Therapists are perennially frustrated by how long it takes for troubled couples to seek professional help.
But who is helping those marriages now? It’s…. friends and family! These folks offer trusted ears but they may lack the confidence or effectiveness as first responders with sometimes complex relationship issues. Heck, even when therapists are in friend or family mode (not therapist mode), they often struggle with how to be helpful to people they love. It’s not surprising that the therapists who have taken the Marital First Responders Boot Camp have reported learning and benefiting in their personal lives (that includes us, Bill and Elizabeth.)
So what does Marital First Responders training do?
We are capitalizing on the power of existing social networks to help people before their relationship problems are serious and to refer them to therapists like you when the problems need professional help. We help confidants avoid mistakes that can undermine marriages and hurt friendships, and maintain boundaries when supporting people with chronic marital problems. (Boundaries with friends and family can be extra hard for therapists who help marriages for a living, and some day we could create a whole program on that.)
We help marital first responders be more intentional, skilled, and confident when a friend, coworker, or family member confides about relationship struggles.
We have done these trainings in secular settings, religious settings, and with all personality types, with men, women, widows, divorced people, young people and old. The most exciting training (for us) was at a prison diversion center for men with drug abuse problems–they share a lot of relationship drama with one another were eager to be helpful with better boundaries.