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- Marriage & Couples
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- Competence
- Self-Helpgroup

Partnerschule: exploring something new with the old partner is better than make something "old" with a new one - a process to clarify and master family crises

The situation of couples and families

The insecurity of organizing a relationship and the desire to avoid  negative effects of separation and divorce leads a lot of people to marriage and family counseling agencies. There is obviously a longing for answers, how to manage a relationship, what is right and what is wrong and what kind of competence is needed today to succeed in a relationship.

Postmodern People
Postmodern people are part of a social system which often leads to subtle pressure. First of all there is the individualization, which gives everyone the possibility for autonomy, emancipation and freedom in a wider sense. The result can be a lack of solidarity in a community. Furthermore the consummation of media leads to a loss of aboriginal experiences: for example, the woods are not experienced trough an actual walk through it but trough watching TV. The same applies for experiences of interpersonal relationships. Instead of keeping a good relationship with the neighbors trough social events, arguments or solidarity, these interactions are experienced second hand via TV or Videos of soap operas.

Former social structures are broken and refer the individual back to himself
Social structures of different frameworks, like the work-organizations or the Christian-associations have lost quite a bit of their importance. We have come across a boundlessness of sensual choices and  an inflation of values. This inflation of values causes uncertainties, like the joined living situation of men and women in an abundance of socially accepted ways to living as a family.

The disires of clients

An analysis of expectancies, which clients have expressed in marriage and family counseling offices has been recently published. (Saßmann & Klann 2002). Some of the results were were quite surprising. Clients desire more support from their close social environment. 89% of the interviewed clients in marriage and family counseling offices desired to have more contact to friends and 59% more contact to their neighbors. Although goals and desires  for contacts exist they seem to be difficult to establish. 61% expressed that they are prepared to get involved in a self-help group.

Since the beginning of the ninetees, research on couple counseling shows pretty accurate, which kind of problems couples are ready to talk about in sessions. (Klann &Hahlweg 1994, Klann 2002). The main topics are: getting closer to the partner (65%), Sexuality (64%), Communication/mutual talks (59%), demands of the partner (57%), missing acceptance/support of the partner 54%) "Non-marital relationships" are located on place 19 (Klann 2002, S.98).

Effects of seperation and divorce
A lot of research has been made on the results of separation and divorce. A recent overview can be find by Hahlweg and Bodenmann (Grau & Bierhoff 2003 S. 193 bis S.198). They cite of a research that says, that for example children of divorced families have a 33% higher mortality risk and that their life expectancy is around four years less than the one of stabil families.(a.a.O.S.195) The main factors for life satisfaction, were love and partnership and family, their positiv outcome the main source of happiness in life and stable body and soul conditions. (S. 192).

The challenge

Regarding the consequences for the clients and their families it is necessary to adjust the marital counseling to a concept that transfers competences for relationships to change the emotional quality to a more positive one and to ensure a more life satisfying relationship.

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