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Information for Therapists

The OurRelationship program is available in both English and Spanish; it has been adapted for opposite-gender couples, same-gender couples, and individuals whose romantic partners are unable or unwilling to participate in the program. On average, it takes couples approximately 7 hours to complete the program. The majority of activities are completed separately by partners, with the exception of a conjoint activity at the end of each phase. In these conjoint activities, individual partners’ responses from earlier individual activities are displayed to allow couples to share and discuss what they had written into the program.

The OurRelationship program is an adaptation of Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy (IBCT; Christensen et al., 2020), which is has been shown to be effective in the largest and longest randomized clinical trial of couple therapy to date (Christensen et al., 2010). Broadly, IBCT blends traditional behavioral change methods with acceptance-based techniques to help couples interrupt and amend their disruptive patterns of communication and behavior. IBCT posits that relationship distress occurs as a result of repetitive, negative patterns of interaction that dictate how couples engage in, navigate, and recover from conflict (known as the polarization process). While distinct in important ways, IBCT has several similarities to Emotion Focused Couple Therapy and Enhanced Cognitive Behavioral Couple Therapy, including Gottman’s approaches to couple therapy (Benson, McGinn, & Christensen, 2012).

 

Effectiveness of the
OurRelationship Program

The OurRelationship program has been shown to improve relationship functioning in four randomized clinical trials involving over 2,500 couples – more couples than has been included in any randomized trial of couple therapy. The OurRelationship program has been tested in both nationally representative samples (Doss et al., 2016; Roddy, Rothman, & Doss, 2018) and in samples of lower-income couples (Doss et al., 2020). Compared to couples in a waitlist control group, couples in the OurRelationship program experienced significantly greater improvements in relationship satisfaction, relationship confidence and emotional support, as well as greater reductions in break-up potential, conflict, relationship negatives, and intimate partner violence.

Participating in the OurRelationship program also results in significant improvements in various domains of partners’ individual functioning including depressive and anxiety symptoms, perceived stress, anger, problematic alcohol use, perceived health, insomnia, quality of life and work functioning, with notably larger effect sizes for those who started the program in the distressed range (Doss et al., 2016; Roddy, Rhoades, et al., 2020). Gains in both relationship and individual functioning were maintained one year following the completion of the program (Doss et al., 2019; Roddy, Knopp, et al., 2020). These findings also hold in other subpopulations such as same-gender couples (Hatch et al., 2020) and military/veteran couples (Georgia Salivar et al., in press).

Two Ways Therapists Can Utilize the OurRelationship Program

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