Dr Jack Dominian MBE recognised that his psychiatric patients were increasingly experiencing unhappy and dissolved marriages. Along with four trustees, he set up the Marriage Research Centre charity (now OnePlusOne) in 1971.
We brought together leading academics and health professionals to study the characteristics of people going through divorce and address the fact that relationship counselling therapy was not meeting needs. Seeking help at ‘crisis point’ is often too late.
Our extensive ground breaking research and analysis discovered how to reach those in early stages of distress and relationship quality reducing. We considered the barriers to seeking help and looked at accessibility, availability, affordability and also stigma.
We recognised that people were turning to GPs, midwives and other trusted professionals at early stages, particularly during the transition to parenthood. Yet the professionals did not know how to help. So we trained them.
The Family Law Act and Children Act was shaking up parliament and the courts. Yet, divorce rates continued to rise.
We were at the heart of discussions with the government, other organisations and policy makers to raise the issue of supporting families early and reducing conflict alongside legislation change.
Our studies contributed to the evidence base for developing early interventions with couples, individuals and spouses. Early intervention is now widely accepted as integral to improving child outcomes.
There was a huge push to improve the nation’s parenting skills but we knew that if you did not assist the couple relationship too, children would still suffer.
Investment in relationship support and our Brief Encounters programme became an important part of helping families. By greatly enhancing listening skills, we could improve relationship interactions.
Individuals, parents and families are accessing information digitally but there was limited online relationship support available.
We turned our decades of research and evidence skills to create behaviour change interventions online.
Click Relationships is the first virtual relationship support site. It combines information articles, courses and a listening room to teach relationship support skills.