Specific comments regarding where and how their services could be of benefit to prospective FBCO applicants:
The first way in which we would propose to partner with prospective FBCO applicants would be to offer free telephone consultation in which we would discuss your goals and concerns and together with you design responsive options.
Please feel welcome to telephone or email us to discuss how one or more elements of our program might be adapted to fit your particular needs.
The following plan outlines a full marriage education program that would incorporate all of the Power of Two offerings. Please feel free to consider utilizing one, several, or all of these options.
Level I: Online Learning Games
The online electronic game version of Power of Two can serve as a fun introduction to marriage skills, can provide the main substance of a learning program, or can be used as an adjunct to other marriage learning activities.
The computer games provide an enticing and effective yet non-threatening introduction to the skills they will be learning. This introduction is very important because many of the potential clients who most need these skills lack motivation to learn them, or are in general afraid of education programs.
For many clients, simply playing the games will teach many skills. For instance, participants in our beta testing commented that:
“Playing the game made me realize that I have choice points. Once I get frustrated I don’t have to just keep going. I can pause and choose what to do next.”
“The best part about the game for me was hearing the commentaries from Dr. Craig. I loved that. It was like getting to be a fly on the wall in a marriage counseling session. I learned a lot.”
“Hearing the couple in the game talking about their money problems by getting mad at each other, and then hearing what happened when they talked quietly, I realized how bad it is the way I get agitated so quickly with my wife. I could see that tone of voice makes a huge difference.”
Most important, playing these games provides an opportunity for clients to hear couples using positive communication skills, which is an essential first step in learning the language of healthy marriage interaction.
We are estimating that a program of six game episodes would be optimal for clients to play before proceeding to the other program components. With this foundation, they will be motivated to learn to do the skills, because they will have seen and heard the difference that skills make. Also, they will not feel overwhelmed by the many skills that are taught in the workshops because each of the skills will already be familiar to them from the games.
Level II: Marriage Skills Workshops and Workbooks
The full 12-session course, with the accompanying workbook for each participating client, could be offered for participants who have the ability to stick with a weekly, three-month course of learning.
Weekend workshops are a second format option.
A third option is to divide the course into segments by topics (basics of collaborative dialogue, conflict resolution, shared decision making, anger control, etc) and offer each of these as a stand-alone seminar, or on a rotating or on-going basis.
The skill-building activities of the workshops, which are taught in interactive, participatory group game formats, can be incorporated into the sessions of existing groups. For instance, a new-moms group leader might incorporate marriage skill learning exercises into on-going group sessions.
Note that these sessions also can be taught to one individual or couple at a time. A group format is not necessary, but does make the learning more fun, and more cost-effective.
Note also that the workshops are designed with skill drills that intentionally limit client self-disclosure in order to maintain confidentiality, and to keep the sessions skill-oriented, not therapy. This dimension is particularly important when the workshops are hosted by institutions like churches in which members interact with each other outside of the workshops.
The Power of Two book and workbook offer homework learning-consolidation opportunities. The workshops are fully effective without homework, but for participants who do enjoy reading and filling in workbook practice sheets, homework definitely enhances the learning experience.
Level III: Advanced Marriage Skills Workshops
These sessions would offer skill consolidation for clients who are already familiar with the basic skills from Level I, Level II, or both experiences. In these sessions clients would help each other. The sessions would give them a safe forum for re-enacting and constructively resolving actual conflicts that have been troubling them at home.
These may work best if the attendees sign up for a series of sessions, so the group bonds together. However, an on-going group session to which members each attend sporadically, especially when they are having problems, can also work. The meetings in this regard would be essentially like AA meetings in format.
We would recommend that the leader for this portion of the program be a trained mental health professional with experience both as a couple therapist and as a marriage educator. Power of Two would be glad to design continuing education training for this phase of the program’s implementation.
In sum, our offerings are designed to offer comprehensive and yet flexible and fun ways of conveying the skills for marriage success. We look forward to discussing our various marriage education options with you,and particularly to showing you, via telephone and internet, our new online learning games.