Workshop for Couples: Tune-up, maintenance, or overhaul?

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Time to re-connect

Is it time to give your relationship a tune-up?

Does your relationship vehicle need

  • new spark plugs?
  • better brakes (on negativity)?
  • a better accelerator in specific areas?
  • better emission controls to help you stop polluting your environment (e.g., for your kids)?

Are you always looking in the rear-view mirror?

  • Learn to look in the right direction!

Are you ever tempted to turn it in for a new model?

  • That's very expensive, emotionally and financially, when you can have a refit for only a weekend and 6 optional follow-up sessions.

How much time and money do you invest in your car?  Come to an engaging and transformational weekend workshop for couples.

Become aware of the power you have to reshape your life.

Learn why you repeatedly experience the same challenges in your relationships.

Learn to transform anger, hurt, and fear into energy for a positive future.

Come to an engaging and transformational weekend workshop for couples based on the work of pioneer family-systems therapist Virginia Satir.  Learn tools for self-discovery, raising self-esteem, and relating to others.

What is it about?

This workshop is for any couple at any stage and of any gender, for anyone who wants to improve their own self-awareness and deepen their understanding and appreciation of how their relationship fuels their life and their happiness. Whether you have evident conflicts or problems or just think that you've let things drift a bit or want to do an ounce of prevention in this important arena, spending time together to invigorate your partnership will be valuable and FUN!

The Satir Model, developed by family therapist Virginia Satir, has a way of helping people achieve the self-awareness and confidence necessary to make personal changes that will transform your relationships.  The workshop focuses on the origin of self-esteem and its essential role in how we view ourselves and others.

Learn how to be congruent and how you and your partner can build self-esteem. See yourselves through the metaphor of The Iceberg. Explore your conflicts with The Ingredients of an Interaction. Learn your partner’s Love Language and understand your Couple Stage and your interlocking scripts, so both of you can be more at choice.


Much of what is presented at the workshop is drawn from the work of Virginia Satir, a pioneer in family systems therapy and an inspiration to generations of family therapists.  Her legacy is a vibrant network of therapists and lay people who continue to be involved in the Virginia Satir Global Network and in the Satir Institutes worldwide.  The Satir Model helps people rediscover their essential value through exercises that encourage self-awareness and personal growth.

In addition, material is drawn from the following books (detailed information about these books is available here):

  • John GottmanThe Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, based on 20 years of research.
  • Susan CampbellThe Couple’s Journey:  Intimacy as a Path to Wholeness, which clarifies the power struggle stage.
  • Gary ChapmanThe Five Love Languages:  How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate
  • Deborah Tannen:  You Just Don’t Understand:  Women and Men in Conversation, which helps you understand gender differences
  • Harville HendrixGetting the Love You Want:  A Guide for Couples
  • Harold Bloomfield: Making Peace with Your Parents

For whom is it?

People come to SLCO workshops from all of life's circumstances.  Whether you are prepared for a little change or a lot, you will find yourself among friends in a safe and supportive environment.  This workshop will start you on or enhance your journey of self-discovery and change.

You'll find a mix of new people and people who've been to our workshops before, people who are part of our community.  As people gain a better understanding of themselves, many find it useful to return and view these concepts from their new place of understanding.

Virginia saw people as good at their core (often despite appearances) and with a desire to grow and learn and discover a deep source of high self-esteem, which can be tapped when you know where to look. With humour, respect for humans of any walk of life or circumstance, and a sense of safety and confidentiality, she created workshops for personal growth and transformation, which have continued in 34 countries since her death.

How much do I have to participate?

Don’t worry!  This is not a show and tell.  We know that many people are nervous about groups.  Be assured that, as a participant, you need say nothing about yourself in the group—you learn vicariously through learning about the tools.  You can remain an observer.  You will work with two other people of your own choosing.  In the larger group, you can choose to volunteer if you want to say something further.  At all times, you choose what you say.  A key philosophy is that we are responsible for ourselves, and that includes the right to say yes or no.


Please avoid wearing perfume and cologne, as some people are highly allergic.

Dates and Times / Location

The Satir Learning Centre of Ottawa, on the banks of the Jock RiverWorkshop dates:  Saturday and Sunday, 29 & 30 October 2011
Registration deadline for early bird price: Wednesday, 28 September 2011
Workshop registration and check-in:  Saturday (8:30 AM), Sunday (8:45 AM)
Workshop times:  Saturday (9:00 AM to 5:00 PM) and Sunday (9:00 AM to 5:00 PM).  The workshop will start promptly at these times each day.
Reconnect:  Six optional biweekly evening follow-up sessions will be held. These will be from 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm and are recommended. There is no additional charge for these sessions.  The days will be set later.

Both the weekend workshop and the follow-up sessions will be held at the Satir Learning Centre of Ottawa (details) on the banks of the Jock River at the south end of Barrhaven.

Registration information

For more information, please contact the Satir Learning Centre of Ottawa.

To register for the workshop, please print the registration form , fill it in, and mail it with payment to the address on the form.  Cheques may be made out to either the "Satir Learning Centre of Ottawa" or "SLCO".

We keep our prices low to accommodate all incomes, and we welcome contributions to our bursary fund to help those of lesser means. SLCO members are expected to bring food, and if newcomers would like to contribute to the community in that way, we would be delighted.

SLCO member, medical resident, student$225
Senior citizen (65 & over & not one of above)$275
Other individual$375

Except for existing members, all workshop fees include an affiliate membership in the SLCO.

To encourage early registration to help our planning, after Wednesday, October 19, an additional fee of $50 / couple will be charged.

Printable fliers and poster

We have a flier about the workshop that you can print.  You might find this useful if you have a friend or family member whom you think might be interested in the workshop and who prefers printed material.  Alternatively, if you know of places (such as doctors' offices, beauty salons, community centres, etc.) that would have clients who might be interested, we would be happy to have you place fliers in these locations.  The flier assumes that the reader will go to the web site for further details and registration.

We also have a poster  that can be placed in various venues.  If you will be visiting a place where one of our posters might be useful, we invite you to put it up.