For Valentine's Day, Why Not Improve Your Relationship?

University at Buffalo workshops help couples maintain romantic partnerships

Release Date: February 5, 2003


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Forty-five percent of new marriages end in divorce and psychologists say relationship conflict is related directly to poor physical health, depression, parent-child conflict and behavior problems.

In February and March, the University at Buffalo Psychological Services Center will offer two three-hour workshops for people currently in a romantic relationship, whether married, partnered, living together or dating seriously. They may attend alone or with their partner.

The UB Psychological Services Center offers professional services by psychologists to anyone in Western New York and Southern Ontario, including group and individual relationship counseling.

It is part of the Close Relationships Consortium of UB's Department of Psychology, which houses one of the most active academic research groups in the United States dedicated to the study of the dynamics of intimate relationships.

The workshops will be offered from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Feb. 19 and 1-4 p.m. March 1 in 168 Park Hall on UB's North (Amherst) Campus.

On both days, two versions of the workshop will be presented: one for couples attended by both partners and one for individuals attending without their partner. Registrants should choose to attend on only one of those days.

Free parking is available right outside the building. The per-person fee of $15-$35 will be assessed on a sliding-scale basis and the fee will be discounted if postmarked by Feb. 12.

For registration information, call the UB Psychological Services Center, 645-3697.

Why is such therapy necessary in romantic relationships?

Center director Beth Cohen, Ph.D., says that successful couples say that their relationships are successful not because of romantic love, but because of their commitment and hard work.

"Not surprisingly, the No. 1 relationship problem reported by couples and counselors alike is communication," she says.

"Regardless of the cause of problems, however, these kinds of difficulties usually involve arguments that result in increased blood pressure, cardiovascular stress and alterations in the immune systems," says Cohen.

"It also frequently causes depression and provokes other emotional distress," she says, "and contributes to increased emotional and behavioral problems in the children of troubled couples."

Cohen notes that her staff offers a variety of therapies proven to help reduce relationship stress, depression; anxiety/panic, self-esteem and obsessive compulsive disorders, conflict resolution and stress management through psychosocial education and skills training.

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