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Conference venue: Cambridge Hotel, Sydney

Date: Friday 4th August 2017
Time: 9am – 4pm
PD Points: 6

This is a one-day course designed to give new and experienced Therapists the confidence to work with families who are in high conflict and perhaps dealing with relationship cut offs and estrangements. You will be given a practical “how to” guide by Jacqueline McDiarmid who specialises in these presentations.

The course is equally applicable to Therapists who work with individuals affected by a family conflict, and Therapists who work with two or more members of a ruptured family.

Family conflict is loaded and dangerous. It threatens the most fundamentally important relationships in people’s lives. It is an attack on security, sense of self, belonging, our stories. It often pits the strong pull of love against behaviour which would be unforgivable from a stranger. A loss of contact between parents and children or siblings is profoundly painful. The distress caused to the wider family – who can feel compromised, caught, and helpless – is also damaging.

These are among the most complex and challenging presentations for a Therapist. They tear at the fabric of the family systems. Left unresolved, they can cause anguish for a large number of people – across generations and for generations.

To effectively manage family conflict, a Therapist needs confidence and intellectual clarity. You need to contain the emotion in the room and keep the work progressing. You need to set strong boundaries for yourself and your clients. You need the skills to guide an individual or multiple family members to a resolution.

Jacqueline McDiarmid’s practical one-day course is designed to help you with all of the above.

Course material will draw on Jacqueline’s extensive experience with serious family conflict and estrangements. She’ll give you ideas for working with individuals and families within a systemic framework. Ideas from solution-focussed therapy will be presented as well other tools like the listening dialogue.

Learning will be by group discussion, case presentation, role plays and experiential exercises. This is very much a ‘how-to’ course.

This seminar is suitable for Counsellors, Therapists and Social Workers who currently work with individuals and/or families either in an agency or in private practice. Inexperienced Therapists who are considering this type of work will benefit from understanding what this work might entail.


  • You will learn systemic ideas as applied to working with adult families.
  • You will learn how to engage a highly stressed and volatile family.
  • You will learn how to set up boundaries that guard against splitting and triangulation.To contain the sessions.
  • You will learn how to keep the sessions balanced and manage conflict.
  • You will learn how to work with the genogram.
  • You will learn how to manage your anxiety and triggers to conflict in the room.
  • You will be given strategies to manage conflict and challenging personality types.
  • You will learn when it is appropriate to separate family members to do the work and when it is appropriate to do the work as a group.
  • You will learn how to manage a situation where repair of a family relationship is not in the best interest of the family or the individual you are working with.
  • You will feel more confident approaching adult family work both with individuals and group family sessions.

Jacqueline will share her extensive knowledge, clinical experience and practical approaches and methods throughout the day.

View testimonials for this course here.

jacqueline finalCourse presenter

Jacqueline McDiarmid MCFT, B.Couns., Dip. Psych, is the Director of the Sydney Couple and Family Specialists, a private practice in Sydney and the Director of The Couple and Family Training Centre where she runs professional development training sessions and a mentoring program for those who wish to work in couple and family therapy. She currently lectures in the Masters program at the Jansen Newman Institute and guest lecturers at various universities. Jacqueline is well known for her work with couples and families and is passionate about offering clients the opportunity to experience a safe and productive place to work with well trained Couple and Family Therapists. Jacqueline is a Clinical Member of the Family Therapy Association of Australia and a Clinical Member of PACFA.