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 day and 3 optional follow-up sessions.

How much time and money do you invest in your car?  Come to an engaging and transformational 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 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 / Other Details

The Satir Learning Centre of Ottawa, on the banks of the Jock RiverWorkshop date:  Saturday, 18 January 2014
Workshop registration and check-in:  Saturday (8:30 AM)
Workshop times:  Saturday (9:00 AM to 7:00 PM).  The workshop will start promptly at this time.
Reconnect:  Three optional, recommended biweekly four-hour follow-up sessions will be held on Saturday afternoons from 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM on January 25, February 8, and April 5. There is no additional charge for these sessions.

Lunch and snacks will be provided.

Both the 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.

We invite you to pre-register online to reserve your spot and to help us in our planning.  Complete the registration process and payment when you arrive at the workshop.  Cheques may be made out to "SLCO".

We keep our prices low to accommodate all incomes, and we welcome contributions to our bursary fund to help those of lesser means.

Couple where at least one is a medical resident, student, SLCO member, or senior citizen (65 & over & not one of above)$145
Other couple$195