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Student couples at the University of Rhode Island are invited to participate in a free relationship assessment at the University’s Couple and Family Therapy Clinic just in time for Valentine’s Day and all the romantic expectations it brings.
The number of participants is limited, so students are urged to register immediately.
Under the supervision of faculty members in the Department of Human Development and Family Science, graduate students from the therapy program will conduct the relationship check-ups over the course of two one-hour sessions. Prior to the first session, each individual in the couple is asked to complete an online relationship evaluation called Prepare/Enrich, which generates a profile of a couple’s strengths and areas in need of growth. The relationship inventory and skill-building tool designed to help couples understand and improve their relationships is widely used around the world.
Counselors will bring the couple together to review assessment results, identifying relationship strengths and challenges, and make a customized plan for the couple to address the results. For a small fee, couples can continue with counseling if needed, which counselors recommend for challenged couples, for the health of both people involved, according to Gina MacLure, coordinator of the Couple and Family Therapy Clinic.
“We encourage regular check-ups for physical health, but we do not have any structures in society for check-ups on relationships, which greatly impact mental health and well-being now and possibly for the long term. Strong relationships are protective factors in physical health as well,” MacLure said. “We want to offer the opportunity to students to assess the health of their relationships so they can have a sense of what they need to work on, talk about or know in order to make a decision about the future of that relationship. We want them to have the knowledge to strengthen that relationship, or the support to leave it for a better one.”
To participate, URI students should call 401-874-5956 to make their first confidential appointment. Sessions begin Feb. 14, and will be offered to the first 15 couples that call. Appointments are available during morning, day or evening hours, Monday through Friday. To qualify, at least one partner in the couple must be a URI student.
“Romantic relationships in higher education can be either a major stressor or support for students,” MacLure said. “Young adults seek intimacy, and relationships tend to get more serious. Success in this stage constitutes forming heathy relationships, but many people don’t really know what that looks like. They may not have had a good example of that growing up or had many romantic experiences. Relationships during this age can be a major factor in shaping the blueprint for their future understanding of what a healthy relationship is. Relationship check-ups can be a great intervention to help with this understanding.”
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