Fwd: [New Post] The 5 Empathy Fails in Marriage (And How to Avoid Them)

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Date: Wed, Apr 1, 2015 at 6:03 AM
Subject: [New Post] The 5 Empathy Fails in Marriage (And How to Avoid Them)
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The 5 Empathy Fails in Marriage (And How to Avoid Them)

By Dr. Kelly Flanagan on Apr 01, 2015 03:00 am

Empathy is the foundation of any authentic connection. It’s the bedrock of togetherness, the fuel of compassion, and the mortar of grace. We must hone our ability to feel it and to give it. But empathy can be elusive, for at least five reasons…


Photo Credit: erix! via Compfight cc

Dusk is closing in when I arrive home from work and walk in the back door.

Some nights, all is well when I get home—my wife is happy and the kids are smiling. But some nights, my wife is tired and worn thin after a long day at work and the onslaught of demands for food and attention. Some nights, my oldest son is anxious and fretting about homework and standardized testing. Some nights, my younger son is distraught about the inevitable injustices of a middle child. Some nights, my daughter will settle for nothing less than a Daddy mirror—a father who will show his interest by reflecting all her energy and joy.

Some nights, everyone wants a little empathy and, some nights, I don’t want to give it.

Some nights, I get home, and I want someone to notice how tired I am, to soothe my anxiety, to correct the injustices done to me, and to mirror me. I could embrace my fatigue, fear, anger, and neediness as common emotional ground and I could reach out and connect in the midst of that shared experience.  But, some nights, I don’t.

Because even for psychologists, empathizing with the people we love is hard to do. And it’s particularly hard to empathize with the person we’ve promised to love for better or worse, for at least five reasons:

  1. I don’t want to go first. In any relationship, both members need empathy. But at any given moment, empathy is unidirectional—it can only flow in one direction at a time. Which means someone has to go first. Someone has to be willing to meet the needs of the other, before their own needs are met.
  2. I don’t agree with you. Empathy requires us to place ourselves in another person’s shoes, to allow our hearts to beat to the rhythm of theirs. We often fundamentally disagree with their perspective, and so we are tempted to debate them intellectually, rather than join them emotionally.
  3. What if I get it wrong? When we try to place ourselves squarely inside of someone else’s emotional landscape, it can be a little scary. It’s unfamiliar territory. They are inviting us in, but what if we get it all wrong? Empathy can be terrifying if we have any perfectionism within us.
  4. I don’t want to feel that. On the other hand, you might know exactly what your partner is feeling. It may bring up thoughts and feelings in you that you would prefer to avoid. If we don’t want to feel our own sadness, we won’t want to feel sadness on behalf of the person we love.
  5. It’s not my job to fix you. We confuse empathy with “fixing.” We think we have to do something to take the emotion away, and we don’t want to be put on that hot-seat. Or some of us will have the opposite reaction: I’m going to fix you. But this undermines our ability to provide empathy, as well. Because empathy is not fixing. Empathy is joining.

If we want to give empathy in our relationships, we will have to sacrifice some values we hold dear:

We will have to be willing to lose, because it will feel like losing. Our partner’s needs are being met before our own, and our ego doesn’t like that. Yet, when our egos lose, our hearts win.

We will have to put aside all of our intellectual debates. Empathy is not a matter of deciding who is right and wrong. It is simply a matter of finding an emotional common ground.

We have to be willing to get it wrong, because we will get it wrong. Empathy is messy. There are no three-easy-steps to accurately understanding the person we love. We have to be okay when our partner tells us we’re not getting it. And then we have to try again.

We need to embrace our discomfort, because empathy will take us into some uncomfortable place within ourselves. If we are unwilling to go there, we may need to stop talking to our spouse and start talking to a therapist of our own.

And we have to quit trying to fix things. There will be a time for that later. For now, empathy is about connecting within an experience, not making the experience go away.

I wish I could tell you I always find my way to empathy with my family, but I can’t. Some nights I do and some nights I don’t. And you won’t always find your way to empathy, either. But that’s okay. That’s not the point. The point is that we begin to try.

Because empathy isn’t just for therapists, it’s for all of us.

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

*This post is adapted from an archived post.


Audio: Audio will be unavailable in March, while I’m finishing a book proposal.

Next Post: Home is Where the Grace Is

Free eBook: My eBook, The Marriage Manifesto: Turning Your World Upside Down, is available free to new blog subscribers. If you are not yet a subscriber, you can click here to subscribe, and your confirmation e-mail will include a link to download the eBook. Or, the book is also now available for Kindle and Nook

Disclaimer: My writings represent a combination of my own personal opinions and my professional experiences, but they do not reflect professional advice. Interaction with me via the blog does not constitute a professional therapeutic relationship. For professional and customized advice, you should seek the services of a counselor who can dedicate the hours necessary to become more intimately familiar with your specific situation. I do not assume liability for any portion or content of material on the blog and accept no liability for damage or injury resulting from your decision to interact with the website.

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Fwd: Are You The Chief Listening Officer Of Your Company?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ken Gosnell <ken.gosnell@c12group.com>
Date: Wed, Apr 1, 2015 at 10:52 AM
Subject: Are You The Chief Listening Officer Of Your Company?
To: billcoffin68@gmail.com

Are You The Chief Listening Officer Of Your Company?

Ken Gosnell here. After two decades in business I am confident to make the following statement.  To build a great company for a greater purpose, the company must be led by great leaders who are great listeners.  Here is a key question for you to consider today: Am I the Chief Listening Officer of my company?  

This month at our C12 Roundtables I will be leading a discussion of CEO's on how to enhance and improve our listening skills in every area of our life.  Here is a truth that you know.  Our performance and potential as leaders can be severely hampered by our limited listening skills.  

I am putting on the finishing touches in preparation of our first roundtable next week but I would like you help.  I will be sending a "CEO listening survey" out tomorrow and I would love to get your feedback on how and who you should be listening to in your organization.  

But for today, I wanted to leave you with a little inspiration.  Watch the short video by Jeffrey Immelt (CLO - Chief Listening Officer of GE). The video highlights the importance of listening as a leader.  Catch his last statement where he states, "In all of my years of leadership, I have not met a single leader of a great organization who was not a good listener."  Wow.  That should motivate us to be a better listener today.


Jeff Immelt on listening
Jeff Immelt on listening

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This email was sent to billcoffin68@gmail.com by ken.gosnell@c12group.com |  

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Fwd: Weekly Update of UK Marriage News - No 15.12

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From: "Dave and Liz Percival" <dave@2-in-2-1.co.uk>
Date: Mar 30, 2015 10:28 AM
Subject: Weekly Update of UK Marriage News - No 15.12
To: "info@2-in-2-1.co.uk" <info@2-in-2-1.co.uk>

Welcome to this week’s UK Marriage News


First of all a big thank you to all those who got in touch last week when we announced that we couldn’t bring you the news for IT reasons. I’m pleased to say that those problems are all now resolved, and this week’s news has all the best bits in from the last two weeks.



·         New relationship support offered to expectant parents

·         Why some couples remain ‘committed unmarrieds’

·         In our darkest hours


Government and Political

·         New relationship support offered to expectant parents

Couples expecting a baby are to be given professional coaching on how becoming parents may change their relationship, as a part of a new support pilot. Midwives and health visitors will be given training from charity OnePlusOne on how to include relationship education into their existing antenatal and postnatal care programmes in eight areas of the country.


As part of the new perinatal project, health workers will prepare people for the impact that having a baby will have on their relationship, offer advice on dealing with conflict and tell couples about further specialist support services in their area. The perinatal pilots are part of an £8 million cash injection for the new financial year, benefiting a total of eight separate relationship support projects around the country.


DWP Minister Steve Webb said: “Becoming a parent is unquestionably one of the most rewarding things anyone can do, but it also exposes parents to a unique set of pressures which, unless properly managed, can test the strongest of relationships. By providing this support at an early stage of parenthood, people will understand how and why their relationship has changed, giving them a far better chance of resolving their differences.”


OnePlusOne director Penny Mansfield CBE said: “OnePlusOne has demonstrated the value of training health practitioners to support couple relationships, utilising their expertise and valuable time with new parents during the often challenging period after having a baby through extensive research over the past 20 years. “In this pilot we are delighted to be working together with our partners – IHV, NSPCC, and NCT – to make the most of the opportunities available during antenatal and postnatal contact. With the right knowledge and skills these key frontline practitioners can prepare mothers and fathers for the changes that parenthood brings, offer practical help in managing changes to their relationship and signpost to help at an early stage if that’s what’s needed.”


