PAIRS Foundation (Non-Profit)
Over the past quarter century, PAIRS Foundation has helped tens of thousands of men and women across the world create and sustain enhanced levels of love, pleasure and happiness through relationship skills training. We hope you will take the opportunity to discover how participating in PAIRS can contribute to your life.
Many frequently asked questions about PAIRS are answered on our website at website.
1. What is the purpose of the PAIRS course?
To teach research-validated skills that help men and women of all ages and stages of relationship improve communication, understand the unique logic of love and emotions, learn to constructively navigate conflicts and differences, and strengthen their ability to sustain healthy relationships that are an ongoing source of love, pleasure and happiness -- something we think is as important in life as water and food.
2. What courses does PAIRS offer?
PAIRS offers classes in a wide variety of formats, ranging from nine to 120 hours in length. Courses are designed to accomodate the needs of many different types of participants, from weekend intensives, to multi-week seminars, and a complete semester-long Mastery Course. See PAIRS Programs for Course Descriptions and Objectives. PAIRS Foundation is also able to customize courses to meet the needs and objectives of various organizations and communities.
3. What exactly are PAIRS Programs?
PAIRS is an acronym that stands for "Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills." The program was originally developed over a quarter century ago by Marriage and Family Therapist Lori Heyman Gordon as a graduate program for future counselors at American University in Washington, D.C. Gordon actively participated in efforts to refine, validate and expand the range of PAIRS programs through 2004, when she irrevocably transferred her interests in the range of PAIRS programs. Gordon remained president of PAIRS Foundation through June 2008, when she formally resigned as an officer and director of PAIRS Foundation. From its inception, PAIRS has integrated pioneering methods from the fields of education, psychology, counseling, psychiatry, and many other disciplines into an innovative approach that empowers graduates with practical, usable skills to create and sustain successful relationships. PAIRS classes follow an established curriculum and are delivered in an educational format by instructors trained and certified by the nonprofit PAIRS Foundation.
4. Is PAIRS more like a classroom setting or is it like group therapy?
PAIRS is a class. It is not therapy or counseling. It has been called "Drivers Ed" and "Boot Camp" for Relationships." Instructors present material and exercises which participants practice privately with a partner.
5. My spouse dislikes therapy. How is PAIRS different?
PAIRS teaches to a group of people and does not single out anyone; it is not therapy or counseling, PAIRS is education. Participants can sit back and learn without saying a word if they so choose. No practice exercises are forced upon participants. Central to PAIRS approach is a commitment to "invite, never inflict."
6. But what if I just hate groups? Would I have to talk in front of people I do not know?
Many people who "hate" groups love PAIRS. No one EVER has to talk in front of the group. You can learn just from hearing other people share and practicing the exercises with your partner or another member of the class. The group ultimately provides a safe place to try out new skills and feels, for most people, very safe and accepting. It also allows people to see courage and growth in others. Participants often state that they finally realize how normal they are in their own struggles, realizing that learning to navigate relationship challenges is something every couple shares in common.
7. Is there a predictable agenda to the courses?
Definitely. Each PAIRS course covers a specific agenda that has been developed by PAIRS Foundation and validated as an approach that is most likely to contribute to the lives of program participants.
8. What about personal issues specific to each person? How are those handled in PAIRS?
The goal of PAIRS is to teach skills that allow participants to find answers and solutions that fit for their own unique values, challenges and circumstances. Instructors do not get involved in the personal issues or decisions of class members beyond providing coaching on how to use the skills taught in PAIRS to address whatever issues are relevant for a particular couple.
9. How many participants are present for a PAIRS program?
It varies. Usually from 12 to 30 people, although PAIRS can also be taught effectively to groups as large as 200 people or more.
10. My partner and I have already had private couples counseling. How can PAIRS help us?
PAIRS is not intended to substitute for or replace counseling or therapy, although many graduates have said that the tools they learned in PAIRS helped them achieve levels of understanding and breakthroughs far beyond what was typically possible in counseling. Many counselors have said that clients who have experienced PAIRS are able to achieve much greater success in therapy. PAIRS focuses on skills training and empowering participants with knowledge and skills to identify and implement the solutions that fit for their personal wishes, hopes and dreams.
11. I have a therapist/counselor I am already using for private therapy. Can I come to PAIRS and still retain my current relationship with him/her?
Many therapists regularly refer clients to PAIRS programs to give their clients the maximum growth opportunities. If your therapist/counselor has been trained by PAIRS, they will be able to help you reinforce the skills you'll learn in the class.
12. What if I don't have a therapist currently and would like to see a PAIRS instructor for private therapy while I wait for the next PAIRS program to begin?
