Connecting Families: A Relationship Enhancement Program

By

....................................57
Changing American Family ............................................................................................58
Who Are “Fragile Families?” .........................................................................................61
Domestic Violence’s Effect on Marriage ........................................................................62
Family Structure’s Impact on Children’s Development .................................................64
Marriage Success and Divorce........................................................................................67
Connecting Families Penn State Cooperative Extension
Overview 1 2004
Overview
Connecting Families is a research-based program that is designed to provide couples and
individuals with an in-depth understanding of the key factors that influence a
relationship’s success. The goals of the curriculum are to provide an understanding of
the interdependent nature of relationships and enhance the skills that can support
successful relationship interaction. The program consists of four workshops most
typically delivered in two hour sessions. The sessions are interactive, involving
discussion and hands-on activities. These workshops are educational, rather than
therapeutic in nature. They are designed to be facilitated by a trained educator.
Objectives
The program is designed for individuals and couples who are seeking information and
skills that can assist them in understanding and improving their interpersonal
relationships. Upon completion, participants will
Session 1: Understanding the Couple Relationship
· Identify their personal values, expectations and assumptions about marriage.
· Recognize the importance that values, expectations and assumptions play in
building positive relationships.
· Become comfortable working within the group.
Session 2: Meeting the Challenge of Conflict
· Recognize that conflict is a natural aspect of interpersonal relationships.
· Identify behaviors that reinforce and accelerate the cycle of conflict.
· Develop strategies to break the cycle of conflict and increase the quality of
relationships.
Session 3: Working as a Team
· List strategies that can strengthen relationships.
· Identify the typical negative indicators of relationship communication.
· Demonstrate the appropriate use of the speaker – listener technique.
Session 4: Panning for Success
· Identify typical behaviors that escalate anger in a relationship.
· Demonstrate the appropriate use of negotiation skills
· Set goals for the relationship.
· List strategies that increase the quality and commitment within the relationship.
Curriculum Comments
The curriculum provides trained facilitators with four core sessions that teach the basics
to gaining a clearer understanding of the components that most strongly influence a
relationship. The skills that are taught in the sessions are skills that need repeated use to
become imbedded in an individual’s repertoire of natural reaction. The curriculum
Connecting Families Penn State Cooperative Extension
Overview 2 2004
sessions cover important topics that are meant to assist individuals in learning about their
own relationship’s interaction. This is a beginning to strengthening a relationship. With
continued usage of the skills and information, individuals can make changes in their
relationship.

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Veronica S. Haggerty

Counselor/Therapist

"A strong, healthy relationship can be one of the best things that can happen to you. However, it can also be one of the biggest drains on you if the relationship is not working. Relationships are like bank accounts. The more you put in, the more you get back. Falling in love is the easy part, but long term relationships take work, commitment, and a willingness to adapt and change through life as a team. Learn about ways to keep a healthy relationship strong, or begin to today to work on repairing trust and renewing love for a relationship on the rocks".

Location: New Hope, PA
Credentials: MA, MFT, RN
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