Marital First Responder

With special guest presenter Dr Charles Sim, SJ, Ph.D.



16 October 2019


ACU Melbourne Campus

ACU Executive Education together with Williams Road Family Therapy Centre and the Australian Association of Family Therapy are pleased to offer a stunning series of engaging and dynamic workshops specifically designed to strengthen your family therapy skill sets, delivered by world class experts and practitioners.

Workshop 2

Marital First Responder (MFR)

If a friend or a relative were to approach you to talk about his/her strained marital/ intimate relationship, how would you respond to that person?  How would go about having this conversation to help your friend or relative better manage the strained intimate/ marital relationship?

Professor William Doherty's (University of Minnesota) research shows that individuals experiencing relationship issues often turn to friends and family members first for a listening ear and advice.  However, these individuals (confidents) often feel ill-equipped to assist those who have these marital issues.  Professor Doherty has designed and developed a training program to empower "first responders" to prevent marital issues from further deterioration.

According to the designer, the uniqueness of this program is that it trains ordinary people to aid others within their existing social and family network.  Furthermore, the program addresses the "common mistakes that people make when being confidants or supporters."

In this training workshop, participants will learn the seven essential skills needed to help individuals with marital issues.  These seven skills can be captured in two acronyms: LEAP and CAR.  Participants will learn LEAP:  to Listen, Empathize, Affirm and offer Perspective.  And the advanced skills are taught using the acronym CAR: Challenge, Advice and suggest Resources. Thus, participants will learn to discern when they should listen, give guidance or direct friends and family members to seek professional counselling help.

Based on Professor Doherty's observation and post-training evaluation, the training workshop helped increase in confidence, knowledge and skill level among the participants, and they also reported a positive impact on their friendships.  Thus "Martial First Responder" (MFR) training workshop is a great tool for using the power of existing personal networks to create healthier, happier and more stable relationships.

This one-day training workshop is suitable for graduate students in counselling, family therapy and social work, including counsellors / therapists involved in couple or marital therapy, as well as individuals who like to provide better personal help to friends and family members in emotional marital distress.

Registration fees

Those attending the Pan Pacific Family Therapy Conference: $220
Non-Conference participants: $275

Full Program

Download the full program (PDF, 587KB)

Contact Us

For more information or to discuss this stunning series of engaging and dynamic workshops, please contact:

Greg Baynie
Senior Consultant - Organisational Development
T:  +61 2 9739 2837
M: 0477 754 152


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