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F22-206 Relationship Enhancement Therapy (RE) for Couples and Families

Total Credits: 3 including 3 Category I CE

200 Adults, Couples & Families |  800 Online
Robert Scuka, PhD
Course Levels:
3 Hours 15 Minutes
Target Audience:
Social Workers, LCPCs, and Psychologists



RE Therapy combines a psychoeducational skills-training approach with deep emotional processing designed to transform couples’ and families’ negative patterns of interaction into positive, nurturing ones, so as to facilitate deepened emotional connection and healing in ruptured relationships. The core RE skills focus on how to manage conflict effectively and how to dialogue in order to uncover clients’ most vital feelings, concerns, and desires. This in turn empowers even the most distressed couples and families to resolve current and future problems on their own. An additional strength of RE Therapy is that it equalizes power within relationships, both between genders and across generations. RE Therapy is supported by 40 years of research that validates its clinical effectiveness. This introductory workshop will briefly introduce the theory and practice of RE therapy. More importantly, the focus will be on the core RE skill of deep empathy, including how to understand it, how to teach it to couples, and how to employ the special Identification Mode of verbal empathy.



Robert Scuka, PhD Related seminars and products

Dr. Rob Scuka is a Maryland licensed clinical social worker and has been meeting the diverse and complex needs of couples, families and individuals for the past 15 years. 

In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Rob is Executive Director of the National Institute of Relationship Enhancement® (NIRE) in Bethesda, MD,  where he is also a member of NIRE’s training faculty and certified as a trainer and supervisor in Relationship Enhancement (RE) Therapy, the RE Program and Child-Centered Play Therapy.

Dr. Rob is the author of numerous articles and the book Relationship Enhancement Therapy: Healing Through Deep Empathy and Intimate Dialogue, published by Routledge in 2005. He holds a Masters in Social Work (M.S.W.) from the University of Maryland School of Social Work (1994) and served as an adjunct faculty. Dr. Rob has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Southern Methodist University.

Agenda & Learning Objectives


08:50 Registration/Log on
09:00 - 10:30
  • Definition of the Relationship Enhancement (RE) Model - a combination of skillss training plus intensive couple diaologues.
  • Philosophy - RE as skills training because people are lacking skills (vs. psychopathology)
  • Effectiveness and research
    • The 10 RE Skills and Diaologue Process
    • A Theoretical background to RE Therapy
    • A Combination of Carl Rogers, Learning Theory, Behavioral Psychology
  • Three formats for conducting RE Therapy:
    • Structured Teaching Format
    • Experiential Format
    • Crisis Intervention Format


10:30 - 10:45                         

10:45 - 12:15
  • RE Therapy Special Techniques:
    • Becoming
    • Laundering
    • Drawing Out Underlying Positives
    • Client Troubleshooting
  • The Two Components of Deep Empathy - The Experiential Component and the Verbal Component
  • The Two Modes of Verbal Empathy - You Mode Empathy and Identification Mode Empathy
  • Teaching Empathy as a Skill
  • Demonstration of Identification Mode Empathy
  • Introducing Partner Appreciations
12:15 Questions & Adjournment


Upon the completion of this workshop, participants will be able to:
  • Describe how to bring a couple into a structured dialogue process to minimize negative communication and maximize constructive communication
  • Describe how to orient couples to a method of deep empathy within the context of a structured dialogue process
  • Describe how to employ and teach couples a special Identification Mode of verbal empathy.

Bibliography & References




For complete Bibliography on all Relationship Enhancement® writings,

plus RE training materials (manuals, audio cassettes, and videotapes), visit:


Guerney, B. G., Jr. (1982). The delivery of mental health services: Spiritual vs. medical vs. educational models. In T. R. Vallance & P. M. Sabre (Eds.), Mental Health Services in Transition: A Policy Sourcebook. New York: Human Sciences Press, 239-241.



Guerney, B. G., Jr. (1994). The role of emotion in Relationship Enhancement marital/family therapy. In S. M. Johnson (Ed.) & L.S. Greenberg, The Heart of the Matter: Perspectives on Emotion in Marital Therapy. New York: Brunner/Mazel, Inc., 124-147.



Accordino, M. P., & Guerney, B. G., Jr. (2001). The empirical validation of Relationship Enhancement® couple and family therapy. In D. J. Cain & J. Seeman (Eds.), Humanistic Psychotherapies: Handbook of Research and Practice. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 403-442.



Book: Scuka, Robert F. (2005). Relationship Enhancement Therapy: Healing Through Deep Empathy and

Intimate Dialogue. New York: Routledge. Available from IDEALS/NIRE, 12500 Blake Road, Silver Spring, MD 20904. Information/order: E-mail



Scuka, R. F. (2016). Relationship Enhancement and mastering the mysteries of love. In J. J. Ponzetti, Jr. (Ed.),  Evidence-Based Approaches to Relationship and Marriage Education, New York: Routledge, 165-179.



