Love, Sex, and Money: Helping Couples Navigate the Big Rocks to Find Intimacy

Original price was: $800.00.Current price is: $299.00.


Two of the most common argument starters for couples are sex and money, but they are also two of the most common and difficult to navigate topics for mental health professionals. Both of these hallmark causes of conflict in marriage are frequently seen by couple-helpers, and both are significantly misunderstood as too specialized (or too awkward) to address. Current and ongoing research has identified common, simple underlying emotional and relational factors that greatly impact couples’ relationships in these two key areas. Love, Sex and Money will provide mental health professionals with how this new research and information can be integrated with current helping skills to equip couple-helpers to guide partners through game-changing breakthroughs for the relationship.

Learning Objectives 
Participants will…  

  1. Identify how a mental health professional can assist a couple in the areas of sex and money.
  2. Describe personal and professional boundaries for a mental health professional working in the areas of sex and money.
  3. Assess how a couple is communicating about money, which may be hampering their problems, and implement various strategies to help bring about positive and healthy communication about money.
  4. Outline six different categories of money values for the couple and delevop a plan to navigate differences.
  5. Create a strategy to help the couple talk about inherent fears that come with money and how they can communicate in such a way that the couple does not become overwhelmed by these fears.
  6. Develop a communication style with the couple that will allow them to learn how to move forward together on the topic of money.
  7. Assess how a couple understands sex in their relationship and help them develop a vision of sex they would like to have as a couple.
  8. Outline the steps of the Systma Intimacy Model and how to applying it to couples.
  9. Describe how each individual in the couple have distress, which comes from differences in understanding and navigate sexual issues, and how a mental health professional can give the couple strategies to bridge these differences.
  10. Identify how a couple can learn how to ask for and respond to questions from their partners about sex and how a mental health professional can develop strategies to communicate answers in a positive and healthy manner.
  11. Outline how a couple can decide what they will allow in their sexual relationship and how a biblical understanding can help Christian clients have this type of communication in their marriage.
  12. Describe how reflection and evaluation communication in marriage can bring about change in money and sex for a couple.

Course Lessons and Descriptions

LSM 101: Laying the Foundation to Build Strong
Michael Sytsma, Ph.D., Shaunti Feldhahn, MPP and Jeff Feldhahn, J.D.
Module 1 introduces the research foundations, intent and process of this Certification Course. Sex and money are two of the most common causes of tension in marriage, and yet also those that mental health professionals and other helpers may feel most hesitant to address. Many people-helpers think of these issues as specialized/technical, yet the primary issues are usually not technical but the emotional and relational issues running under the surface—exactly the type of issues they are likely already used to addressing. This Certification Course will help mental health professionals understand the emotional and relational factors under the surface, apply them topics as a coach, determine how to “stay in their lane,” and understand what actions to take and principles to incorporate to get started. This module also provides an overview of successful marriage/relationship principles, as a foundation for work in the areas of sex and money.
Run Time: 1:06:11

LSM 102: Preparing Yourself for the Work
Michael Sytsma, Ph.D., Shaunti Feldhahn, MPP and Jeff Feldhahn, J.D.
Module 2 outlines the challenges and temptations inherent in working with sex and money, the crucial importance of being ready to address those challenges, and practical actions that mental health professionals can take to be prepared. The skills of understanding and applying the factors underneath sex and money are crucial for working with couples – but it is just as important (if not more so) to be the right person. This module will allow people-helpers to predict and address the primary challenges around both money and sex in the helping relationship, and apply good professional and personal boundaries.
Run Time: 1:05:49

LSM 103: Money Talk
Michael Sytsma, Ph.D., Shaunti Feldhahn, MPP and Jeff Feldhahn, J.D.
Module 3 shares the statistics around money tensions and needs in most marriages, the unique power that money has in our emotional, relational and spiritual lives, the temptation to jump straight to “technical solutions” (e.g. budgeting), and the transformative impact of helping a couple learn to communicate well around money. When a couple has tension around money, it’s not about the money – but they often can’t talk about money well enough to understand what is actually at stake and come together. Which makes the utility of money management efforts limited at best. Yet with the help of an informed mental health professional, couples can learn to talk through the real issues -which is a prerequisite for both solid financial planning and intimacy as a couple. This module will help mental health professionals evaluate the need for client communication around money, identify the “big lies” clients may be telling themselves, and create a structure to tackle money problems in the right order.
Run Time: 1:04:12

LSM 104: Money Values
Michael Sytsma, Ph.D., Shaunti Feldhahn, MPP and Jeff Feldhahn, J.D.
Module 4 describes how competing values create the most common source of day to day friction around money, and what those different types of values are. Money tensions often arise because one or both spouses is not valuing what the other person cares about. Yet understanding the other person’s values not only reduces tensions but creates connection. This module will allow mental-health professionals to classify six different categories of money values and build a plan to help a couple successfully navigate those differences.

Run Time: 1:01:56

LSM 105: Money Fears
Michael Sytsma, Ph.D., Shaunti Feldhahn, MPP and Jeff Feldhahn, J.D.

Module 5 explains the deep, hidden fears and insecurities that often run underneath spouses’ reactions to money issues, the different ways of handling those fears, and the power of working to understand and honor those concerns. It is common that each partner will see something totally different as a cause for fear. (These are often different for men and women.) Helping each party see and have compassion for the worry under their partner’s reactions is a key step toward coming together. This module will help mental health professionals interpret the likely fear profile of each member of a couple, describe the varied ways of handling those fears and illustrate for the couple the benefit of understanding a spouse’s seemingly-inexplicable concerns.

