PREPARE/ENRICH Australia Blog

The couple and family maps can help individuals gain insight into their own perceptions and their partners

The Couple and Family Maps are powerful tools that provide couples a simple visual representation of how they each perceive their relationship on the dimensions of “closeness” and “flexibility”. 

The Couple and Family Maps are “dynamic,” meaning the placement of a given couple or family on the map varies over time due to influences and events shaping their lives. Factors affecting map movement can be life transitions such as the birth of a child or retirement. Map placement (and movement) can also be due to unexpected stressors or trauma such as a catastrophic illness of a family member. Although there is no absolute “best level” or placement for any relationship, couples and families generally function best if they are in the balanced or mid-range categories. 

Family-of-origin experiences are important in shaping subsequent relationship expectations. Individuals learn relationship patterns from their past and there are tendencies to bring these into relationships.

Using the Couple and Family Map during feedback sessions:
The PREPARE/ENRICH Couple’s Workbook discusses how to use the Couple and Family Maps in the feedback process. Among the topics to cover are a description of terms like
“closeness” and “flexibility”, and how they apply to couples and families. A key part of this session is to review where the couple placed on the Map and their respective family-of-origin placements. 

Here is where a discussion of similarities and differences in the couple’s description of their relationship can help each individuals gain insight into their own perceptions and their partners. Couples can also explore how their family-of-origin experiences affect their current interactions and expectations for their relationship. 

Helpful questions when discussing the Couple and Family Map:

How does each partner view the relationship? In what ways do they perceive it similarly, and in what ways do they see it differently?
Given where they currently are on the Couple Map, where would they like to see their relationship move? Why?
Where on the Family Map did each partner's family-of-origin experience show up? How did they compare to each other? In what ways were they similar or different?
Ask the couple to discuss how their respective family-of-origin experiences shape their current relationship. What do they want to keep from those experiences? What do they hope to avoid repeating?

#PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills. 

For more information on the PREPARE/ENRICH Couple and Family Maps or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich

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