Presence Oriented Relationship Therapy (PORT)

Presence Oriented Relationship Therapy (PORT) is a comprehensive integrated approach to working with couples.  It was developed in-house by Steven with the Relate Team to rapidly prepare our interns to see clients.  

In essence PORT is based on a framework that enables therapists at widely different  levels of experience to track progress in therapy both moment to moment in the session and over the arc of the therapy journey. 

PORT intentionally incorporates major strengths from 5 of the top approaches for working with relationships* in addition it is strongly influenced by Narative Therapy and Mindfulness and is suitable to help practitioners in these models or others to both incorporate their own learnings and particular skills plus cherry pick particular strengths of other models.

PORT training will help you feel more confident and grounded in your work and confident in your ability to engage, calm and progress couples in relationship therapy in a way that is flexible and responsive to the needs of different couples and responsive to individual differences within the partnership.  Additionally it has the strengths of being both research, evidence and practice based.


*Click here to find out more about these 5 other approaches that Steven has trained in and that are incorporated in some way into PORT.

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PORT Training in Auckland (16-18 Aug 2019)

Presence Oriented Relationship Therapy (PORT) is a comprehensive integrated approach to working with couples.  It was developed in-house by Steven with the Relate Team to rapidly prepare our interns to see clients.  

  • Are you interested in working more powerfully and effectively with couples?
  • Do you get overwhelmed wondering which approach would suit you best?
  • Would you like a chance to try the different approaches before committing to more intensive training?
  • Are you a coach, minister, doctor, social worker or other professional who works regularly with people in relationship distress? If so we have a special offer for you.*
  • Are you a complete novice wondering how to get started and if relationship work is for you?
  • Are you trained in a specialist model and wondering how to incorporate findings from other models?

If so this course is for you.  This intensive 3 day training will deepen your work as a couple’s therapist.  The PORT intensive is a summary of the in-house training delivered to the Relate Counselling Interns.  Our goal was to expose them broadly to the effective interventions available within Imago Relationship Therapy, Emotionally Focussed Therapy (EFT), Gottman Method Therapy, Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT) and the Mindful Integrated Relationship Therapy Approach. Elements from Narrative Therapy, Crucible Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), micro expressions and body language are also considered.

Our goal was not to simply drown our interns in random information but to give them a coherent integrated model that enabled them to track moment by moment in therapy if the couple was making progress and how to keep things on track.  We also wanted them to have an overview model that enabled them to track the couples progression in therapy.

The overview model and tracking model was developed in conjunction with the Relate senior team.  These two models massively simplify the process for newer therapists.  For more experienced clinicians trained in one or more models it enables them to effectively integrate their current strengths while considering contributions from other therapy models.  What this means is that clinicians are not simply applying random theories and interventions but are working intentionally and mindfully.

Highlights of the 20 hour training:

  • The cycle of relationship
  • A relational brain model
  • Research based predictors of divorce and happiness in relationships
  • An introduction to Mindful Integrated Relationship Therapy (MIRT) – the 1st evidence based couples therapy training model
  • An Integrated model to track your progress in therapy
  • Live demo’s contrasting the different approaches
  • Tracking micro-expressions
  • ​and more . . .


Really good. I got a lot out of it and it’s given me direction for follow-up training

Steven was extremely generous sharing his knowledge and skills and achieved this in an interesting combination of written information, utilising multimedia and personal stories. His many practical ways of being with certain scenarios was insightful, showed great care, intuitive and skillful. It was very worthwhile for me and was able to be utilised within a week within my own profession with a very positive outcome.

Fantastic course for therapists as well as anyone who wants to improve their relationships. So glad I took this course!


​It is our strong desire to support students by preparing them for working with couples from the outset of their work. To this end there is a substantive discount for full-time counselling students – to access this discount use the promo code <em><strong>StudentsIRT</strong></em>

It is our experience that this training is often very valuable for other professionals who work with couples – however the final day of training which is heavily practice and implementation oriented is less focused on non-clinicians. So there is the option to simply do just 2 days of training at a reduced rate – to access this lower rate use the promo code NonClinician – It should be noted that you are most welcome to all three days of training and other non clinicians have found the last day very engaging and insightful (a birds eye view into a clinical practice).

​All other participants can get $450 tickets, up to one month prior to the event start date, by using the promo code Earlybird

For other enquiries or questions email

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