The new perinatal pilot is being delivered by relationship support charity OnePlusOne and is one of the measures that have come out of the cross government Family Stability Review. This revealed that becoming a parent is one of the most high risk periods for causing stress between couples, which can lead to separation. Research shows that by providing support in both the lead up to the birth of a child and in the weeks that follow, relationships stand a better chance of surviving.


The projects will be held in:

Croydon Health Services NHS Trust

Derby Hospitals NHS Trust

Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust

Leicestershire Partnership Trust

Nottingham City Care

South Tyneside Foundation Trust

St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust

Sunderland Royal Hospital


·         Link between relationships and health is ignored in the NHS

A new Relate campaign calls for relationships to be put at the heart of the NHS to improve health and wellbeing and reduce pressure on the public purse:

·         Only half (51%) of people with a life-limiting health problem or who are disabled and have received professional support say it has taken relationships into account effectively

·         A huge majority (91%) say they are not aware that relationship support is available for people with health problems or those who are disabled

·         Around 1 in 4 say their life-limiting health problem or disability has impacted negatively on relationships with partners, friends, family or colleagues

·         People with a life-limiting health problem or who are disabled are more likely to report a 'bad' relationship with partners

·         Relate launches 'The Best Medicine' campaign, calling on central and local government to put relationships at the heart of the NHS


The link between relationships and health is too often ignored in the NHS, finds a new report released today by leading relationships charity, Relate and think tank, New Philanthropy Capital (NPC).  The report calls for couple, family and social relationships to be put at the heart of the NHS. Ultimately, claims the report, this will improve health and wellbeing for the 15 million people in the UK* living with long term physical or mental health conditions and reduce pressure on the public purse.


The charity has also released results from two YouGov polls today. Despite clear evidence that good quality relationships can prevent, delay or minimise the effects of health conditions, only half (51%) of those with a life-limiting health problem or who are disabled and have received professional support said it has taken their relationships into account effectively.  A further 21% said they feel the support they received hasn't considered their relationships at all.


The results also illustrated how the effects of living with health conditions are impacting the nation's relationships.  Around 1 in 4 people with a life-limiting health problem or who are disabled said their condition has impacted negatively on relationships they have or have had with partners (24%), friends (25%), family (23%) or colleagues (33%).** In the second survey, the same group was found to be more likely to report a 'bad' relationship with their partners (5%) than other respondents (2%), and more likely to report having no close friends (13% compared to 7%).


Relate is today launching 'The Best Medicine', a new campaign which calls for a more 'relational' health system. The charity is recommending:

·         A Government inquiry into how the true value of relationships can be recognised in the NHS.

·         The Health Secretary to become the Health and Wellbeing Secretary, with relationships and quality of life for carers and people with health and care needs explicitly in his team's remit. 

·         Clinical commissioning groups and local authorities to undertake a 'family test' when considering new local policies.


The campaign is being supported by a host of charities including Mind, The Stroke Association, Alzheimer's Society, Prostate Cancer UK, Breast Cancer Care, the National AIDS Trust, Body and Soul, Headway, The James Whale Trust for Kidney Cancer, The Mental Health Foundation and The British Lung Foundation.


The Best Medicine will raise awareness of the critical link between relationships and the nation's health and wellbeing.  For example, 55% of people who have been in a relationship said that it has helped them to better manage their health condition or disability.  Yet when we need our relationships most, it's clear that the effects of having a physical or mental health condition can pile on the pressure. Excellent relationship support is out there to help, but too few people get access to it and a staggering 91% of those polled weren't aware of it.


Ruth Sutherland, Chief Executive of Relate, believes the status quo must change. She said: "Relationships are good for our health, and health can impact on our relationships, but this clear link isn't reflected in NHS policy. In a time of huge pressure on public spending, and when health conditions are the main cause of increased demand on the NHS, it makes no sense to leave relationships out of the picture. We need to find new ways to prevent and manage long term conditions. Today's report shows that relationships could hold some of the answers. That's why Relate is calling on national and local government to put relationships at the heart of the NHS.  I'm asking everyone to sign our petition today to help make excellent relationship support more accessible at the point of diagnosis and beyond. We've got the opportunity to improve millions of lives here, as well as our society as a whole."


Dan Corry, Chief Executive at NPC said: "I think we all suspect that few things are more important to good health than having good friends and good relationships. But we have not always been clear how strong that link is. Now this report brings together the sound, reliable research into just how important relationships are to the health of the nation. Policy makers and charities need to read it and respond."


·         MPs Call for Parenting Support to Increase Social Mobility

Following a cross-party Parliamentary Inquiry into the key issue of parenting and social mobility, focusing on the potential for enhancing parenting support, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Parents, Families and Social Mobility has published its report. Key points include:

·         Parenting is a key factor in determining a child’s life chances, with successful parenting support programmes able to contribute strongly to improving social mobility

·         Parenting support is fragmented across the UK with little leadership from national government

·         The female dominance of the early years workforce has led to engagement with families being designed and implemented that best suit the environmental preferences, language and personal circumstances of women, often causing men to be alienated

·         There can be stigma attached to parenting classes, but this can be overcome with the promotion of parenting advice becoming the norm

·         Parenting support is all too often focused on parental behaviours and techniques rather than the quality of the parents’ relationship and the impact this has on a child’s life chances


In response to these findings, the Inquiry is now calling on government to:

·         Develop and implement a national parenting support campaign, based on locally designed trials, and based on national – local partnerships and for roll out as funding allows

·         Create a Minister for Families, to work across government departments on policy areas that impact on families

·         Strengthen the ‘Family Test’ to promote strong family relationships and support parenting skills


·         Parliamentary group outlines reform agenda for children's centres

MPs and peers are calling on the next government to implement a five-point improvement plan to boost the support children’s centres can offer families reports CYPNow. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sure Start Children’s Centres’ pre-election report says reform is needed as centres continue to face increased demand from families and pressure on their resources. It calls for improvements in information sharing to address the challenge centres face accessing data from across health and social care.


A reluctance among councils to give centres local birth data is a particular concern. The group points to latest data from The Children’s Society that shows half of councils are not sharing live birth data with centres. According to the society, just 15 per cent of councils currently register births at children’s centres.


Centres should also be at “the heart of local service provision”, says the group, which wants to see centres used more as children and family hubs offering support to families of teenagers as well as toddlers and babies, and as recommended by 4Children.


The next government should also launch a national birth registration pilot at centres. If successful, the APPG wants to see this rolled out nationwide. Its report says: “Delivering birth registration services more widely across the network would play an important role in enabling children’s centres to extend their reach and help more families.”


The way centres are assessed also needs to be overhauled, with integrated inspections by both Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission to take into account the breadth of health, family support and education services at centres. Ofsted confirmed last month it is in talks with the Department for Education about revamping the way centres are inspected. It also calls on the next government to make centres more “appealing places for practitioners to build careers”. The APPG wants to see clearer career paths and qualifications for centre workers.


APPG chair Lyn Brown MP said: “Children’s centres are vital to supporting and transforming the life chances of children and families across the country. We are calling on the next government to help centres fulfil their huge potential. “This report is a Sure Start blueprint for the next government, ready and waiting to be implemented. “I am thrilled that we have all-party agreement on the way forward. From sharing live birth data to expanding children’s centres into holistic family hubs, the next government can look at this plan to help make a real difference for families, through a network of centres already at their disposal.”


Helen Berresford, director of public affairs at the charity 4Children, which provides the secretariat for the APPG, said: “This report gives the next government good food for thought on what the future of Sure Start children’s centres could look like. “Any new government should see Sure Start for what it is – one of the best ways we can support children and families, rooted in the heart of their communities.”

Last month, the Labour Party unveiled plans to boost children’s centres’ role in childcare provision. It wants to see 50,000 new childcare places at centres, citing latest estimates from 4Children that more than 1,000 centres have space for more childcare.


·         General Election 2015: Lib Dems pledge global same-sex marriage rights

British embassies around the world would be given the power to perform same-sex marriages – even if one partner was not a British citizen, under proposals to be included in the Liberal Democrat manifesto says the Independent.