Some PAIRS instructors are also therapists/counselors/coaches; many are not. Those who do have private practices may be able to help you begin learning skills from PAIRS through individual or couple sessions.You might also consider participating in a PAIRS webinar, led by a member of our National Team.
13. What is the cost of PAIRS programs?
Many participants have said PAIRS was one of the most important investments they ever made because they learned skills and understandings that touched the very foundation of their lives. The cost to participate in PAIRS varies by location, instructor, and curriculum. Typically, the cost ranges from $15 - $25 per person, per curriculum hour, including all materials. Some PAIRS programs are grant funded by state and federal agencies. In communities in which grant funded classes are offered, courses may be offered at significant discounts or even at no charge. Also, some PAIRS instructors are able to offer payment plans to meet the individual needs of participants. With our wide range of programs and formats, it is very rare that the cost of participating is a barrier that prevents anyone from benefiting from the often life-changing experience PAIRS offers.
14. Does PAIRS offer free classes to any community?
As a result of the Healthy Marriage Initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources Administration for Children and Families, many brief classes, particularly the nine-hour PAIRS Essentials curriculum, are available at no charge or reduced charge to residents of South Florida (Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties). Space is limited. Advance registration is required. Tuition may be reduced, subsidized or offered entirely free.
15. Do You offer Childcare at any of your facilities?
Please check with the local instructor at the facility for which you intend to enroll. Some sites offer childcare.
16. Who teaches the PAIRS programs? What are their credentials?
PAIRS is an educational program. Instructors come from a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds. Each instructor is trained and certified by the PAIRS Foundation. The role of the PAIRS instructor is to facilitate a specific PAIRS curriculum. The instructor does not serve as a counselor or therapist, but as a Relationship Educator.
17. We’ve been to lots of counselors and therapists for help? What more can PAIRS do for us?
We find that PAIRS offers tools, education and experiences that cannot be found elsewhere. It's unique. It will give you a comprehensive approach to relationships -- not just insight, but practical skills to make and sustain changes.
18. I really don’t think that we can make the radical changes because of all our commitments (kids, jobs, time pressures, financial obligations, business or school commitments). What can PAIRS do for us if we are so busy?
We find that most people who take PAIRS are very busy people. Part of the commitment to take PAIRS is to set aside time and to make the relationship a priority. PAIRS teaches skills to help people connect with each other in the hectic world. It also helps couples examine their lifestyles and priorities and consider changes that often lead to more fun, peace, and greater success in every area of their life.
19. We’ve been married for more than 20 years. Can PAIRS help us change after all these years?
PAIRS instructors and graduates regularly share stories of long-term married couples who achieved profound, positive breakthroughs as a result of their PAIRS experience. One of the most frequent comments heard from graduates is the wish that they'd had PAIRS many years earlier. It's never too late for anyone to learn skills for greater love, pleasure and happiness.
20. Will we really come out of this program with the tools to make our relationship satisfying and happy?
It's very possible. You can learn the tools and experience the changes, but it's up to YOU to do the ongoing work. A quote frequently repeated by PAIRS instructors is: "Love is a feeling, marriage is a contract and a relationship is work." PAIRS offers a practical roadmap and tool kit (some say 'treasure chest') that empowers you to create the level of closeness, connection and sharing you may have long wanted, but didn't know how to achieve.
21. Do the classes and the other PAIRS activities help us develop a good plan for our marriage in the future?
Yes, as part of many PAIRS curricula, you are invited to create a plan of how you will integrate the skills to help you achieve your relationship goals. We find that when you have a plan, you are more likely to reach your goals. Many PAIRS instructors provide follow-up activities to help support ongoing reinforcement of skills. Some groups continue to meet on their own as a result of the close, lifelong friendships that began in PAIRS.
22. Would it be worth my time to take one of the shorter workshops without the Semester-long PAIRS course?
We believe that any work toward enhancing relationships is worthwhile. Once you have experienced a shorter program you may feel more comfortable investing your time, energy, and money in a longer program. Significant research has validated that PAIRS brief programs such as PAIRS Essentials, PAIRS for Life, and PAIRS For Our Future, For Our Family deliver significant, lasting benefits.
23. I'm not in a relationship right now. I'm lonely, but frankly I'm scared to try again. How can PAIRS help a single person like me?
PAIRS helps singles know themselves better and helps them discover more about healthy relationships. Singles have told us that after taking the PAIRS classes, they feel more able to choose appropriate friendships or partnerships and they have an increased frame of reference for healthy pleasurable possibilities.
