ABOUT THE COUPLES CLINIC
The clinic provides evaluations of couples seeking help for their relationship. The evaluation includes structured diagnostic interviews, intake of family history, behavioral observation, and completion of standardized questionnaires.
Therapists in the clinic follow the structure of PREP (Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program), which is a research-based educational program that teaches couples the skills and principles they need to maintain a healthy and lasting relationship. PREP is one of the most comprehensive and well respected divorce-prevention/marriage enhancing programs in the world and is based on over 25 years of research. PREP is a skills and principles-building curriculum designed to help partners say what they need to say, get to the heart of problems, and increase their connection with each other. Typically, couples therapy at our clinic involves 12 sessions of treatment, but the number of sessions may vary by couple. Progress in therapy will be assessed on a regular basis with standardized measures.
For information and referral, call the clinic at 303.871.3306.
What types of couples come to your clinic?
Our clinic is for couples who want to make their relationship be the best it can be. It does not matter whether you are in a relatively new relationship or have been married for 50 years. It also does not matter whether your relationship has a host of problems or hardly any problems at all. The goal of therapy is to teach couples the skills and principles they need for a healthy and lasting relationship.
What can I expect from couples therapy and the PREP approach?
Therapy can help couples and individuals develop and maintain healthy and strong relationships in a number of important ways. Many couples who have come to our clinic say that they learned such things as how to: communicate more openly and effectively, reduce damaging communication patterns, clarify important expectations, protect and preserve fun and friendship, and preserve and enhance commitment.
PREP was designed to teach couples communication and problem solving skills found to be linked to effective marital functioning. It employs techniques from behavioral marital therapy and ideas similar to some other communication-training marital programs. The current version of PREP has been refined and updated based on current research, particularly in the areas of communication, conflict management, affect regulation, commitment, expectations, intimacy enhancement, and gender differences. PREP also addresses interactional danger signs, gender differences, core beliefs and expectations, forgiveness, commitment, and fun, friendship, and sensuality by using strategies such as the Speaker/Listener Technique, problem solving, using structure to promote safety, and Ground Rules for handling conflict.
What approach do the therapists take in the couples clinic?
Therapists in the couples clinic use a cognitive-behavioral approach to help couples prevent relationship breakdown. This simply means that the emphasis is on how people think and how people behave. The therapists educate and increase awareness concerning perceptions, assumptions, attributions, or standards of interaction between the couple. In the PREP program, therapists identify the danger signs that predict future relationship problems and then teach couples a number of principles and tools to stop the flow of negative interactions, such as a “stop action,” in which partners agree to take a break from their interaction in order to calm themselves and prepare to re-engage in more constructive communication. The goal is to teach couples more positive and respectful ways to talk about their difficult issues.
There are other valid models for working with couples, but the overwhelming weight of the current evidence favors using this approach in helping couples. The effectiveness of behavioral approaches with both premarital and marital couples is clearly established.