In an attempt to appeal to LGBT voters who have deserted the party since it joined the Coalition, the Liberal Democrats will attempt to put gay equality at the heart of their election campaign. This will include a policy pledge that, under a Government including the Lib Dems, the Foreign Office would be told to use its diplomatic network to push for decriminalisation of homosexuality in countries where it is illegal.


This would prove controversial, particularly in countries like Uganda, where British pronouncements on gay rights have already been condemned as imperialist. Critics will claim that it could have a detrimental effect on other aspects of UK foreign policy. Offering same-sex marriage and civil partnership ceremonies to British citizens abroad would provide parties protection under UK civil law – rights which would not be recognised in host countries where same-sex unions are not permitted.


In an article for Independent Voices, the party’s Foreign Affairs Spokesman, Tim Farron, and Home Office Minister, Lynne Featherstone, said it was important that LGBT rights were not just “on paper”.

“LGBT rights are human rights: we do something about it,” they wrote. “This commitment is the culmination of the work that so many in our party have already been part of in Government.  In the months and years ahead, we must continue to use our influence to end the persecution and extend the freedom of LGBT citizens, both here and abroad.”


The Lib Dems admitted that the policy of using the Foreign Office could have undesirable consequences, but said that could be offset by supporting LGBT-rights movements around the world. “We will use our aid and diplomatic networks to work with and link up local campaigners and global voices... engaging with the private sector and the World Bank to make the case for LGBT equality as a force for economic as well as social good.”


Previous attempts by the Government to link gay rights with diplomacy – and British foreign aid – have led to accusations of interference. In 2011, David Cameron said that those countries receiving British aid should respect gay rights. His remarks – not aimed at any particular country – led the Ugandan Government to accuse Mr Cameron of showing an “ex-colonial mentality”. “Uganda is, if you remember, a sovereign state and we are tired of being given these lectures by people,” said a spokesman.


Research and Public Opinion

·         Why some couples remain ‘committed unmarrieds’

It’s the opposite of ‘conscious uncoupling’. Welcome to the world of ‘committed unmarrieds': couples who are committed to one another, but not to the institution of marriage says Maybeido. While many people cohabit to ‘try before they buy’, there’s a subset of people who actively resist marriage in the first place. And a study in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Family Issues on committed heterosexual couples who have no intention of marrying attempts to answer why people are actively saying ‘I don’t’.


The study, which included interviews with 45 couples ranging in age from 23 to 70 who had been together for more than a year, found many rejected marriage on political grounds. Their objections ranged from the origins of marriage as a form of property exchange to the notion of a wife being a domestic slave.


This traditional notion of marriage, for one woman, reflected her recent experience rather than a relic from some dim distant past. In her previous marriage she was expected to play the role of a 1950s housewife and, as such, she wasn’t prepared to risk repeating that in her new relationship. “It sort of seemed like, when I got married, I suddenly became a possession with my ex and… I should have been like his mother, working full-time, plus coming home and taking care of the house and everything else, while he got to come home and sit and watch TV and other fun things like that,” she told the researchers.


Unpicking the rituals of engagements and weddings is enough to give any woman the wrong kind of heart palpations. The symbolism of a father walking his daughter down the aisle and then handing her over to another man is quite outrageous. Yes, yes, I can hear people saying that the cultural meaning of the bridal walk has changed. But, when you pare it back to basics, it’s still one man giving a woman to another man.


When Prince William asked Kate Middleton’s father for permission to marry her people thought it was sweet. Not only do these antiquated rituals go unquestioned, we still think it’s romantic to treat grown women like children- or property. If we cling to traditional gender power imbalances in the pre-marriage stage, you can’t blame women for fearing it will rear its ugly head after the ring is on the finger.


Full disclosure, I am happily married and I was pleasantly surprised by the additional sense of security and companionship that came with our public declaration of commitment. But you don’t have to look very hard to see examples of how marriage, if left unexamined, can be a slippery slope of female disempowerment. For example, a male acquaintance recently told my husband- without any apparent irony- that he should buy me a Thermomix because it would mean I’d get his dinner cooked on time.


Other participants in the study likened the decision not to wed to an act of ‘civil disobedience’- a stance against the fact marriage is, in most parts of the world, a heterosexual club. “I wouldn’t sit at a segregated lunch counter. I’m not gonna get married if it’s not legal for everybody”, one respondent said.


For other couples, their politics of marriage was less about the plans of state and more to do with the seating plan. One couple told the researchers their resistance came down to logistics- keeping warring relatives apart- and the fact his mother “refused to attend a nonreligious ceremony”.


For others, modern weddings have become a gauche commercial spectacular that they can do without. And given the average spent on an Australian wedding in 2011 was $36,200 (the average in the United States in 2013 was $29,858), you can’t blame them.


Other couples just couldn’t see the point of marriage, considering it meaningless, and didn’t think it would add anything to their relationship. My friend Carolyn, for example, never got around to marrying her long-term partner and now that they have two school-aged children they see no reason to have a wedding. “If we got married after all these years everyone would suspect that one of us has had an affair,” Carolyn says. “Something really terrible would have to have happened to justify asking all our friends to arrange all that babysitting.”


Just over 10 per cent of Australians are living in de facto relationships. And the research suggests de facto couples are six times more likely to split up than married couples.


But an increased likelihood of staying together is not necessarily a glowing endorsement for the institution of marriage- particularly if it can transform modern women into 1950s housewives with Thermomixes.


·         Are humans hardwired to break-up and move on?

A Saint Louis University research review article suggests people are hardwired to fall out of love and move onto new romantic relationships reports Science Daily. "Our review of the literature suggests we have a mechanism in our brains designed by natural selection to pull us through a very tumultuous time in our lives," said Brian Boutwell, Ph.D., associate professor of criminology and criminal justice and associate professor of epidemiology at Saint Louis University. "It suggests people will recover; the pain will go away with time. There will be a light at the end of the tunnel."


Boutwell and his colleagues examined the process of falling out of love and breaking up, which they call primary mate ejection, and moving on to develop a new romantic relationship, which they call secondary mate ejection.


Drawing largely upon the field of evolutionary psychology, they say men and women might break up for different reasons. For instance, a man is more likely to end a relationship because a woman has had a sexual relationship with another man. For evolutionary reasons, men should be wired to try and avoid raising children that aren't genetically their own, the authors say. "Men are particularly sensitive to sexual infidelity between their partner and someone else," Boutwell said. "That's not to say women don't get jealous, they certainly do, but it's especially acute for men regarding sexual infidelity."


On the other hand, a woman may be more likely to break up if her partner has been emotionally unfaithful partly because of evolutionary reasons. Over the deep time of evolution, natural selection has designed mate ejection in females to avoid the loss of resources, such as help in raising a child and physical protection, that their mates provide.


Sometimes both men and women end a relationship for the same reason. "For instance, neither gender tends to tolerate or value cruelty on the part of their partner," Boutwell said.


In addition, some people might be more likely than others to fall out of love or have problems moving. The ability to break up and find someone new to love lies along a continuum, influenced by environmental and genetic factors.


Brain imaging studies of men and women who claimed to be deeply in love also provided important clues about dealing with breakups. Functional MRIs showed an increase in neuronal activity in the parts of the brain -- the pleasure areas -- that also become active with cocaine use.


"Helen Fisher's work has revealed that this circuitry in the brain, which is deeply associated with addictive behaviours, also is implicated in the feelings associated with romantic attraction and may help explain the attachment that often follows the initial feelings of physical infatuation with a potential mate. Think of it as that initial feeling of falling in love, when you want to constantly be around the other person, almost in an addictive way," Boutwell said.


Falling out of love, Boutwell contends, might be compared to asking a cocaine addict to break his or her habit. "To sever that bond and move on is a huge ask of a person," he said. "Ultimately, trying to move on from a former mate may be similar in some ways to an attempt at breaking a drug habit."


Building off the drug addiction analogy, Boutwell examined studies about the brains of former cocaine addicts to try to predict how the brains of those who are breaking a relationship habit might look. Images of the brains of those no longer using cocaine showed a larger volume of grey matter in various brain regions, which were markedly different from images of brains of active cocaine users. "We might argue that different regions of the brain act in a way that once that addiction has been severed, then help to facilitate a person moving on and finding a new partner," Boutwell extrapolated. "A person might initially pursue their old mate -- in an attempt to win back their affection. However, if pursuit is indeed fruitless, then the brains of individuals may act to correct certain emotions and behaviours, paving the way for people to become attracted to new mates and form new relationships."


