The workshop will be taught by the graduate faculty of Lee’s marriage and family therapy program, Drs. Trevor Milliron, Kirstee Williams, Eddie Stone and Doyle Goff. All four of the instructors are full-time professors in Lee’s Graduate Marriage and Family Therapy program. All four of the professors are licensed therapists, who together have more than 70 years of experience working with couples and families.
According to divorcerate.org, “Divorce rates all across the globe have been rising rapidly owing to certain problems like incompatibility between couples, infidelity issues, lack of trust and understanding, and financial pressures.”
The Tennessee Department of Health reported Bradley County had 697 marriages in 2011 and 493 divorces in that same year. Projected rates for the nation estimate between 40 to 50 percent of all marriages will end through divorce.
Milliron, the director of graduate programs in counseling at Lee, explained, “About a third of new marriages will end in less than 10 years. Over the last 15 years, there has been tremendous breakthroughs in our understanding of why marriages succeed and fail. We even have assessments that can predict later divorce with an 80 to 85 percent accuracy.
“While we can’t guarantee anyone a successful marriage, our goal with this workshop is to help give new couples the information and the tools they need to help their marriage to be what they want it to be. Many states including Tennessee agree with this approach, which is why these states offer a discount on the marriage license to couples that get premarital counseling.”
The Marriage for a Lifetime workshop is designed to help couples of all types recognize and resolve conflicts and improve their relationships, according to Milliron.
“The Saturday workshop will be a fun, interactive day where the couples will learn and practice ways of connecting and communicating,” Milliron said. “After the workshop, each couple will complete the most sophisticated premarital assessment in existence, based on the results of over half a million couples. Each couple will then have four private and confidential counseling sessions with our MFT Graduate Interns giving them feedback on their assessment and customizing approaches they learned from the workshop for their own particular situation.”
The Marriage for a Lifetime workshop is the first premarital workshop that Lee’s MFT program has offered. It comes at a time when couples serious about the success of their relationship are needing it the most. Experts say preparing for the wedding of your dreams is no different than preparing for the marriage of your dreams. Both take time and effort. But a wonderful wedding and a lasting marriage are worth the effort.
“Although we can do great work with couples that are recovering from problems, the best time to help a couple is before the problems start,” Milliron said. “We hope this workshop will become a reoccurring resource to the local community as well as a training model for our students who come from all around the world.”
The cost is $100 per couple and includes lunch, a comprehensive assessment and four follow-up couple sessions with Lee graduate interns. Couples will also receive a certificate that can be used for a $60 discount for a marriage license in most counties in Tennessee. Because the need for such a workshop is so great, Milliron said, “We are offering this workshop at our cost to any couple that wants to participate. Financial assistance is available to those that can’t afford the $100 fee.”
Although the Marriage for a Lifetime workshop is designed exclusively for couples, Milliron added, “We do offer individual, couples and family counseling sessions to the public for anyone who wants to work on their relationships.”
Space is limited. For further information or to reserve a spot, contact Beth Bulow at 423-614-8124.