My partner is not sure about premarital or relationship counseling. What can I say to get him/her on board?
Not everyone is familiar with or understands the benefits of premarital and relationship counseling and education. Some may even grow up in a family where seeking outside help is seen as weak or stigmatized. Premarital and relationship counseling is proactive in nature. The goal is to set you up for success and focus on the strengths and positives of your relationship; it is not only about fixing something that is wrong or talking about what is problematic (one of the 4 Myths of Premarital Counseling).
That is not to say that we will not talk about challenges or difficulties in your relationship, but those will not be the sole focus of our sessions. I work from a strengths-based perspective, and I believe that highlighting what works in your relationship also provides the foundational skills to help you get through relationship challenges. That being said, my recommendation to couples is that for premarital or relationship counseling to be truly effective, both partners should be engaged in the process. If your partner is not on board, it may not be the right time, but keep in mind that PREPARE/ENRICH can also be used after marriage.
I heard that premarital counseling is religiously-based. My partner and I are not religious. Is PREPARE/ENRICH appropriate for us?
Many premarital programs are offered through the church or in a religious setting. PREPARE/ENRICH was originally a Christian-based assessment but now offers a non-denominational version that does not focus on religion. I am not religiously affiliated, and while there is a section on spirituality, it is not a focus of my sessions. If you are looking for a religious premarital counseling program, I am happy to refer you to an appropriate resource.
Which package do you recommend?
I recommend the Full package for dating and premarital couples because it allows you to go through the full assessment and cover the broadest range of topics. The Core package is a shorter version of the Full package and includes four (4) sessions covering Relationship Dynamics, Personal Stress, the Personality Assessment, Communication, Conflict Resolution, Partner Style and Habits, Financial Management, and your choice of one (1) topic from the following: Leisure Activities, Sexual Expectations, Friends and Family, Spiritual Beliefs, or Relationship Roles.
PREPARE/ENRICH is an incredibly versatile assessment tool, and I use it with dating, engaged, and newlywed couples. You can find more information on the Packages/Rates page.
We are interested in learning more but are not sure if PREPARE/ENRICH is the right program. Do we need to make an immediate commitment?
To ensure that PREPARE/ENRICH is the right program for you and we are a good fit, I offer a free 20-minute introductory session. I take time during that session to get to know you, explain PREPARE/ENRICH and the process, and answer any questions you have. You are investing time and money into our sessions, and should you choose me as your premarital counselor, I want to make sure that you have the best possible experience and leave feeling like your time was well-spent. You can book your free intro session here.
How long does the PREPARE/ENRICH assessment take to complete?
Couples have reported anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, but most report in the range of 20-40 minutes to take the assessment.
What is the format of the assessment?
The assessment is ~250 questions, and the responses are on a 5-point scale, from 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree), with 3 as Undecided. If you answer 3 too many times, the system will prompt you to choose another answer 🙂
Do we take the PREPARE/ENRICH assessment together?
No. I will send you each a link to the assessment and you will take it separately.
How long should we wait between scheduling each session?
I generally recommend scheduling the sessions two to three weeks apart, which gives you time to do the Couples Workbook that goes along with the PREPARE/ENRICH program. The Workbook has activities and worksheets that correspond with the topics we will discuss in session. It is not mandatory, but couples who have done the Workbook have said they have found it a helpful supplement and a way to keep the conversation going between our sessions.
What happens if we run over or don’t finish discussing our assessment results in five sessions?
If you choose to do the Full package and we do not finish going through the assessment in six sessions, you can schedule additional sessions. The cost of an additional 50-minute session is $150.
Do you provide ongoing sessions once we have completed PREPARE/ENRICH?
I am available as a support to my couples at all stages of their relationship, and I encourage follow-up sessions, whether quarterly or however often you would like to come in. If you need more intensive couples therapy, I can refer you to a therapist to help you focus on the particular issues that you would like to address.