Conducting functional MRI studies that examine the brains of men and women who have rebounded from a relationship and fallen in love again would provide additional evidence to lend credibility to or dismiss the addiction hypothesis, he added.


In an additional attempt to understand what is going on inside the brain when a relationship ends, Boutwell examined research regarding the impact of a group of antidepressant medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) on romantic love. The use of SSRIs can potentially lower levels of dopamine, norepinephrine and testosterone, which might stifle romantic feelings and sexual interest.


"This is not to say that people should cease using their anti-depressants without consulting their doctors. That could be potentially tragic and a very bad decision," Boutwell said. "Rather, like any medication, it is important to fully understand the side effects. In this case, those side effects might impinge on the intimate feelings of one partner towards another."


Boutwell urged more research into lost love to better understand the difficulties that can creep into a romantic relationship. "If we better understand mate ejection, it may offer direct and actionable insight into ways in which couples can save a relationship that might otherwise come to stultifying and abrupt halt," he said.


·         Immediate Effect of Couple Relationship Education on Low-Satisfaction Couples: A Randomized Clinical Trial Plus an Uncontrolled Trial Replication

Couple relationship education (RE) usually is conceived of as relationship enhancement for currently satisfied couples, with a goal of helping couples sustain satisfaction says an article from Science Direct. However, RE also might be useful as a brief, accessible intervention for couples with low satisfaction. Two studies were conducted that tested whether couples with low relationship satisfaction show meaningful gains after RE. Study 1 was a three-condition randomized controlled trial in which 182 couples were randomly assigned to RELATE with Couple CARE (RCC), a flexible delivery education program for couples, or one of two control conditions. Couples with initially low satisfaction receiving RCC showed a moderate increase in relationship satisfaction (d = 0.50) relative to the control. In contrast, couples initially high in satisfaction showed little change and there was no difference between RCC and the control conditions. Study 2 was an uncontrolled trial of the Couple Coping Enhancement Training (CCET) administered to 119 couples. Couples receiving CCET that had initially low satisfaction showed a moderate increase in satisfaction (g = .44), whereas initially highly satisfied couples showed no change. Brief relationship education can assist somewhat distressed couples to enhance satisfaction, and has potential as a cost-effective way of enhancing the reach of couple interventions.


·         Intimacy and Emotion Work in Lesbian, Gay, and Heterosexual Relationships

Knowledge about how gender shapes intimacy is dominated by a heteronormative focus on relationships involving a man and a woman says an article in Journal of Marriage and Family. In this study, the authors shifted the focus to consider gendered meanings and experiences of intimacy in same-sex and different-sex relationships. They merged the gender-as-relational perspective—that gender is co-constructed and enacted within relationships—with theoretical perspectives on emotion work and intimacy to frame an analysis of in-depth interviews with 15 lesbian, 15 gay, and 20 heterosexual couples. They found that emotion work directed toward minimizing and maintaining boundaries between partners is key to understanding intimacy in long-term relationships. Moreover, these dynamics, including the type and division of emotion work, vary for men and women depending on whether they are in a same-sex or different-sex relationship. These findings push thinking about diversity in long-term relationships beyond a focus on gender difference and toward gendered relational contexts.

·         Millions rely on grandmother

More than two million working parents would have to consider giving up their jobs completely if they were not able to rely on their own parents to help with childcare, new research suggests says the Telegraph. Almost one in five parents said they would give up work if they could not turn to the older generation for support, polling by the charity Grandparents Plus found. Meanwhile another one in six would have to cut back their hours if they could not turn to their parents for support, it showed.


The new analysis underlines the scale of Britain’s dependence on grandparents as nursery and child-minder fees rise sharply coupled with a return to the workplace by stay-at-home mothers. It follows research estimating that grandparents save families in the UK £11 billion each year in childcare costs by stepping in to help out on the domestic front.


Last week one travel firm offering breaks in hotels and resorts which ban children reported a spike in bookings from pensioners for the period immediately after the school summer holidays. Warner Leisure Hotels said grandparents increasingly appear to be booking last-minute breaks to recover from the stress of childcare over the summer holidays.


Almost half of over-55s in the UK provide some form of regular childcare support for their own children, even though many are themselves still working. Grandparents Plus is campaigning for rules allowing parents of young children to take up to four weeks a year of unpaid leave to be relaxed to allow them to pass on the entitlement to their own parents if they still work.


Although business leaders have voiced concern that any extension of flexible working would increase pressure on small firms, supporters of the change argue it could boost the economy by enabling more parents to continue working.


In the polling, by Survation, working parents were asked what they would do if their own parents were unable to help look after the children. Overall 21 per cent said they would have to find the money for extra paid childcare but almost as many, 19 per cent, said they would give up work themselves. That includes almost a quarter of working mothers and in seven fathers polled.


There are currently around 10.8 million working parents in the UK including four million families in which both parents are employed. One recent study last year showed that almost 200,000 former stay-at-home mothers had re-joined the workforce in just two years.


Sam Smethers, chief executive of Grandparents Plus said: “One in three working parents rely on grandparents for childcare but what are the political parties offering grandparents?


“It is often younger grandmothers in particular who provide the intensive childcare support and they are the ones at risk of dropping out of the labour market. But we are also seeing granddads doing more too. If we want grandparents to work longer and care more for children, we need to give them the flexibility to do it. Many parents don’t take all the unpaid leave they are entitled to. But if they could share it with a grandparent, that would help hard-pressed working grandparents to juggle work and care and our poll shows parents back our call. As an increasing number of grandparents stay in work in their mid-sixties and older we will see more working parents at risk of losing the childcare they rely so heavily on. This will see mothers dropping out of the labour market and our economy cannot afford that.”


Overseas News

·         Divorce Without Court: A Helpful Reform

State Rep. John Lesch and state Sen. Sandy Pappas recently introduced a "cooperative private divorce" bill that creates an administrative pathway to divorce that skips the court system reports Minneapolis Star-Tribune. If most divorces settle out of court and people just file paperwork for court approval, why is this such a significant reform?


Any time people are put in an adversarial position, anxiety and animosity are almost inevitable. A court proceeding is fundamentally a contest between adversaries - a win/lose battle that depends on convincing a powerful decision maker that the other person is wrong.


In our culture, the very idea of divorce has the court system in the background. People are assumed to be adversaries, and they respond with hostility in the very situation that calls for generosity of spirit. Everyone in the family law system knows the bitter court battles that result. Even more important, many of the divorce cases that settle out of court are begrudging compromises made by adversaries to avoid the risk of a judge deciding against them.


The hard work of many good people has humanized the divorce system, and Minnesota's is one of the best. But the essential nature of the adversary court system cannot be negated. It's like how we handle prostitution and drug use - diversion and treatment programs have modified the criminal system, but once an issue is assigned to the criminal system rather than the public health system, certain consequences inevitably follow. Once we decide that divorce requires a court order, we suffuse the process with conflict.


In a cooperative private divorce, people would submit a simple form online called "Intent to Divorce." After 90 days to make sure they have thought it through and have consulted with any advisers they wanted, they could submit another form called "Declaration of Divorce" that contained whatever agreements they chose to make about their children or their financial affairs. Then they would be issued a "Certificate of Divorce." That's it. Complete privacy. No judge's approval. The couple could modify their agreements or scrap the private system and go to court any time they wanted.


The most common criticism of this new system is paternalistic: Without oversight, people will screw it up. But most "mistakes" now come from lay people not always following the complex rules a judge might use to decide arguments about things like real estate. But is it really a mistake if people agree on what seems fair to them? And if they wanted to follow complex rules, they would be free to hire lawyers. People get married, raise children and write wills without court oversight. Why can't they decide how they divorce?


Once the court monopoly on divorce is ended, the private market will respond with supportive services that not only would reduce mistakes but may prevent some divorces, because the first stop for couples in trouble won't automatically be a lawyer to represent them against their spouse. We know lawyers who welcome this chance to do creative work in a non-adversarial setting.


Another objection is that some people will be pushed around without a judge to protect them. The bill contains careful warnings that the private system should be used only by people who can work together in good faith. And, as in all areas of the law, judges will retain authority to vacate private agreements obtained through misconduct.


