Valentine’s Day special: Relationship check-ups, follow-up counseling for local couples

URI Couple and Family Therapy Clinic offers no-cost promotion to limited number of student couples in honor of the holiday

Student couples are invited to participate in a 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. To celebrate the holiday, the clinic will offer the services to a limited number of couples at no cost.

Beginning Feb. 13, the first 10 callers to make an appointment at 401-874-5956 will receive a detailed report of strength and growth areas in their relationship, as well as two couples’ sessions to discuss the report and recommendations. The first five callers will receive the whole package for free. The next five callers will get it all for just $35.

Under the supervision of faculty, graduate students from the Marriage and Family Therapy program in the College of Health Sciences/Academic Health Collaborative will conduct the relationship check-ups during two one-hour sessions. First, each individual in the couple is provided an online assessment called Prepare/Enrich. This relationship inventory and skills-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.

“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 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 the relationship, and assess areas in which the pair can grow. Couples learn to communicate with each other better, and they learn important skills they need to learn together, including balancing household finances, how to handle conflict, and how to reduce common stressors.

“Often, young people don’t know where to start when problems develop,” MacLure said. “Sometimes, people aren’t great at communicating when they have a problem. They just fight when the problem comes up. 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 their first confidential appointment. At least one member of the relationship must be a student to qualify for the promotional offer. 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.

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 $45 per session. For more information, contact The Couple and Family Therapy Clinic at 401-874-5956. The clinic is located in the Transition Center, 2 Lower College Road on the Kingston campus.