Relationship Education and Skill Training Programs
This is an annotated list of best-practice programs for education and skill building around various topics, issues, skills and competencies. Contact us to discuss which of them may be right for you, how to register, and when they are offered. See our general explanation of skill building workshops for more information about how these programs are organized and run.
Prepare/Enrich – Prepare is a widely used program for pre-marriage preparation to help couples better understand one another. Enrich uses the same concepts with versions for married couples in various life situations: step-families, parenting issues, empty nesters, etc. Both are based in extensive research on couples and families.
Marital Satisfaction Inventory - R – A thorough assessment tool for couples that measures key issues and variables and compares the couple’s scores on each. This instrument can also measure couple progress on key goals, and provide good outcome measures for education and counseling. Couples can see how change in one area of their relationship affects other areas.
PICK – A fun, engaging, interactive program for adolescent and young adult singles to learn how to develop healthy dating relationships. Singles learn how to choose a partner, what to avoid, and how to evaluate their relationships. The program uses the Relationship Attachment Model to teach five major concepts that are based in decades of research on how to develop healthy relationships out of the starting gate.
Ten Great Dates – A program developed for couples to grow their relationship by having fun activities together. Couples learn experientially by going on dates designed by the program. Couples do not date with other couples. A positive, creative, and enjoyable program for any couple.
Communication Skill Training
Collaborative Marriage Skills – A group program for couples – married, engaged, or cohabiting. Couples learn and practice six speaking skills and five listening skills through a rich variety of teaching methods. Communication styles and attitudes are examined in the context of establishing a truly collaborative relationship. An excellent program for building basic communication skills, Collaborative Marriage is light hearted, fast paced, interactional and fun.
Thriving Together – A group program for couples – married, engaged, or cohabiting. Couples learn to use Collaborative Marriage skills (above) to examine how they handle conflict. Couples discover how their conflicts go awry, and then learn productive ways to resolve conflicts. Thriving Together uses the same format and teaching methods as Collaborative Marriage. It provides essential conflict resolution skills that all couples need, while polishing the use of basic speakng and listening skills.
Comprehensive Marriage Programs
A Lasting Promise: The Christian Guide to Fighting for Your Marriage – A well written guide that incorporates scripture and Christian teachings with many of the important research findings on couples. It includes communication tips, but the main focus is on how to deal with common marital issues. The book includes written exercises, and can be used by individuals, couples, or groups.
Fighting For Your Marriage – A research based, best practice program developed by the same authors as the above program (A Lasting Promise). The content is similar, but without the biblical references or Christian faith perspective. The uses and applications are identical. Both are excellent.
LINK – This program is based on the same Relationship Attachment Model that is used in the PICK program for singles. This couples program addresses the interaction of five key variables known to apply to successful relationships. The program is lively, practical, engaging, and fun.
Couple Programs for Specific Needs
Discernment Counseling – A specific short term counseling method (1-5 sessions) for couples where one is leaning out of the marriage and one is leaning into the marriage, and they can’t agree on whether to get therapy or end it. It is not marriage counseling. Rather, it is designed to help the couple make a decision about the future of their marriage that they can be clear, whole-hearted, and confident about. Read more about discernment counseling.
Taking Baby Home – For couples undergoing the stress of becoming parents for the first time. This program addresses the steep learning curve and high stress of adapting to parenthood while undergoing huge changes the couple’s relationship.
Money Habitudes – A program for couples who want to learn how to work more collaboratively around money, finances and spending, one of the top conflict areas for many couples. Attitudes and habits about money and spending are examined in the context of personality style, family background, and the couple's relationship.
Hot Monogamy – A group education program for enhancing marital sexuality using research based gender differences. The program encourages self-reflection and couple dialogue, but does not require self-disclosure in front of a group. The goal is to help men and women better understand, empathize and relate to one another.
Systematic Training for Effective Parenting – One of most comprehensive, well researched parenting programs available. While most parenting programs offer piece meal bits of wisdom, the STEP program is solidly integrated to teach parents how to understand their children, apply strategies and skills, problem solve many issues, and evaluate their own success. Parents are not spoon fed answers, but taught how to think through and trouble shoot issues now and in the future. Read more about STEP.
Couples Helping Couples
Couple Mentoring – There are several mentoring programs designed to implement in organizational settings, such as a church or synagogue. These programs train couples with strong marriages how to mentor couples who may be struggling. They also provide a written manual of organizational strategies, tips, and methods on how to set up a mentoring program from scratch.
Communities Helping Couples
Community Wide Marriage Policy – Community wide agreement is established between all those who marry couples to complete a minimal level of preparation for marriage. Research has demonstrated significant reductions in divorce rates in cities where community wide marriage policies have been implemented.
Organizational Communication and Conflict Resolution Training
Core Communication – This program is specifically designed to develop teamwork, co-worker relationships, and good relationships between staff and managers. It also helps with customer relations. Core has been used by a number of large corporations with good success. The program teaches speaking, listening, and conflict resolution skills. It is often conducted over 5-6 sessions, but can be designed to meet specific schedules and needs.