Some experienced family lawyers contend that an administrative divorce system is unconstitutional. Legal scholars will weigh in, but it's interesting that those who say it's unconstitutional don't usually refer to a constitutional provision or a policy argument about why the Legislature lacks authority to dissolve the bond between people it created. Rather, they contend that some court might find the system unconstitutional. This is exactly what happens in the current divorce system - the discussion moves from what is the best course of action to a prediction about what a judge might do.


Everywhere you look, the tide of cultural evolution is toward empowerment and respect for individuals. It is time the divorce system got into the flow.


·         The online dating site sued for targeting married people

An online dating site that targets married people is being accused of breaking the law. A court in France must now decide whether the company is illegally encouraging spouses to cheat reports the BBC.


Is it permitted for a dating website to promote adultery, when fidelity in marriage is written into French civil law? That is the question underlying a law-suit targeting the French company Gleeden, which boasts that it is the world's leading "extra-conjugal site conceived for married women". Angered by Gleeden's provocative advertising on the public transport system, the Association of Catholic Families (ACF) has filed a civil case contesting the site's legality.


It might seem odd in this permissive age, but family lawyers agree that the ACF plea has a respectable chance of succeeding. This is because the notion of fidelity as constituting an integral part of marriage is specifically spelt out in the French civil code.


In France, all law is based on written codes (penal code, labour code, commercial code etc) which can be amended by parliament. Judges are free to interpret the codes, but their room for manoeuvre is much more limited than in a common law system like the UK's. And in Article 212 of the Civil Code, it states: "Married partners owe each other the duty of respect, fidelity, help and assistance."


"There are plenty of other websites out there which promote sexual contact between individuals, but what makes Gleeden different is that its very business model is based on marital infidelity," says Jean-Marie Andres, president of the Association of Catholic Families. "It states quite openly that its purpose is to offer married women opportunities to have sex outside the marriage. But here in France, people and parliament are all in agreement that marriage is a public commitment. It's in the law. What we are trying to do with our suit is show that the civil code - the law - has meaning."


Gleeden does not demur from the accusation that it is aimed at married women. Far from it. Married women are its unique selling point. The advertisements which caused such horror among conservatives and Catholics blatantly encourage wives to think that cheating is both permissible and fun. One poster displayed on buses and metros shows an attractive young woman in a bridal dress with her fingers crossed behind her back. The message is clear: vows are for suckers.


Founded in 2009, the website says it has 2.3 million members in Europe including one million in France. It has smaller operations in the US and other countries. Under the Gleeden model, women do not pay to be registered on the site. Men buy credit, opening up different levels of access to registered women. Though accurate information on this is impossible to obtain, Gleeden says 80% of the people who use it are indeed married.


Forthcoming conferences and events

·         Forthcoming conferences

Details of all forthcoming conferences can always be found under our listing at 2-in-2-1


Consultations and Campaigns

Below is our running list of current and recent consultations and campaigns. New items or those requiring action are highlighted. The Reference numbers are to the newsletter where we covered the subject.


Soap Box!!

·         In our darkest hours

The news this past week has been filled with the stories and horror of the Alp’s air crash – but there was one snippet that really caught my attention – it was a German man expressing sympathy for the parents of the co-pilot. He had realised that behind this tragic story, and all the media attention that it inevitably brings these days, lay the personal tragedy and trauma of a family caught up in a maelstrom of emotions and questions.


Actually that was the second example of such a situation I had come across in a week. The first involved a family whose son had just been sent to prison – a happy, normal, family suddenly rocked by the transgressions of one of their offspring. There is nothing to suggest that the parents had been poor at parenting or similar, this was a product of a very normal loving home – though I am sure that the parents will have run endlessly over what they might have done, or not done, differently over the years.


To me both these stories highlight both the responsibilities of being a parent, and the risks that having a child brings. As far as I know, in both cases, the parents had provided a loving, stable nurturing environment, had supported their offspring through the challenges of adolescence, and then seen them “launched” into adult life. And yet something still went tragically wrong…..


The risk is clear – our offspring become independent adults who may, for whatever reasons, transgress socially or legally acceptable boundaries, and in the process wreak huge collateral damage on those who have sought to nurture and protect them through life. The German pilot’s parents will forever be marked out as “that pilot’s parents” – never again will they be able to tell those stories of their offspring success that are the mainstay of so many social occasions. People will always be looking, wondering…. And so too for our friends for whom the events could have career threatening consequences….


Such pressures are huge on a couple, but perhaps just bearable – if they were placed on the shoulders of one parent alone they just might be too much. At least these couples, in the privacy of their own relationships, have someone intimately connected with every aspect of their offspring’s life to whom they can turn to help rationalise and empathise. Of course the trauma and grief they will each bear will stretch their own relationships to the limit – we each process these things in very different ways – doubtless there will be tears of anger as well as of grief, but through it all they will hopefully also realise that their spouse stands beside them, just as wounded and bloodied, but still standing and fighting beside them.


It is for times such as these, when our children inflict the deepest pain possible, that we need the unquestioning support of one who has made absolute vows of support and love – who has made the promises of marriage to walk beside us in our darkest hours.




Best wishes,

The 2-in-2-1 Team


Technical Stuff


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Fwd: 10 Actions That Children Learn From Their Parents' Marriage

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "MarriedPeople" <nsquires@rethinkgroup.org>
Date: Mar 20, 2015 10:00 AM
Subject: 10 Actions That Children Learn From Their Parents' Marriage
To: <billcoffin68@gmail.com>


March 20, 2015


10 Actions That Children Learn From Their Parents' Marriage


by Doug Fields – When I speak on marriage, I’m always asked if I intentionally taught my kids about marriage.

The answer is yes . . . and, no.

Yes, there are times when we’ve talked specifically about marriage (either ours or ones that our kids have observed). But, for the most part, Cathy and I have been wise enough to know that our kids are constantly watching and learning from us without us having to do a lot of talking. Our actions (both good and bad) are always teaching them about marriage.

I would be thrilled if my kids had a similar type of marriage that Cathy and I share . . . it’s definitely not perfect, but we’re both very proud of what we’ve developed over 27+ years.

Here are 10 actions that I know my kids have observed from us over the years: (Click here for the entire entry.)



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Fwd: CAREER PATHWAYS - Summary of Responses to a Request for Information

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Tran, Thomas (ACF) <thomas.tran@acf.hhs.gov>
Date: Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 3:21 PM
Subject: CAREER PATHWAYS - Summary of Responses to a Request for Information
To: OFA-TANF@list.nih.gov

The Departments of Education (ED), Health and Human Services (HHS), and Labor (DOL) continue our exciting work together around career pathways - both systems building and programs.  In April of 2014, we issued a joint Request for Information<https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/04/23/2014-09274/request-for-information-on-adoption-of-career-pathways-approaches-for-the-delivery-of-education> (RFI) to get information and recommendations about career pathways from stakeholders in the public and private sectors.

We are thrilled that a diverse group of 141 respondents from across the nation commented.  We got information about existing career pathways systems, roles and responsibilities of career pathways partners, connections to economic development strategies, how pathways systems are funded, how participant outcomes are measured, and how providers ensure that pathways stay current with labor market trends.

The interagency team has been reviewing and analyzing the responses and are happy to share this summary report with overarching themes from the RFI (insert hyperlink).  The report includes facilitators and barriers to career pathway(s) development and implementation.  It also includes promising practices and recommendations for what federal, state, tribal, and local agencies can do to support the successful development of career pathways systems.  The report concludes with an overview of key opportunities to advance some of the major recommendations in light of recent developments such as the passage of the Workforce Investment Opportunity Act.  Did you know that career pathways are referenced no fewer than 21 times in the new law?  That's an exciting opportunity for our work in this area!

Please know that the information you shared with us will be used to inform technical assistance efforts, funding opportunities, policy discussions, and other activities to support the development of career pathways systems.   So, stay tuned!


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Fwd: National Healthy Marriage Resource Center - March 2015

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: National Healthy Marriage Resource Center <info@healthymarriageinfo.org>
Date: Wed, Mar 11, 2015 at 10:55 AM
Subject: National Healthy Marriage Resource Center - March 2015
To: billcoffin68@gmail.com


NHRMC logo 
  News Resource Alerts
Educators Research & Policy For The Media

Featured this month at the NHMRC


Follow the Health and Human Services Grant Forecast for the latest on forthcoming Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Grants or follow our What’s New in the Field feed, Facebook or Twitter accounts. The current release date is April 2, 2015.


