You are here

Integrating Music and Other Arts into Couple Therapy Theory and Practice Agenda

Couple therapy has been variously called a science, a craft, or an art.  In fact, it is all those things.  And many writers in the field have drawn analogies between dance, music, and theater to describe the interactions of couples and the therapy process itself.  But most training programs do not teach therapists how to be creative and “artistic” in their work.  Nor do they teach a systematic method for engaging the arts – music, dance, theater, the visual arts, literature, and other artistic expressions – in creating interventions individually tailored to the needs and sensibilities of clients.  As evolutionary biologist E. O. Wilson has noted, the arts, and the humanities, have much to say about the human experience and can inform science-based practices.  In this workshop, focusing mostly on music as an example, you will learn how to use the arts as sources of metaphors to describe to couples what you witness about them; to transmit therapeutic messages in a more powerful way than plain prose can attain; and to promote understanding and healing.  Through lecture, case descriptions and short audiotapes of session vignettes, and experiential exercises, you will learn how to utilize music and other arts – without necessarily having expertise as an artist or training in expressive therapies!

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to describe the core ideas of Wilson’s consilience theory, which argues for an integration of science, arts, and humanities towards a comprehensive understanding of human life.
  • Participants will be able to describe how drawing on one’s familiarity with the arts is another form of therapists’ use of self, which intersects with one’s social location in terms of culture, class, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, and other dimensions of difference, and how questions to clients about their artistic points of reference provide a ready method for learning about their lived experiences, sources of pleasure and pain, and their cultural backgrounds.
  • Participants will be able to list three findings from neuroscience that support musical interventions in couple therapy
  • Participants will be able to list three ways to use music in couple therapy sessions, and will be able to recount at least three clinical vignettes used to illustrate these techniques.
  • Participants will develop a concrete plan to implement arts-based interventions in their upcoming sessions with couples.

Presenter Information:

Peter Fraenkel, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the City College of New Youk, a former faculty member at the Ackerman Institute, and in private practice in New York City. He received the American Family Therapy Academy's 2012 award for Innovative Contribution to Family Therapy. Dr. Fraenkel is the author of Sync Your Relationship, Save Your Marriage: Four Steps to Getting Back on Track (2011, Palgrave-Macmillan), a forthcoming book on "Last Chance Couple Therapy", and author of numerous other publications. Dr. Fraenkel has conducted workshops throughout the world. He is a former member of the Board of Directors and is an Advisory Editor for the journal Family Process, a Contibuting Editor and presenter for The Psychotherapy Networker, and past Vice President of AFTA.

Workshop Details:

The event will be held on May 22, 2020 from 9 am to 5 pm online.

This training is designed for mental health professionals and provides 6.5 clinical hours of continuing education.

The registration fee is $150. Tulane University adjuncts, DSW students, faculty, and staff may contact us for discount codes.

Please fill out the online form to register. 

Payments can be made via credit card or via check or money order (payable to Tulane School of Social Work). Only MasterCard and Visa accepted. If you pay by check, payment should be mailed immediately after completing the online registration form. Your registration is NOT complete until we have received your payment.  For checks, please mail your payment to:

ATTN:  Jessica St. Pierre
School of Social Work
Tulane University #8906
127 Elk Place
New Orleans, LA 70112-2627

Your final registration is predicated on receiving your payment. Once your payment is received, you will receive an email confirming your registration into the program. Only at that time are you guaranteed a spot at the workshop.

In the event you cannot come to our program, please notify us 24 hours before the program begins, either by email (preferred) at or via phone at 504-247-1446.  We will refund the registration fee if notified 24 hours prior to the workshop. 

For more information, please contact Jessica St. Pierre at 504-247-1446.

Friday, May 22, 2020 - 09:00 to 17:00
Admission is charged
Invitation status: 
Open to the public
Ticket info URL:
Public contact name: 
Jessica St. Pierre
Public contact e-mail:
RSVP/Reservation via Website:

Sponsored by: