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Resilient Connections: Negotiating Differing Values with Families or Couples

  • Evo Health and Wellness 340 Sunset Ave. Venice, CA, 90291 United States (map)

Resilient Connections

The idea for this workshop grew out of a conversation between Larry Zucker and Koorosh Rassekh regarding making space for differing values within a couple or a family. Space for difference within relationship is a different metaphor than the usual separation/individuation discourse that permeates our field.

Larry works both with high conflict couples and with the often-escalated world of adolescents and their parents. In the individualized and medicalized culture of psychotherapy, we’re trained to see problematic relationships as the inevitable product of people or systems with intrinsic problems.  Whether it’s couples who each blame the other for the state of their relationship, or parents and teens locked in a cycle of defiance and control, we therapists tend to enter the fray already behind the eight-ball, thinking our job is to heal individuals and make them “ready” for relationship. Sometimes we’re even-handed, sometimes we’re not, but we generally treat relationships as the products of people, and in varying ways we organize a problem-focused inquiry into the workings and histories of the individuals.

What if we were to reverse that and treat people as products of relationships? A different line of inquiry becomes possible when we view relationship as its own entity, one that is concerned with its people, and has hopes and dreams for what it might enable in their lives. A relational language that emerges from narrative therapy practice can pave the way. Imagine asking a couple, “Do you think that your relationship gets discouraged about recapturing the playful spirit of its earlier days when it hears you blaming each other for the current state of affairs?” Or saying to parents and a teen: “If your best possible future relationship were to visit you in the present for the purposes of guiding you towards it’s dream for you, what might it advise you to do differently about this time in family life when young persons want to test their wings and parents worry that they’re not quite ready?”

These two questions are examples of hope-biased—rather than problem focused—lines of inquiry. When we can help people look at themselves from their preferred relationship’s point of view, we’re doing our job. Because then they might fight for their dreamed of relationship instead of with each other.  

Attendees are welcome to bring lunch, discuss additional questions, and join in free case consultation with Koorosh after the workshop. Lunch and case consultation will take place from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn to spot and decline invitations into educative, evaluative, refereeing or other expert roles as a couple or family therapist

  • Learn 2 methods for interrupting debate and power struggle

  • Learn 2 ways to tease out clients’ expertise regarding both their problematic and preferred ways of relating

  • Learn 3 starter questions to ask a couple’s relationship about its hopes and dreams for its members

  • Learn 3 starter questions to ask parents and teens about their hopes for what their relationship will become over time.

3 CEUs offered

Workshop co-hosted by Educational Narratives Learning Lab & Evo Health and Wellness


8:30 AM - Arrive and get settled
9:00 AM to 10:30 AM - Workshop
10:30 AM to 11:00 AM - Break
11:00 AM to 12:30 PM - Workshop

1:00 PM to 2:00 PM - Optional free case consultation

Co-Presented by Larry Zucker, LCSW and Koorosh Rassekh, MA (Marriage & Family Therapy)


Larry M. Zucker, LCSW (LCS 14596) is a Narrative Therapist practicing in Los Angeles for 30 years. He is a supervisor at the Southern California Counseling Center, where he also leads the Insider Witnessing Practices Study Group, experimenting with emerging narrative methods. He provides supervision, consultation and training in Los Angeles and online through  He created the online course Escaping Blame: Helping Couples Develop Accountability, which is available at Re-authoring Teaching. He is and AAMFT clinical member and approved supervisor. 


Koorosh Rassekh knows addiction because he’s lived it. He also has extensive experience as a therapist, with a focus in both addiction treatment and mindfulness.

At the Matrix Institute on Addictions, Koorosh specialized in working with young adults dealing with drugs, alcohol, and addiction issues. As Director of Mindfulness at Alternatives Behavioral Health, he helped develop a program to support clients to successfully adopt their desired lifestyle, whether abstinence or moderation. Koorosh holds a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern California (USC) and a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy and Management from USC.

Koorosh has a love for biking, surfing, meditation, and yoga. He has a four-year-old son who also keeps him in shape.

Evo Health and Wellness - 340 Sunset Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90291