Marriage/Relationship Education (MRE) Program Development and Management ManualChapter 3 of this manual provides helpful tips on building a budget and funding your program. Topics include:


  • Assessing Program Needs in Order to Develop a Budget
  • Determining Start-Up and Operating Costs
  • Considering Factors Unique to a Marriage/Relationship Education Program
  • Funding Sources

You can download a free PDF of this resource or purchase a three-ring binder of the entire 179-page manual for only a small shipping and handling fee. Read more.

Family Strengthening Research: FY 2014 This report provides detailed summaries of major research investments by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation’s (OPRE) Division of Family Strengthening (DFS) along with brief overviews of past projects. The featured projects cover topics that include strengthening relationships within families, supporting fatherhood, nurturing children through their families, reducing teen pregnancy, supporting youth in their transition to adulthood, and preventing family violence. The report also describes DFS’s investments in activities to disseminate rigorous research on family strengthening topics to a diverse range of stakeholders including federal and state policymakers, program administrators, researchers and intermediary organizations. This report covers OPRE-funded projects through Fiscal Year 2014. Read more.

Extension Resources to Support Relationship Education The National Extension Relationship and Marriage Education Network (NERMEN) has a new and updated website! At nermen.org you have access to NERMEN resources developed to support professionals in teaching relationship education, including the National Extension Relationship and Marriage Education Model (NERMEM) as well as ELEVATE, a new couples education curriculum. In addition, the website shares curricula, fact sheets and other resources developed by Extension designed to strengthen and enrich couple and marital relationships. Read more.


NO MORE Week: March 8-14 NO MORE is a movement to raise public awareness and engage bystanders around ending domestic violence and sexual assault. Launched in March 2013 by a coalition of leading advocacy and service organizations and major corporations, NO MORE is supported by hundreds of domestic violence and sexual assault organizations at the local, state and national levels. These organizations use NO MORE’s signature blue symbol to increase visibility and funding to address these critical issues.

NO MORE Week is a national effort to engage every individual, organization, or corporation to say NO MORE and to make domestic violence and sexual assault awareness and prevention a priority year-round. The NHMRC encourages you to utilize resources from the NO MORE campaign and our friends at the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. Read more.

Program Listing Is your healthy marriage and relationship program listed on our websites? We have an ever-growing directory of healthy marriage and relationship education programs located across the country, with more than 80,000 combined monthly visits to our two websites. Search the program listings on Healthymarriageinfo.org and Twoofus.org to be certain your program is listed on these popular sites. Send program information and updates via email to info@healthymarriageinfo.org.

The National Healthy Marriage Resource Center (NHMRC) is a clearinghouse for high quality, balanced and timely information and resources on healthy marriage/relationships and managed by Public Strategies.


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Special Workshops: 2015 Conference on RE and Filial Methods



From: newsletter@nire.org [mailto:newsletter@nire.org]
Sent: Thursday, March 5, 2015 10:02 PM
To: billandpatcoffin@verizon.net
Subject: Special Workshops: 2015 Conference on RE and Filial Methods


 Please forward this announcement to interested professionals


Special Workshops on

Relationship Enhancement® 

and Filial Methods


The 2015 Relationship Enhancement® 

and Filial Therapy Conference


April 10-11, 2015 in Bethesda, MD


Co-Sponsored by

National Institute of Relationship Enhancement® (NIRE) and Association for Filial and Relationship Enhancement® Methods (AFREM)

CE Workshops

For the 2015 Relationship Enhancement® and Filial Therapy Conference, NIRE and AFREM are co-sponsoring three workshops on Friday April 10 and two workshops on Saturday April 11.

Friday will include two 3-hour workshops: “Working with Grief in the Relationship Enhancement Model” and “The Correspondence between the Art of Poetry and the Art of Therapy.”

Saturday Morning will feature Louise Guerney leading a 3-hour workshop entitled "Working with Parents of Children in Play Therapy."

Saturday afternoon will feature a 2-hour panel discussion / workshop entitled “Recent Developments in the Use of the Relationship Enhancement Model in France and the United States.”

Each Friday workshop and the Saturday morning workshop qualifies for 3 CE credits. 

The Saturday afternoon workshop qualifies for 2 CE credits.

Organized Friday Night Dutch Treat Dinner

This year’s traditional “Dutch Treat” dinner will be held on Friday night April 10. This well attended event always proves to be a fun time to connect and relax with friends and colleagues around the dinner table. Please join us if you can! Details below. And please RSVP so we can properly plan with the restaurant.


Registration information may be found below.

AFREM Special Workshops Registration Form

Friday Workshops

Working with Grief in the Relationship Enhancement Model

Presenter: Mary Ortwein, M.S., LMFT

Friday, April 10, 9:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. 3 CE credits

What part does grief play in the issues which your clients bring to Relationship Enhancement therapy?  How can recent research and theory development in the grief field inform us as therapists to better meet the needs of our clients?  How can grief theory and research help us help clients to forgive and to develop capacity for empathy?  This workshop will provide you with information to answer these questions.

Recent research and development of models for grief work well with Relationship Enhancement. This workshop will begin with a review of relevant recent grief research and theory, including work on attachment and the experience of grief, tasks and mediators of the mourning process, and signs of complicated mourning. In the second segment of this workshop, participants will work together to practice specific RE strategies (such as Coaching Deeper Empathy, Troubleshooting, Becoming, and Laundering) to help couples and families work through grief issues. The third segment of the workshop will focus on using the Tasks of Grief as a model to help couples stuck in resentment move toward forgiveness.


Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this workshop participants will be able to:

  • Apply relevant recent grief research to situations encountered in Relationship Enhancement therapy

  • Apply Relationship Enhancement strategies to deepen empathy to grief issues

  • Combine Worden's Tasks of Grief with RE Forgiveness Skill to help couples stuck in resentment

Mary Ortwein, MS., LMFT is the founder of IDEALS for Families and Communities (IFC), a mental health non-profit in Frankfort, Kentucky, which specializes in providing quality mental health services for the working poor and for those in shelters. Co-author with Bernard Guerney, Jr. of the Mastering the Mysteries of Love series of Relationship Enhancement materials and author of the Filial parent workbook, Mastering the Magic of Play, Mary is an experienced Relationship Enhancement therapist, supervisor, and trainer. She will soon complete a Master's of Pastoral Theology at St. Meinrad Seminary.

The Correspondence between the Art of Poetry and the Art of Therapy

Maryhelen Snyder, Ph.D.

Friday, April 10, 2:00 - 5:15 p.m. 3 CE credits

This workshop explores certain distinctions in the field of psychotherapy between narrative and poetry as metaphors for the consciously authored life. It is suggested that such phenomena as “self,” “relationship,” “knowledge,” and “time” are experienced differently within the dominant therapeutic discourses and the discourses associated with poetry. Five aspects of “poetic” knowledge are explored: Form (or containment); aesthetic knowing; non-identity with self; nothingness (and not knowing); and radiance. Two examples from couple therapy will be given to illustrate these aspects and the interface between this way of knowing and the lived life. This workshop will include discussion and practice as well as the presentation.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the five characteristics that characterize “poetic” knowledge

  • Distinguish between narrative and poetic ways of approaching the process of therapy

  • Enrich the therapy process by introducing aspects of “poetic” knowledge into therapeutic practice

      Maryhelen Snyder, Ph.D. has been a mental health professional for 40 years, specializing much of that time in Relationship Enhancement therapy. She has authored many professional articles and book chapters and been an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico Medical School. She is also a poet. Her recent book "Sun in an Empty Room" has a similar focus to her therapy work, which is wildly celebrative of human beings and human possibilities.

Dinner, Friday Night, April 10, 6:30 p.m. Dutch Treat.

Following the Friday afternoon workshop, those who are interested will go out together as a group for dinner for fun, relaxation and an opportunity to connect with friends and colleagues. If you are interested in joining the group for dinner: Please be certain to sign up on the Registration Form. Advance payment is not necessary, but we do need to be able to give an accurate count to the restaurant.

Saturday Workshops

Building an Alliance with Parents of Children in Play Therapy

Louise Guerney, Ph.D.