24. How is PAIRS different from other marriage education programs I have taken?
There are a number of programs available, many of which are based on PAIRS. PAIRS offers a highly experiential, research validated curriculum with over 30 years of experience serving tens of thousands of participants from all backgrounds and stages of relationships. Many have said it is the best of the best in relationship education.
25. Can PAIRS be taught to us in private sessions instead of in a group?
Yes, much of it can be. However, it is often much more expensive to do so and it is not possible to duplicate the power of the group in private sessions. One suggestion is to try a short program with the group before making the decision to invest in the long course or personal training. You may find you are very comfortable in the PAIRS programs. The group provides energy and a safe atmosphere for taking risks and trying new behaviors. It shows participants that other people are really more similar than different, and that the work of relationships is hard, but do-able. It helps people experience empathy and feel the "Oh, it's not just me and my partner . . ." who have issues.
26. What kinds of people go through the PAIRS program?
All kinds: young, old, middle aged; happy couples looking to find ways to experience even more joy; couples with "the attorneys on hold . . .looking for one last ditch effort," people trying to decide if their partner is "the right one," singles looking to figure out what it takes to have a lasting relationship. The design of the curriculum and the psychoeducational format enables all sorts of different people in different situations to grow, learn and change.
27. Will all the people in my class be around my age or will there be people of all ages?
Classes usually include participants of various ages. Older participants often say they are envious of people who take it while they are young because it provides them with skills to use to have many, many years of happiness, and avoid some of the mistakes they might have made. It also reminds them of the positive relationship energy they might have lost over the years. Younger people oftenlearn from the experience and insights of older couples, and may gain enormous resolve to make the time to keep the relationship a top priority.
28. What is the "success rate" of PAIRS?
Excellent! People have made important decisions, have grown and bonded together in healthy ways or have been able to leave relationships that they may realize are unhealthy or cannot meet their longterm needs and vision. Countless marriages have been saved. People have learned to experience joy! The success rate is highly impressive. (one nationally prominent attorney said in a Washington Post interview in 1996 that 12 of 13 divorcing couples she had sent to PAIRS had reconciled!) Research has also validated the significant impact of PAIRS brief seminars, such as PAIRS Essentials and PAIRS for Life, for couples entering the program at high levels of marital distress. Learn more about current research at http://evaluation.pairs.com.
29. My grown-up child is planning to get married. Their minister/rabbi has talked with them. Could PAIRS help them too?
Yes! If they want to learn the skills necessary to have a joyful relationship and establish early patterns of a healthy, happy relationship, PAIRS could be a great experience. We highly recommend giving the class as a wedding present. Giving the gift of PAIRS says a great deal about our commitment not just to a beautiful wedding, but a happy, lasting, joyful marriage!
30. We have been seeing each other for almost a year and are beginning to think about the long term. Can PAIRS help a new relationship?
ABSOLUTELY! PAIRS' grads in similar situations have gained skills necessary to make the commitment to each other and give their relationship the best opportunity to blossom into a long, happy future, if this is what you want. People in a new relationship without a lot of baggage learn ways to keep their relationship current and deal with problems effectively so that baggage does not have to build up. It will help them see the speed bumps of life before they get to them, so that they can go over them gently, or go around them.
31. I think I know how I want our relationship to be. Will the PAIRS Program help my partner understand me and try to be the way I really want?
PAIRS helps us all learn to listen to what our partner has to say. This does not mean they will do what we want. Many times when true intentions are understood there is a greater willingness to bridge gaps.
33. Does insurance cover PAIRS programs?
Usually no, unless your carrier covers Wellness Programs. We believe that relationship skills are as important as learning reading, writing and arithmetic because if touches the very foundation of our lives. It is also our belief that PAIRS can be beneficial for all people.
33. Are there any videos I can see to give me more information about PAIRS?
You can watch a brief introductory video online here.
34. How do I sign up for classes?
Use the “Find A Class” tab on the Homepage to locate a current open class near you. Search the online calendar by region, date, or instructor. By contacting your local PAIRS instructor you may arrange for a preview or meeting and discuss upcoming class schedules. Once you have reviewed the materials, and decided to participate, you would typically fill in an application and send it in with a deposit to your local instructor to reserve your place in class. For South Florida Grant classes, online pre- registration is absolutely required and is available online. Go to http://consumer.pairs.com to select an upcoming class and complete your online registration.
35. Are there any other requirement for Grant Class participation ?
Participants in grant funded classes in South Florida are asked to voluntarily and confidentially participate in research on the program's impact. This research includes six month and 12 month follow up assessments to measure the lasting impact of your experience.