Woldarsky Meneses. C., & Scuka, R, F. (2016). Empirically supported humanistic approaches to working with  couples and families. In D. J. Cain & K. Keenan, & S. Rubin (Eds.), Humanistic Psychotherapies:

 Handbook of Research and Practice (2nd ed.). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.



Guerney, B. G., Jr., Vogelsong, E., & Coufal, J. (1983). Relationship Enhancement versus a traditional treatment: Follow-up and booster effects. In D. Olson & B. Miller (Eds.), Family Studies Review Yearbook Vol. 1. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 738-756.



Guerney, L., & Guerney, B. G., Jr. (1985). The Relationship Enhancement family of family therapies. In L. L'Abate & M. A. Milan (Eds.), Handbook of Social Skills Training and Research. Somerset, NY: John Wiley and Sons, 506-524.



Guerney, B. G., Jr., & Guerney, L. (1988). Building relationship skills in families and para-family teams. In D. H. Olson (Ed.), Family Perspectives in Child and Youth Services. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press, 49-64.



Hardley, G., Guerney, B. G., Jr. (1989). A psychoeducational approach to family therapy. In R. Figley (Ed.), Treating Stress in Families (Vol. 3), New York: Brunner/Mazel, 158-181.



Guerney, B. G., Jr., & Maxson, P. (1990). Marital and family enrichment research: A decade review and look ahead. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 52, 1127-1135.



Ross, E. R., Baker, S. B., & Guerney, B. G., Jr. (1985). Effectiveness of Relationship Enhancement therapy versus therapist's preferred therapy. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 13(1), 11-21.



Snyder, M., & Guerney, B. G., Jr. (1993). Brief couple/family therapy: The Relationship Enhancement approach. In R. A. Wells & V. J. Giannette (Eds.), Casebook of the Brief Psychotherapies. New York: Plenum Press, 221-234.



Griffin, J. M., Jr., & Apostal, R. A. (1993). The influence of Relationship Enhancement training on differentiation of self. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 19(3), 267-272.



Scuka, R. F. (2011). The radical nature of the relationship enhancement expressive skill and its implications for therapy and psychoeducation. The Family Journal, 19(1), 30-35.



Scuka, R. F. (2015). A clinician's guide to helping couples heal from the trauma of infidelity. Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, 14, 141-168.



DVD: Scuka, R.. (2003). Demonstration of the Identification Mode of Empathy with the Relationship Enhancement® Model. Available from NIRE/ IDEALS. Information/order: E-mail



 DVDs: Guerney, B. G., Jr., Nordling, W., & Scuka, R. (2000). How to Conduct Relationship

Enhancement® Therapy with Couples and Families. VHS videotapes. Available from NIRE/IDEALS, 12500

Blake Road, Silver Spring, MD 20904. Information/order: E-mail



Snyder, M. (1994). Couple therapy with narcissistically vulnerable clients: Using the Relationship Enhancement model. The Family Journal, 2(1), 27-35. 



Waldo, M., & Harman, M. J. (1993). Relationship Enhancement therapy with borderline personality. The Family Journal, 1(1), 25-30.



Zahniser, J. H., & Falk, D. R. (1993). Relationship Enhancement marital therapy with a schizophrenic couple: A case study. The Family Journal, 1(2), 136-143.



Accordino, M. P., & Herbert, J. T. (1997). Relationship Enhancement® as an intervention to facilitate reha-bilitation of persons with severe mental illness. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 28(1), 47-52.



Waldo, M., & Guerney, B. G., Jr. (1983). Marital Relationship Enhancement therapy in the treatment of alcoholism. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 9(3), 321-323.



Matter, M., McAllister, W., & Guerney, B. G., Jr. (1984). Relationship Enhancement for the recovering couple: Working with the intangible. Focus on Family and Chemical Dependency, 7(5), 21-23 & 40.



Waldo, M. (1988). Relationship Enhancement counseling groups for wife abusers. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, January, 10(1), 37-45.



Snyder, M. A. (1992). Gender-informed model of couple and family therapy: Relationship Enhancement therapy. Contemporary Family Therapy, 14(1), 15-31.




Live Interactive Webinar Platforms



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Late Fees and Refunds

Fee & Registration:

Cost is $70 and includes CE credit. Registering after September 28, 2022 will incur an additional $20 late fee. *Cancellations must be received 24 hours in advance prior to the live interactive webinar to receive a refund or a credit letter.


*All cancellations will be subjected to a $35.00 administration fee

Course Completion & CE Information


Category I Maryland BSWE Requirement

The Office of Continuing Professional Education at the University Of Maryland School Of Social Work is authorized by the Board of Social Work Examiners in Maryland to sponsor social work continuing education programs. This workshop qualifies for 3 Category I Continuing Education Units. The Office of Continuing Professional Education is also authorized by the Maryland Board of Psychologists and the Maryland Board of Professional Counselors to sponsor Category A continuing professional education.


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Target Audience

Social Workers, LCPCs, and Psychologists

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