intimacy and physical closeness
  • Explore negative cycles related to sexual intimacy and touch
  • Hear about state of the art research on sexuality in committed relationships
  • Learn more about each parter’s desire and how to re-start or enhance this important bond
  • Discover new ways of breathing life into your sexual connection

Open to couples of all backgrounds and persuasions.

All conversations will take place between partners with assistance form our highly qualified roving therapists as needed. In a weekend format, this couples workshop serves as a relationship retreat. Homework will be given on Saturday night, so it is optimal for couples to plan to spend time together without distractions.

Taking place at the scenic Smith College Conference Center, participants will have access to walks around campus during the breaks. Lunch is available for purchase at the Smith College Student Center or in downtown Northampton.

Hold Me Tight® is a registered trademark of Dr. Sue Johnson.