Saturday, April 11, 9:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. 3 CE Credits

Working with children means also working with parents. Whether you work with children individually in play therapy, with parents alone, or with the whole family, one of the most important tasks the clinician has is effectively developing a constructive working alliance with the parents. Unfortunately, parents often are in pain themselves when they bring their children in for treatment. This results in a wide variety of responses to the therapist, including hostility, skepticism, discouragement, or a disengaged response of "I'll drop them off and you fix them." Quickly establishing and maintaining your relationship with parents as a supportive, credible and collaborative professional is the surest way to ensure that clients stay in treatment and that you experience the satisfaction of being effective in your work. This workshop will emphasize role-play demonstration s and practice dealing with difficult parents.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Establish rapport with parents in the initial intake through the use of empathy

  • Explain the nature and rationale for play or filial therapy to parents

  • Make treatment recommendations that are accepted by parents

  • Motivate active involvement of parents throughout treatment

  • Handle parental discouragement, demands for a quick fix and premature termination issues

Louise Guerney, Ph.D., is co-creator with Bernard Guerney, Ph.D. of Filial Family Therapy. She also is author of Parenting: A Skills Training Manual, a nationally recognized and widely used parenting program and, together with Virginia Ryan, of Group Filial Therapy (Jessica Kingsley, 2013).

Recent Developments in the Use of the Relationship Enhancement® Model in France and the United States

Saturday, April 11, 1:45 – 4:00 p.m. 2 CE Credits.

Moderator: Robert Brown, Ph.D. Panel Members: France Sarradon, Nicole Sarradon, Mary Ortwein.

The Institut Francophone de Relationship Enhancement (IFRE) has been a leader in creating novel ways of introducing the Relationship Enhancement (RE) model in therapeutic, educational, business and organizational settings. Most recently, France Sarradon and Nicole Sarradon have been introducing the RE model to practitioners of sex therapy in France and Germany. They also have introduced innovations on how to introduce RE more effectively in the first session when working with businesses in order to bring people to a place where they are interested and willing to participate in learning and practicing the RE skills.

Ideals for Families and Communities (IFC) has been an innovator in bringing RE to underserved populations in special need of being nurtured through the values and skills contained in the RE model. Under the leadership of Founder Mary Ortwein, IFC has brought the RE skills into schools, shelters, jails and agencies through individual counseling, community classes and groups. The goal is to provide those being served with a renewed sense of hope and possibility that they can both overcome personal difficulties and experience satisfying and healthy relationships.

This panel discussion will introduce participants to these exciting developments in the world of RE while also providing an opportunity for participants to share their own innovations and creative endeavors in using and spreading the use of the RE model.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this workshop participants will be able to:

  • Describe how the RE model can be used as a framework within which to address relationship issues involving sexual intimacy

  • Describe how the RE model can be adapted to be more effective in the context of business and organizational settings

  • Describe how RE can be effectively implemented in community settings in order to better serve underserved populations

Robert Brown, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland and a member of the Board of IDEALS, the larger organization supporting AFREM and NIRE.

France Sarradon, is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in New Mexico. France is Clinical Director of the Relationship Enhancement® Institute of New Mexico, co-founder (with Nicole) and Scientific Director of the “Institut Francophone de la Relationship Enhancement” (IFRE), and co-founder and Master Trainer of “Listen Up!” – an RE program developed for organizational settings. France has translated RE into French and introduced RE in France. She also is trained in a wide variety of therapeutic approaches (“… and just plain in love with what RE can do!”) 

Nicole Sarradon Girbal is a psychologist and human resources specialist. Nicole is co-founder (with France) and President of (IFRE). She uses RE in many settings, both in France (and Europe) and the USA. She has been trained in and uses a wide variety of therapy approaches, including systemic and emotional approaches. (And, according to her sister France, “she is fun!”).

Mary Ortwein, MS., LMFT is the founder of IDEALS for Families and Communities (IFC), a mental health non-profit in Frankfort, Kentucky, which specializes in providing quality mental health services for the working poor and for those in shelters. Co-author with Bernard Guerney, Jr. of the Mastering the Mysteries of Love series of Relationship Enhancement materials and author of the Filial parent workbook, Mastering the Magic of Play, Mary is an experienced Relationship Enhancement therapist, supervisor, and trainer. She will soon complete a Master's of Pastoral Theology at St. Meinrad Seminary.

Registration Information

Location: The AFREM annual meeting and workshops will be held at the National Institute of Relationship Enhancement® (NIRE) conference suite on the Roof level of the Topaz House at 4400 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD. The Topaz House is located six miles from the White House and Georgetown. NIRE is less than three blocks from the Bethesda metro stop.

Parking: Parking on Friday may be available at the Topaz House’s underground garage on a first come first served basis. There is a public parking lot at East-West Highway and Waverly Street, a block and a half from the Topaz House. Be certain to bring plenty of quarters for the public parking lot. The cost is $.75 per hour in long term parking; plan on 9 hours, i.e., $6.75. [To be safe, bring a roll of quarters, as parking rates may have gone up.] Parking is free on Saturday. On Saturday parking should be easier at Topaz House, and is free at the public parking lot.

Schedule: Each morning workshop will be 3 hours long. There will be one 15 minute break during each morning workshop. Each afternoon workshop will be 2 hours long. There will be one 15 minute break between the two Friday afternoon workshops. There will be one 15 minute break during the Saturday afternoon workshop.

Refreshments: Starting at 8:40 a.m., and available all day, each day, there will be a sidebar with fruit, coffee and tea, soda, and snacks.

CE Credits: IDEALS/NIRE is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. IDEALS/NIRE maintains responsibility for each program and its content. IDEALS/NIRE also is approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors to provide continuing education for National Certified Counselors. NBCC Provided #5560. IDEALS/NIRE is approved by the Maryland State Board of Social Workers to offer Category 1 continuing education programs for social workers. NIRE also is approved by the Association for Play Therapy to offer continuing education specific to play therapy. APT Approved Provider 95-009. IDEALS/NIRE maintains responsibility for the program. 

Each morning workshop will earn attendees 3 CE credits. Each afternoon workshop will earn attendees 2 CE credits. 

A Certificate will be issued to you attesting to your completion of each workshop attended and documenting the CE credits you have earned.

Cost: The fee for each 3-hour workshop is $60. The fee for each 2-hour workshop is $40. The fee for currently enrolled, full-time graduate students is $10.00 for each workshop, or $30 for all five workshops.

Lunch: Lunch each day is the responsibility of each participant, though arrangements will be made to provide lunch on Saturday for those who wish. The cost will be $10.00 per person. Please see the registration form below for details.

Optional Friday Night Dinner (Dutch Treat): Many participants at past AFREM annual meeting workshops have enjoyed each other’s company over dinner at a restaurant in Bethesda. We will do the same this year, on Friday, April 10 at 6:30 p.m. While prepayment is not necessary, it is necessary for planning purposes to know who plans to attend, so please indicate on the registration form that you would like to attend the dinner so that we can make appropriate arrangements and reserve table space for our group. Some participants may also choose to go out to dinner on Saturday evening, but that will not be a formally organized event.

Travel: For those coming by air: NIRE is 15 miles from Washington National, 22 miles from Baltimore-Washington, and 18 miles from Dulles Airports. For those coming by car: NIRE is two miles south of the Connecticut Avenue exit or the Wisconsin Avenue exit of the Beltway (I-495).

Municipal parking is very close and is free on Saturday (at Waverly and East-West Highway). Be certain to bring plenty of quarters to feed the meter for parking on Friday. The cost is $.75 per hour in long term parking; plan on 9 hours, i.e., $6.75. (To be safe, bring a roll of quarters!) Parking is free on Saturday. All registrants will be sent a map detailing how to reach NIRE.

Accommodations: Discounted hotel rooms are available at the Bethesda Court Hotel. To secure the discounted rate, please call 1-800-874-0050 and ask for the “NIRE” rate, which for 2015 is $129 per night Thursday through Sunday, plus a $15.00 per night fee for parking. This discounted rate is available until the hotel reaches a certain point of capacity for the respective dates, so you are advised to make reservations as early as possible. Information about alternative accommodations can be provided when you register.

For Further Information about arrangements, call Chriss Stanton at 301-680-8977.

