The Marriage Checkup Practitioner's Guide: Promoting Lifelong Relationship Health
Although relationship science has shown that relationship health is as real as mental and physical health, and that relationship health has powerful effects on mental health, physical health, and the health and welfare of children, relationship healthcare remains decades behind dental and physical healthcare. This is especially true when it comes to regular preventative care and early intervention.
Like all the systems within our bodies, our relationships require attention in order to thrive. The Marriage Checkup (MC) is one way clinicians can create spaces where partners can, for a moment, leave the busywork of daily life behind and reenter the intimate space between them with loving attention.
The MC is a short, two-session, assessment and feedback marital health check designed to help couples confront their problems on an annual basis. It provides partners with a regular forum in which to examine that for which they are most grateful and that about which they are genuinely concerned.
Designed to foster and deepen intimacy, the MC provides couples with feedback from which they can discover new ideas about how to best serve the health of their marriage and the intimacy of their connection.
In this book, James V. Cordova describes how clinicians can encourage partners to maintain their marital health by attending to their strengths, managing their areas of conflict gracefully, and regularly providing the relationship with loving attention. He also shows how to prevent marital health deterioration by attuning partners to corrosive patterns in their relationship.
Useful early interventions are described and illustrated generously with case examples. Therapists working with partners who are already severely distressed when they present for their Marriage Checkup will learn how to motivate them to seek out more extensive tertiary care.
- What Is the Marriage Checkup?
- Basics of Working With Couples in Brief Intervention
- Adapting Therapeutic Assessment, Motivational Interviewing, and Integrative Couple Therapy to a Marriage Checkup
- Goals of Motivational Feedback
- Conducting the Marriage Checkup Assessment Session
- Writing the Feedback Report
- Conducting the Feedback Session
- Menu for Addressing Common Areas of Concern
- Menu for Presenting Couples' Strengths
- Findings and Future Directions for Marriage Checkup Research
About the Author
James V. Cordova, PhD, is a professor of psychology and the director of the Center for Couples and Family Research and the Marriage Checkup Program at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Dr. Cordova is a leading figure in the field of couples research and therapy. He has been conducting research and publishing in the area of couple therapy, intimacy, and the promotion of marital health and actively training couples therapists for more than 15 years.
He is the developer of the Marriage Checkup, a motivational interviewing approach to the promotion of marital health and has completed work as the principal investigator of a $1 million National Institutes of Health grant investigating the efficacy of his Marriage Checkup as the marital health equivalent of the annual physical health checkup.
Dr. Cordova is currently co-investigator with Dr. Kristi Coop Gordon on a $2.3 million grant from the US Administration of Children and Families to disseminate the Marriage Checkup in primary care settings serving low-income couples.
His work has been covered extensively in the popular media, including the New York Times Science section, the Washington Post, CNN, the Rachael Ray Show, and Good Morning America.
He received his doctorate from the University of Washington in Seattle, where he studied with leading couples researchers Neil Jacobson and John Gottman. He conducted the first empirical study of integrative couple therapy with Neil Jacobson and Andrew Christensen in 10998.
He is the author of a self-help book based on his research, The Marriage Checkup: A Scientific Program for Sustaining and Strengthening Marital Health.
Cordova's book is one step in the right direction of supporting successful marriages.
An excellent, accessible, no-nonsense guide, highly recommended for relationship professionals who are considering broadening the services they offer.
—Midwest Book Review