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Latest news from the Relationships Alliance March 2014

By opo_webmaster, 25 March 2014 Strengthening relationships


  • Parental Conflict

    OPO’s latest publication ‘Parental Conflict: Outcomes and Interventions for Children and Families’ examines the differences between ‘destructive’ and ‘constructive’ conflict, how both kinds affect children, and why some children are more adversely affected than others. It features the latest evidence on how conflict impacts on child physiology and interventions to help couples in conflict.It shows that conflict can affect family life by influencing the way couples parent, as well as how children understand and make sense of this conflict. Destructive conflict such as sulking, walking away, slamming doors or making children the focus of an argument can have a detrimental impact on their development. Children exposed to such conflict between parents are at a greater risk of a range of negative outcomes including social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. However, children react better when parents can relate to each other more positively during arguments, and when conflicts are resolved.To purchase the publication go to the Policy Press website
  • Splitting Up? Put Kids First

    OPO’s new innovative free online service is the first parenting plan that helps couples communicate and make arrangements about who will be seeing the children in a business-like way. The service is available 24 hours a day, there’s no need to book an appointment or go on a waiting list before help is available.Latest government figures show that more than half (52%) of parents said they find it hard to access the support they need when they separate. Figures show that there are a quarter of a million separated parents in Britain and the number of single parents with dependent children in 2012 was recorded as just under two million. Research shows that women considering splitting up with their partners will frequently seek legal advice before they make a move to end the relationship. This service is designed to help people settle arrangements without the stress of legalSplitting Up? Put Kids First is available in Welsh as well as English and has been created to Double A accessibility standard so people with visual impairment can use it. Try Splitting Up? Put Kids First.
  • Edith Dominian Memorial LectureOnePlusOne’s Edith Dominian Memorial lecture, held biennially, serves as a platform to present innovative research to academics, researchers, policy makers, practitioners, opinion formers and the media to stimulate conversations and new ways of thinking about family relationships and how to support them in modern society.This year Professor George Vaillant, an American Psychiatrist and Principal Investigator of the longest longitudinal study of human development ever undertaken, will be our key speaker. Professor Vaillant will be discussing the study and his most recent book Triumphs of Experience: The Men of the Harvard Grant Study, covering the value (and challenges) of longitudinal research in understanding adult development, the importance of relationships to physical and mental health and the significance of social aptitude to successful ageing. If you would like more information please contact Sarah


  • Relate launches ‘Being Parents Apart’ campaign for separated parentsIn January, Relate launched Being Parents Apart – a campaign offering guidance and support to separating and separated parents. The aim is to make sure that children and young people affected by separation are able to cope with any heartache and changes in the best way possible. To help grab headlines at launch, we revealed that 58% of separated parents don’t believe in a good separation. We also provided tips for parents on how to explain separation to their children. The campaign also involves an art competition for children to depict their favourite family moment. Being Parents Apart has already had 104 media mentions, and will continue through the summer. The second ‘peak’ is expected in May when Relate will hold a parliamentary reception to launch a policy report into separation and reward winners of the art competition.  For more information, go to
  • Relate launches new national websiteAfter months of hard work, the new Relate website went live in January. Its user-friendly look and feel will help people to understand more about what we can offer both online and offline. The accuracy and design of the map tool has been improved, with a new filtering feature so potential clients can find and contact their nearest Centre or Outpost more easily. See the new site at
  • Relate publishes report on mediationIn January, Relate published Engaging both parties in mediation within a changing funding climate.  In the report, mediation staff in Relate Centres describe the challenges of engaging both parties in mediation and the impact of changes in legal aid funding. It shows a dramatic drop in the number of publically funded Mediation, Information and Assessment Meetings and in mediation starts since the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 came into effect last year.
  • All Party Parliamentary Group for Strengthening Couple RelationshipsA three-way meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Groups for Strengthening Couple Relationships, Sure Start Children’s Centres, and Conception to Age 2 – The First 1001 Days took place on Tuesday 11th March in Parliament. Jointly-chaired by Andrew Selous MP and Andrea Leadsom MP, the meeting focused on the role of children’s centres in supporting couple relationships, as well as couple relationships in the early years generally. See here for details of presentations and discussion.

The Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships


  • All Party Parliamentary Group for Strengthening Couple RelationshipsA three-way meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Groups for Strengthening Couple Relationships, Sure Start Children’s Centres, and Conception to Age 2 – The First 1001 Days took place on Tuesday 11th March in Parliament. Jointly-chaired by Andrew Selous MP and Andrea Leadsom MP, the meeting focused on the role of children’s centres in supporting couple relationships, as well as couple relationships in the early years generally. See details of presentations and discussion.
  • TCCR chosen to deliver new project offering free therapeutic services for parentsThe Department of Work and Pensions has selected the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships (TCCR), partnering with the London Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS), to deliver a new project that will offer free therapeutic services for parents caught up in intractable conflict and endless litigation. Read details of the free therapeutic services for parents.
  • New TCCR briefing on troubled familiesTCCR has recently published a new policy briefing on troubled families. Helping families in trouble through the Parents as Partners programme describes how this fully evaluated, evidence-based group work programme for parental couples (using the work of Professors Carolyn and Philip Cowan) can help hard-to-reach families and offers chaotic and vulnerable families a chance to develop and sustain better family relationships; adding the capacity, the briefing argues, to concentrate on the parental couple brings a new and profoundly helpful dimension to the work of the troubled families programme as they endeavour to help families change. Read the briefing on troubled families.
  • New video seminar on the transition to parenthoodDr Christopher Clulow and Professors Carolyn and Philip Cowan discuss the important topic of Supporting Partners Becoming Parents. During the discussion, the presenters address the topic through a series of questions, including How important is the relationship between parents for child development?; How do children affect the relationship between their parents?; and What are the implications for practice? Drawing on their extensive experience in the field, together with developments in research to support parents in the transition to parenthood, this video seminar will be invaluable to all CAMHS Practitioners in their work with children, young people and their families. To watch the transition to parenthood video.
  • Health Committee Inquiry on CAMHSTCCR recently submitted a response to the Health Committee Inquiry on CAMHS, in which the charity outlined significant concerns about the quality of work currently being carried out by CAMH services where an understanding of the impact of parental couple relationship quality on children’s mental health and wellbeing has not been incorporated into frontline work; see our response here.
  • Psychoanalytic Couple Therapy: Foundations of Theory and PracticeTCCR published this exciting new book in conjunction with the International Psychotherapy Institute in Washington which is a comprehensive statement about psychoanalytic work with couples from an international perspective.Drawing on collaborative video seminars between the two organisations, it outlines current theoretical debates and contemporary clinical practice. TCCR senior staff Mary Morgan, Dr David Hewison, Pierre Cachia, Dr Damian McCann, Christopher Vincent, Susanna Abse and Dr Christopher Clulow all contributed chapters.This book is both an advanced text for therapists and a primer for new students of couple psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Its twenty-eight chapters cover the major ideas underlying the application of psychoanalysis to couple therapy, many clinical illustrations of cases and problems in various dimensions of the work. The international group of authors comes from the International Psychotherapy Institute based in Washington, DC, and the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships (TCCR) in London. The result is a richly international perspective that nonetheless has theoretical and clinical coherence because of the shared vision of the authors.

Marriage Care

  • Marriage Care National Training event Milton KeynesOn 22nd/23rd March, 160 of Marriage Care’s volunteer practitioners and administration came together for 24 hours training and continuing professional development. Practitioners were able to attend a range of workshops including implementation of the domestic abuse protocol, how to fit emotionally focussed therapy with other models of counselling, new material in our ‘Preparing Together’ marriage preparation course, and new content for those delivering our FOCCUS marriage preparation. Those supporting our interventions with valuable administration in our 52 centres had workshops on financial processes, social media and new developments in fundraising. Alongside this training were more informal opportunities to meet new people, renew old friendships and affirmation of the difference our volunteers are making to relationships in our communities – together with a bit of fun!

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