PREPARE/ENRICH Australia Blog

Helping couples strengthen their relationship remotely

As many organisations close their doors, schools close and public places deserted, many of us are forced to remain home and practice social distancing. With that, anxiety levels rise, fuses become shorter and frustration prevails - our routines are turned upside down and additional stress is placed on relationships and families leading to spikes in demand for family and relationship services.

The need for relationship education is escalating, service access is becoming more limited because of the increased lock-down and social isolation. Providers of support services must adjust to the conditions and search for innovative ways of working, to help those facing adversity - from the comfort of their own homes.

Suggested Ground Rules for Online Group Sessions

The PREPARE/ENRICH Group Program lends itself well to an online format as it allows for a combination of teaching, demonstrating and discussion. The Group Program outlines ten sessions that may used in sequence, depending on the items that have been raised by the group. The first session is an introductory session and the last as a wrap-up. All other sessions need not be delivered in consecutive order.

The group experience with other couples is designed for couples to learn from each other and to also discuss issues as a couples. Because much of the information is personal, the online experience will create some positive tension. This sharing and learning together can help build a sense of community... even while online.

Six (6) easy steps for implementing groups

PREPARE/ENRICH is a great tool to add to your relationship enrichment groups. Whether your group follows what is outlined in the PREPARE/ENRICH Group Program Instructor’s Guide or your own curriculum, a personalized assessment gets couples interested and engaged in the topics that will be addressed.

Suggested Ground Rules for Group Sessions

The PREPARE/ENRICH Group Program lends itself well to a retreat format as it allows for a combination of teaching, small groups, and break-out time for couples. The Group Program outlines ten sessions but you may use only the sessions that work for the time you have or items that have been raised by the group. The first session is written as an introductory session and the last as a wrap-up. All other sessions need not be delivered in consecutive order.

Role of Instructor as Facilitator in a Group Format

The PREPARE/ENRICH Group Program lends itself well to a retreat format as it allows for a combination of teaching, small groups, and break-out time for couples. The Group Program outlines ten sessions but you may use only the sessions that work for the time you have or items that have been raised by the group. The first session is written as an introductory session and the last as a wrap-up. All other sessions need not be delivered in consecutive order.

What did you most enjoy about your relationship today? 5 minutes a day can transform your relationship

By taking time each day to talk and focus on your partner can make a huge difference in the short and medium term. Used to increase intimacy, daily dialogue is designed to activate discussion, discovery, and increase the overall quality of your relationship.

When communicating with your partner, try to avoid blame, criticism, and judgement. Instead, focus on the good!

Sure, we communicate with our partners, but the quality (which really matters) is not always a concern. Productive, supportive, positive communication is vital to relationship health. Give praise to your partner and share affirmations which help increase the overall quality of communication.

Working with Conflicted and Devitalised Couples

The PREPARE/ENRICH Couple Typology is based on patterns in couple’s scores across nine relationship areas. Statistical analysis has identified four types of premarital couples and five types of married couples. These types are labeled in order from healthiest to least healthy:

Always consider your limitations in terms of experience and expertise

Based on PREPARE/ENRICH data of over 20,000 married couples, the results found Conflicted and Devitalised couples displayed characteristics of abuse reported ranges above 50%. They also demonstrated lower levels of communication, conflict resolution, couple closeness and flexibility compared to non-abusing couples, and higher levels of alcohol and/or drug abuse.

Referring Couples for Counselling: Knowing When to Refer

Premarital or married couples can sometimes present difficult issues (i.e. drug or physical abuse, and serious mental disorders) that some clergy and facilitators feel uncomfortable handling. In order to receive the best treatment, these types of couples may require a higher level of professional care by someone who is trained, and has more experience with these issues.

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