Registration: To register, please 

(1) call NIRE at 301-680-8977 

(2) send your Registration Form by fax to 1-502-226-7088

or (3) mail your Registration Form and check to: NIRE, 4400 East-West Highway #24, Bethesda, MD 20814-4501.

Caution: Do not send credit card information via email.

Registration Form

AFREM Special Workshops Registration Form

We look forward to seeing you there!

Rob Scuka, Ph.D.
Executive Director
National Institute of Relationship Enhancement® 


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FW: Daily Meditation: True Intimacy



From: Henri Nouwen Society [mailto:maureen@henrinouwen.ccsend.com] On Behalf Of Henri Nouwen Society
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2015 5:08 AM
To: billandpatcoffin@verizon.net
Subject: Daily Meditation: True Intimacy


Henri Nouwen Society - Daily Meditation


True Intimacy

Human relationships easily become possessive. Our hearts so much desire to be loved that we are inclined to cling to the person who offers us love, affection, friendship, care, or support. Once we have seen or felt a hint of love, we want more of it. That explains why lovers so often bicker with each other. Lovers' quarrels are quarrels between people who want more of each other than they are able or willing to give.

It is very hard for love not to become possessive because our hearts look for perfect love and no human being is capable of that. Only God can offer perfect love. Therefore, the art of loving includes the art of giving one another space. When we invade one another's space and do not allow the other to be his or her own free person, we cause great suffering in our relationships. But when we give another space to move and share our gifts, true intimacy becomes possible.

- Henri J. M. Nouwen 

For further reflection ...

"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, and that you may be able to discern what is best..." - Ephesians 1: 9, 10 (NIV)

Comment on this Daily Meditation.

Join us this Lent as we reflect on Nouwen's "The Return of the Prodigal Son". Click here for more information.
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Text excerpts taken from Bread for the Journey, by Henri J.M. Nouwen, ©1997 HarperSanFrancisco. All Scripture from The Jerusalem Bible ©1966, 1967, and 1968 Darton, Longman & Todd and Doubleday & Co. Inc. Photo by V. Dobson. Scripture chosen by L. Yeskoo.


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Fwd: NARME Leadership Summit Speakers and More!/Health and Marriage: The Cortisol Connection

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Nat'l Assoc. for Relationship & Marriage Education (NARME) <julie@narme.org>
Date: Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 3:27 PM
Subject: NARME Leadership Summit Speakers and More!/Health and Marriage: The Cortisol Connection
To: billcoffin68@gmail.com

In This Issue
As I discussed in my last blog post, couples marrying today still face a substantial lifetime risk of divorce. Even if the risk drops to around 40 percent, that's a lot of divorce. Read More
Why 'Fifty Shades' Could Give Dangerous Message to Teens
Coming to a theater near you is Hollywood's long-awaited release of "Fifty Shades of Grey" - a movie that will undoubtedly bring the public's fascination with the original novel's tales of sadomasochism and bondage to a veritable climax.

 Read More 

9 Things Successful Couples Do Differently
1. They're not afraid to fight.
Oh yeah, successful couples definitely fight. Definitely. And they aren't afraid of it one bit. Because what successful couples know that most others don't is that fighting makes the little things go away. Read More

Smartphone App to Reduce Family Violence for Teens

Jacqueline's boyfriend was a great guy, her teen friends all crowed. Handsome, popular, outgoing. What a catch. She felt lucky.
Bad marriages can be sickening. Most people don't have to be convinced of this, but for those who do, several decades of studies offer plenty of proof. Even so, very little is known about exactly how marriage quality affects health.   Read More 
Hard Times for Working-Class America as Midlevel jobs, Marriage Both Hit Decline
Andrew J. Cherlin believes the American working class - made up of those with a high school diploma but no college degree - is falling on very hard times - a complicated combination of lack of jobs that provide a wage adequate to support family and cultural changes that include a decline in marriage among all but the college-educated. Read More 
In 1938 Harvard University began following 268 male undergraduate students and kicked off the longest-running longitudinal studies of human development in history. Read More 
Save the Dates for Upcoming NARME Webinars you Won't Want to Miss!
  • March 18th - Discernment Counseling for Couples on the Brink with Dr. Bill Doherty!
  • April 15th - Sneak Peek Behind the Scenes of the NARME Leadership Summit!
  • May 20th - Dr. Dan Siegel - The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are   
All Things Leadership Summit
Additional 5th Annual NARME Leadership Summit Speakers Announced!

Want to move your organization and your team to the level of Leadership that keeps you at the top of the game?  Don't miss the NARME Leadership Summit this June in Atlanta! The Summit will present a stellar speaker line-up of amazing people both in and out of our healthy marriage and relationship field!


Drs. Philip and Carolyn Cowan will be speaking on  Marrying Marriage and Fatherhood


Carolyn Pape Cowan, Professor of Psychology, Emerita at the University of California, Berkeley, is co-director of 3 longitudinal preventive intervention studies, and has published widely in the literatures on couple relationships, family transitions, father involvement, and preventive intervention. Dr. Cowan is co-editor of Fatherhood today: Men's changing role in the family (Wiley, 1988) and The family context of parenting in the child's adaptation to school Erlbaum, 2005) and co-author of When partners become parents: The big life change for couples (Erlbaum, 2000). Along with Marsha Kline Pruett and Kyle Pruett, Carolyn and Philip Cowan have been evaluating family interventions in the U.S., Canada, and most recently, the U.K.


Philip A. Cowan, Professor of Psychology, Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, served as Director of the Clinical Psychology Program and the Institute of Human Development. He has authored numerous scientific articles and Piaget with Feeling (Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, 1978), co-authored When partners become parents: The big life change for couples (Erlbaum, 2000), and co-edited four books and monographs, including Family Transitions (Erlbaum, 1991), and The family context of parenting in the child's adaptation to school (Erlbaum, 2005). Along with Marsha Kline Pruett and Kyle Pruett, Philip and Carolyn Cowan have been evaluating family interventions in the U.S., Canada, and most recently, the U.K.


Dr. Robert Franklin will speak on Crisis in the Village


Dr. Robert Franklin is the James T. and Berta R. Laney Professor of Moral Leadership at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.  He is president emeritus of Morehouse College where he served as the 10th president of the nation's largest private, liberal arts college for men.  He is the author of a number of books including Crisis in the Village: Restoring Hope in African American Communities.  He provides weekly commentary for the NPR program All Things Considered and for Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting Television.  Dr. Franklin graduated from Morehouse with a degree in political science and religion.  He holds ordination in two Christian denominations.  He earned a master of divinity degree in Christian social ethics and pastoral care from Harvard Divinity School and a doctorate in ethics and society and religion and the social sciences from the University of Chicago 


For more information about our speakers, click here.

NARME Leadership Summit Information

Leadership Summit Registration will open the first of March.


Mark your calendars! Looking forward to seeing you.  


The Summit Rate Sheet as well as hotel information and more is available on The 5th Annual NARME Leadership Summit page.


Several people have called asking questions about the Leadership Summit so we thought we would answer them here just in case you were wondering the same things.


Question: Is the Leadership Summit for everybody?


Answer:  If you are working to strengthening families, YES! We want everybody to come to the Summit.  The focus of this Summit is on how all of us can further the family strengthening movement.  Whether you have a federal grant, state grant or no grant funding at all,  everyone of us should be positioning for the future.  The plenary sessions and workshops are designed to help you personally and professionally move to the next level.


Question:  Will there be training in specific curricula at the Summit?


Answer: Because so many have been trained in curricula and some are in a state of transition, the NARME Board thought it best to make this gathering different from the past.  The goal is to help people/organizations be positioned for the future  - a rising tide lifts all boats.  The plenary sessions and workshops are being delivered by national thought leaders who will focus on areas that are designed to challenge you and be catalytic in nature.  We MUST galvanize as a movement.  We will return to the regular conference format in 2016.

How well do you know your significant other?

Not well enough, at least according to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal. More and more people are apparently employing private investigators to look into the backgrounds of their fiancés in order to decide whether to tie the knot. Read More 

Stay Connected

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Interested in joining NARME?

Nat'l Assoc. for Relationship & Marriage Education (NARME) |info@narme.org  | http://www.narme.org
P.O. Box 14946
Tallahassee, FL 32317

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Nat'l Assoc. for Relationship & Marriage Education (NARME) | P.O. Box 14946 | Tallahassee | FL | 32317