Professional Resources and Training

Bob Buchicchio

Separation Management ℠

An Intervention Model for Managing and Treating
Couple Separations

Robert J. Buchicchio, LICSW, DCSW

3.5 Continuing Education Credits

3 ½ Continuing Education Credits have been approved for professional social workers by
The National Association of Social Workers – Wash DC. Other mental health professionals
have not been approved, but can individually submit to their respective professional
organizations and request CE credit.



Taking Space – How to Use Separation to Explore the Future of Your Relationship

Taking Space – How to Use Separation to Explore the Future of Your Relationship. Click on book to read more or see inside book

Assisting individuals and couples in managing these conflicts and in structuring separations poses challenges for the counselor. The couple counselor must take on multiple roles: conflict-crises mediator, negotiator, manager, teacher-trainer, coach, problem solver and supporter. He/she also provides the deeper work for the individuals and the relationship as the couple’s psychotherapist. Rather than reflecting the couple’s helplessness, he/she must teach individuals and couples how to establish a structure to contain and manage conflict and continue to communicate so the deeper work of individual development and decision-making regarding the future of the relationship can take place. At this time, I do not know of any models that exist that offer a 10 step road map to couples and individuals on how to separate in a positive, proactive and structured way. From client feedback in my practice of over 30 years and consultations and coaching across the country, I have found very few counselors/therapists specializing in working with separating couples.

In this continuing education paper, couple counselors will learn how the 10 Step Problem Solving Guide of Separation Management can be applied directly to individuals and couples who may be in varying degrees of investment and commitment. I will also describe and discuss the 10 Step Problem Solving Guide for Separation Management. The information provided guides my intervention with all struggling couples, especially those wanting help to structure, manage and treat their conflicts and separations. All Ten Steps can be used as a guide or individual steps can be used as needed.

Below are the specific objectives of this primer on Managing and Treating Couple Separations:

Course Objectives

  • Learn how to use the Relationship Conflict Scale© to assess a couple’s style of conflict and to develop interventions.
  • Learn how to use Rules for Taking a Time-out© as a tool couples can use to interrupt destructive communication patterns.
  • Learn the Ground Rules for Talking© as a tool to help couples learn to communicate more effectively.
  • Learn to use the Couples Investment/Commitment Scale© for assessing degree of individual motivation and commitment to a relationship and to plan specific strategies for conflict management, coping and treatment interventions.
  • Learn to use and apply principles and the 10 Step Problem Solving Guide as a “roadmap” for couples to follow for conflicts/separations/divorces.
  • Learn to define and expand on the concept and types of separations including:
    In-house, Brief, Trial, Psychological, Therapeutic, etc.
  •  Learn the terms and tasks couples need to structure their separation.
  •  Learn how to help couples talk about and help children regarding their separation.
  •  Learn the importance of setting goals, evaluating progress, and making decisions during separations.


It is estimated that more than 60% of couples separate at least once, usually many times, in the course of their marriages and relationships. It is further estimated that in half the separations, the spouse eventually returns home. (Robert S. Weiss, Marital Separation – 1977) Separations are not always a first step to divorce for many couples. Many of these partners and couples seek counseling during these crises (especially after affairs). Partners present as highly stressed and facing limited options. Often increased motivation and energy is focused on self-survival and repairing the wounded self and relationship.

“…according to new research, it’s not only possible to have a serious future with an old flame—it’s actually surprisingly common. More than a third of cohabitating couples and a fourth of now-married couples have actually broken up at some point in the past, per a recent Kansas State University study.

For the study, researchers polled a nationally representative sample of 323 cohabitating and 752 married couples about their relationship histories—specifically, whether they had experienced “cycling,” or splitting up only to get back together later. Participants were also asked to rate their relationships in terms of commitment, relationship uncertainty, and overall levels of satisfaction. “We found that past cycling is a common occurrence among both cohabitating and married couples, who were able to make things work long-term despite relationship roadblocks,” says study author Amber Vennum, Ph.D., assistant professor at Kansas State University.

But the study presents a double-edged sword for cyclers: Though many couples were able to sustain serious relationships after having previously calling it quits, those who had histories of cycling were also more likely to cycle again in the future. And even worse, second-chance couples also reported feeling less satisfied and more uncertain about their romantic bonds than couples who had never broken up before.

So if there’s one thing this research re-affirms, it’s that rekindling things with an old flame can be tricky business—but that doesn’t mean it’s totally irrational or out of the picture”

How To Tell If You Should Get Back With An Ex – Kenny Thapoung, Women’s Health Online magazine, May 20, 2014


In Production – Educational Course to become a: Certified Separation Management Specialist

This current 3 ½ credit course on Managing and Treating Couple Separations will fulfill one of the requirements to become a: Certified Separation Management Specialist

Any problems at any point in registering, enrolling or accessing information for this course, please contact Bob at

Please check your spam folder if you do not receive e-mails re: registration.

Buy Course — Add to Cart

Read Bob’s Biography


“Bob Buchicchio has written a phenomenal, groundbreaking book. It Is about ‘hitting the pause button’ when a relationship is in crisis. You might call it a divorce prevention manual. This book is a must read for couples in crisis and the psychotherapists who treat them.”

– Ellen Cole, PhD, psychologist and sex therapist, past president of the Alaska Psychological Association and professor of psychology at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage

“Taking Space is about taking charge. This book offers couples and clinicians something unique-a simple, practical and highly engaging road map to change and empowerment. This is a resource for adults and practitioners during times of marital conflict and confusion.”

– Ken Libertoff, Phd, past executive director, Vermont Association for Mental Health

“This book is by far the best book I have read on the subject of separation. The author is extremely thorough in describing various scenarios of different couples, their conflict, type of separation, process of resolution or dissolution. It touches on how to talk to the children, goals during separation, how long to separate, and what kind of separation to use for different cases. I appreciate the depth and length the author went in sharing his experience in this book to help others.”

– user Hannah Latta


Workshops Bob has provided:

“Managing and Treating Couples Separations” for the following Groups:

  • NASW Vermont Chapter
  • Smart Marriages Conference –San Francisco
  • International Transactional Analysis Association –San Francisco


Products Available on this website:

  • Book
  • Audio Course
  • Workbook
  • Separation Agreement
  • Consultations-Coaching


Contact Bob

Office: 802-229-0749
Mobile: 802-793-3861

Follow Us
facebook google twitter linkedin