36. If there is no PAIRS program in my community, what can I do?
You can participate in an upcoming webinar or contact PAIRS Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org to discover whether there is an instructor in your area in the process of being trained or who could. Participants have been known to fly half way across the country for weekend workshops!
37. How do I know if someone offering PAIRS in my community is currently licensed?
PAIRS Foundation conducts ongoing research to assure programs for the public and professionals consistently deliver the highest quality, research validated, processes that offer the greatest opportunity for participants to achieve their individual and collective goals. PAIRS also requires instructors to strictly adhere to extensive ethical practices and licensing requirements. Currently licensed instructors authorized to teach PAIRS programs to the public are listed on our calendar. If you have questions about the status of an individual or organization offering PAIRS in your community, please let us know.
The Reason I Became A Helping Professional
Intimacy is critical to the process of developing and sustaining close relationships, now a major concern in our culture. Modernization has shifted the primary function of marriage from providing security, stability, and raising children to developing a lifetime of love and intimacy. In previous generations successful marriages depended upon duty and role competence.
Modern marriages require greater interpersonal competence as well as equality between partners in peer relationships. Relationships are sought that not only create stable families but also provide partners with a lifetime of love and companionship. PAIRS (Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills) programs provide a comprehensive system to enhance self-knowledge and to develop the ability to sustain pleasurable intimate relationships.
PAIRS unique, innovative approach integrates a wide range of theories and methods from psychology, education and psychotherapy and presents them in an educational format. PAIRS acts to bridge therapy, marital enrichment, and marriage and family development.
Programs: Courses and Workshops
PAIRS offers programs to the public led by PAIRS Trained Professionals (licensed health care professionals), and PAIRS Instructors (certified clergy, lay leaders, and educators), trained under the auspices of the non-profit PAIRS Foundation, the organization that officially oversees PAIRS programs, products and licensing worldwide. There are PTPs and facilitators around the world. Check “Finding an Educator” to find one near you or near one you love who may need PAIRS. PAIRS has been research-validated as being effective in all populations for which it has been adapted. PAIRS has relationship skills training programs for children and youth, PAIRS for PEERS, that are taught in schools, churches and community organizations.
PAIRS has programs for the Military, providing critical support for active duty, guard and veteran families impacted by deployment; classes are taught by chaplains, counselors, family service workers and PAIRS National Trainers. PAIRS has faith-based programs for the Jewish, Catholic, and Christian church communities. PAIRS serves disadvantaged youth, unmarried couples, adoptive families, singles, prison parolees, and others who can benefit from relationship skills training.
Research on PAIRS has demonstrated that PAIRS works for all groups under all circumstances evaluated.
PAIRS is a modern technology adapted to our rapidly changing society in behalf of creating a saner, safer more loving world. What you will learn in PAIRS Sustaining a pleasurable intimate relationship does not work by magic. It depends upon a set of skills and understanding that can be learned. We learned most of what we know about intimate relationships through our early experiences in our families. Our personal history has a great deal of influence on what happens in our current relationships - on our behavior, our feelings, our expectations. We can change these influences if we become aware of them and wish to. It is well worthwhile to sort through what we inherited, keeping what fits for today and changing what does not.
PAIRS Competencies are specific skills that you will learn from PAIRS. These competencies focus in three areas: 1) emotional literacy; 2) conjoint partner skills for building and maintaining intimacy; and 3) practical knowledge, strategies and attitudes for sustaining positive marriage and family life. You may click on the above links to see a listing of the skills taught in PAIRS.
The Goal of PAIRS is a relationship that both partners can live with joyfully. For this to happen, each partner must become able to identify his or her own feelings and needs, and learn to communicate them in such a way that they can get met. This means communicating one's needs and desires without making the other partner feel resentful, smothered, burdened, manipulated, or inadequate. Easily and fully meeting each others' needs is the foundation of intimacy, fulfillment, and happiness. PAIRS teaches specific easily learnable tools for successful communication such as confiding, complaining, and clarifying and for effective problems solving such as managing anger, expressing anger safely, fighting fairly for change and eliminating dirty fighting. PAIRS also guides the vast deepening of self-knowledge and develops emotional literacy. PAIRS addresses pleasure and satisfaction by teaching skills to enhance bonding, sensuality and sexuality in marriage.
PAIRS teaches a profound but simple model, the Relationship Roadmap, to understand relationship success and to understand relationship mishaps and know what to do about them. PAIRS teaches over 60 skills that, after PAIRS, become the participants' PAIRS Tool Box for ongoing relationship maintenance.
Learn more at www.pairs.com.
Under $50 per session