Run Time: 1:04:39

LSM 106: Money Communication and Connection
Michael Sytsma, Ph.D., Shaunti Feldhahn, MPP and Jeff Feldhahn, J.D.

Module 6 shares how differences in processing and communication, as well as tendencies toward independence, are often unseen factors underneath money issues. Couple tensions around money issues often stem from simple but unseen daily differences in how they process and communicate around money. They also stem from even deeper, subconscious tendencies that each person has to want to do their own thing. This module will help mental health professionals recognize these factors where they occur, identify the many ways these factors play out, and present a path forward to a couple that may otherwise feel disconnected, distant, or stuck.

Run Time: 1:01:06

LSM 107: Guiding Couples in Developing Vision in Sexuality
Michael Sytsma, Ph.D., Shaunti Feldhahn, MPP and Jeff Feldhahn, J.D.
Module 7 outlines the importance of couples aiming toward a positive goal for sex, several steps to creating that vision, and a starting point for some practical discussions. It is easy, especially in the church, to focus on what people should not do around sex – but it is transformative when couples develop a vision for what matters to them in this area and where they want to be. This module will help mental health professionals develop a vision mindset for and with the client couple, choose good resources and directions for their own guiding theology of sex in their practice, and develop or modify several key questions for couple discussion.
Run Time: 1:02:49

LSM 108: Teaching a Model
Michael Sytsma, Ph.D., Shaunti Feldhahn, MPP and Jeff Feldhahn, J.D.
Module 8 shares several popular models of sexuality, presents the Sytsma Intimacy Model and ways to use it, and explains the importance of Setting as the foundation for a couple’s healthy, thriving, intimate life. Walking couples through the Sytsma Intimacy Model (created by Michael Sytsma) and allowing them to choose what to focus on, is a key tool for helping couples address any sex-related issues in their marriage. As a starting point, it is powerful to draw a couple’s attention to nurturing the overall marital context and setting in which their sex life occurs. This module will allow mental health professionals to begin to analyze the different stages of a research-based model, understand how it can help couples, and determine when a couple may need to work on Setting as a crucial starting point for concerns about their intimate life.
Run Time: 1:03:15

LSM 109: Energizing the Process
Michael Sytsma, Ph.D., Shaunti Feldhahn, MPP and Jeff Feldhahn, J.D.
Module 9 explains one of the most common causes for sexual distress in marriage, the key factors underneath that distress, and the need for intentionality in the couple’s approach to sexual connection. Most couples recognize that there is a different level of desire between spouses -- but often miss that there are different types of desire. Much hurt and frustration can be prevented as a couple is made aware of these facts and becomes intentional about addressing them. This module will help mental health professionals judge where client distress may arise from these differences, illustrate this knowledge for the couple, and support couples in navigating these differences in a way that creates the greater intimate connection that both parties probably want.
Run Time: 1:02:11

LSM 110: Seduction and Spark
Michael Sytsma, Ph.D., Shaunti Feldhahn, MPP and Jeff Feldhahn, J.D.
Module 10 shares the importance of each spouse being the right person for their partner, the how attending to a catalyst for sex can prevent frustrations, and some basic guidelines for how couples can handle both a “yes” and a “no.” If a spouse can focus not on getting what they want but on being the type of person their spouse wants, sex is more likely to move forward in a healthy way. Similarly, if spouses can be aware of patterns and desires for initiating sex, the couple is more likely to connect. This module will help mental health professionals recognize when these factors are in play, evaluate the best path forward, and present the couple with several important guidelines to discuss.
Run Time: 1:05:20

LSM 111: Sensation and Surrender
Michael Sytsma, Ph.D., Shaunti Feldhahn, MPP and Jeff Feldhahn, J.D.
Module 11 outlines how couples can decide “what’s okay” in their sexual practices, the key biblical boundaries, and the statistics around sexual pleasure. In order for a couple to thrive in their intimate life, they need to be able to discuss their own “do’s and don’ts” rather than having them imposed from outside. However, there are also some good biblical guidelines to help them make that decision. In addition, people-helpers need to be aware that both spouse’s likely care about pleasure (theirs and/or their spouse’s) and the lack of it may be a key obstacle to work through. This module will help mental health professionals to guide couples through the process of determining their own best sexual patterns, recognize where lack of pleasure (or sexual pain) needs attention, and choose the appropriately distant response as the couple’s discussion becomes more intimate.
Run Time: 1:04:41

LSM 112: Reflection on Helping Couples Navigate the Big Rocks to Find Intimacy
Michael Sytsma, Ph.D., Shaunti Feldhahn, MPP and Jeff Feldhahn, J.D.
Module 12 reviews the principle of sexual “reflection,” the need for the couple to evaluate and improve, and the most important concepts for helping couples around both sex and money going forward. After sex, couples often do not take the time to reflect. And at some later time (e.g. the next day) couples are also often hesitant to talk about what would improve the experience. Yet both habits are important to creating connection. For the people-helper, reflection and growing is also vital for improving the helping experience around not just sex, but money as well. This module will guide mental health professionals to support their clients in reflection and evaluation, remember the crucial concepts and learnings throughout this course, and apply those learnings to helping other clients going forward.
Run Time: 1:04:50

Continuing Education   
12.0 CE Credits available for LPC, LMFT, and LCSW.  

The American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) offers some psychologists, therapists, counselors, social workers and play therapists Continuing Education (CE) credit due for good standing with certain states and a limited number of professional organizations. It remains the responsibility of each participant to be aware of state licensure and CE requirements.  

Participants should check their state and/or local regulations regarding required continuing education hours. For more information Light University Continuing Education programs, please visit: https://lightuniversity.com/continuing-education-statements/