Founder of Last Ditch Therapy
Featured in O Magazine, Oprah's Newsletter, Reader's Digest, Redbook, and Many More...

My husband and I fought constantly. We didn't understand that the horrible things we were saying to each other in each fight were slowly destroying our relationship...

Terry C. » View All

Sharon Rivkin, M.A., M.F.T., Licensed Marriage Family Therapist, Santa Rosa, California
License No. 14889

Date/Registration: Check Events Page for next Workshop and Registration

CEU Credits Earned: 4 for ½ day; 6 for entire day

Who Gets Credit?

Licensed Marriage Family Therapists (MFTs) and Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs)

Course Title and Description:

Breaking the Argument Cycle in Three Effective Steps

Often when working with couples, it can be difficult to know where to begin unraveling thbre seeds of their current conflict. Learn why argument resolution can never happen without examining the root cause of the first argument of the couple. Left unresolved, the first argument repeats itself in different forms throughout the relationship, thereby creating a repetitive argument pattern that is extremely difficult to break. By implementing the First Argument Technique, an efficient intervention that shifts the relationship from helplessness to empowerment in three important steps, the therapist can effectively and quickly diagnose - oftentimes within the first ½ hour of the session - each individual’s core issue and immediately begin a practical treatment plan that clients can implement as soon as they leave the session.

Theory/Practice of Therapy

The purpose of therapy is to get to the root cause of dysfunctional present-time behavior that’s causing pain and suffering to the individual. To facilitate this process, I have developed a diagnostic tool that is a quick, efficient, and economical intervention that helps couples learn how to stop arguing, thereby breaking the argument cycle by revealing the root cause of the argument, which dates back to each partner’s core childhood issue/trauma – the true reason for the fight. This three-step process enables couples to shift focus from the content issue to the inner feelings that the argument has provoked. This reveal promotes a deeper understanding of themselves, their partner, and the relationship dynamics. Any number of techniques exist for addressing negative patterns of interaction, but if we don’t get to the root of these patterns, we stay at a relatively superÔ¨Ācial level, receiving only symptomatic relief.

Most couples argue about who’s right and who’s wrong - a strong indication that the couple is dealing with the surface issue of the argument. Therefore, helping clients learn how to stop arguing and resolve their conflicts quickly and effectively, can only be accomplished by revealing what the argument is really about. Teaching couples how to stop arguing not only enhances the relationship, but can prevent affairs in marriage.

To support the validity of the First Argument Technique, I have compiled case studies on its use that prove its effectiveness and the resulting clarity, healing, and resolution that clients’ experience.

Method of Presentation

The workshop will include lecture, Powerpoint, and interactive exercises.


“Down to earth basics: very important yet complex, brilliant!”

“Excellent – applicable to the work I do with clients.”

“I really enjoyed the seminar. I received tools and information that will help me in my practice.”

Presenter Bio

Also known as the "last ditch effort therapist," Sharon M. Rivkin, M.A., M.F.T., family and marriage counselor in Santa Rosa, California, and argument resolution and affairs in marriage expert, is the author of Breaking the Argument Cycle: How to Stop Fighting Without Therapy and developer of the First Argument Technique, a 3-step argument resolution system that helps couples fix their relationships, understand why they fight, and how to stop arguing. Her work has been featured in O Magazine, O Newsletter, Redbook, Reader's Digest,,,, and She's an expert at and, where she contributes monthly articles on hot relationship topics. She's appeared on TV, Martha Stewart Whole Living Radio, and makes regular radio appearances nationwide.