Valentine’s special: Free relationship check-ups for URI students

Couple and Family Therapy Clinic offers free relationship assessment ahead of year’s most romantic day

Student couples are invited to participate in a free relationship assessment and follow-up counseling at the University’s Couple and Family Therapy Clinic just in time for Valentine’s Day and all the romantic expectations it brings.

But even if couples can’t schedule an assessment before Valentine’s Day, they can still schedule a free assessment throughout the month of February.

Under the supervision of faculty, graduate students from the Marriage and Family Therapy program in the College of Health Sciences/Academic Health Collaborative will separately guide both individuals through an online assessment called Prepare/Enrich. The relationship inventory and skill-building tool is designed to help couples understand and improve their relationships, and it is widely used around the world. Counselors will bring the couple together to review assessment results to identify relationship strengths and challenges. Couples can then schedule two free counseling sessions if needed.

“We all know the value of preventative medicine, but we don’t always take preventative measures in our relationships,” said Gina MacLure, coordinator of the URI Family Therapy Clinic. “Society holds this myth that we shouldn’t get counseling until a relationship is on the rocks and heading for divorce. But sometimes, if we get services sooner, they are actually more effective. Relationship check-ups teach preventative measures to strengthen a relationship.”

Counselors hear from both parties what they see as the strengths and weaknesses of a relationship, and assess areas in which the pair can grow. Couples learn to communicate better with each other, along with important skills they need to learn together, including balancing household finances, how to handle conflict, and how to reduce common stressors.

“Often, young people in a relationship don’t know where to start when problems develop. Sometimes, people aren’t great at communicating when they have a problem; they just fight when a problem comes up,” MacLure said. “This gives a starting point to talk about problems and also to build up what they are doing well. It allows them to figure out if they’re going in the right direction and what they need to work on.”

To participate, URI students should call 401-874-5956 to make a confidential appointment; at least one member of the relationship must be a student for a free check-up. Sessions will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis, as limited spots are available. Appointments are available during day or evening hours, Monday through Friday, and the free promotion runs through February. Funding for the program is made possible by a donation from the late URI alumnus Manoog T. Heditsian, whose gift to the Department of Human Development and Family Studies is designated for educational programming and events that help students maintain healthy relationships and make positive life choices.

The Couple and Family Clinic is available year-round not just to students and employees, but also to the outside community. Counseling sessions are billed on a sliding scale according to ability to pay, ranging from $10 to $30 per session. For more information, contact The Couple and Family Therapy Clinic at 401-874-5956. The clinic is located in the Transition Center at 2 Lower College Road on the Kingston Campus.