Marriage and relationship counselling goes digital

02 SEP 2021

Allchurches Trust’s Hope Beyond funding has helped ‘Marriage Care’ to look to a digital future after supporting the counselling service to move online during the height of the pandemic.

A Hope Beyond grant of £15,800 helped Marriage Care to streamline its online booking process for its relationship counselling and marriage preparation and provide virtual support for couples struggling through the pandemic.
 
The ‘Delivering Differently’ project enabled Marriage care to train its volunteer relationship counsellors and marriage preparation facilitators in how best to work with clients online. Thanks to the project, 17 news counsellors have been trained, 14 of which have started supervised work with clients, bringing the total number of active volunteer counsellors to 113 – a number which has helped significantly with a surge in demand for counselling support.
 
Mark and Jenny’s story

Jenny liked everything to be ‘just so’ and ended up taking most of the household responsibilities upon herself so that they were ‘done properly’, but then felt resentful of her husband, Mark. Through counselling Jenny learned to ‘let go of rightness’ and Mark learned to assert himself and take risks. They are now happy together, living in a more equal partnership.
 
‘Delivering Differently’ also helped to support Marriage preparation, with 14 experienced course facilitators trained in the delivery of online sessions, expanding the existing team of online facilitators and enabling 788 engaged couples to access the marriage preparation services during the pandemic.
 
Marriage Preparation feedback

“We were able to discuss topics that we hadn't discussed or considered in depth together before.” 

“It gave us better clarity and problem-solving skills.” 

“I am better prepared for life together.”

The amazing Marriage Care volunteers contributed over 56,000 hours of their time during 2020 to 2021, and with guidelines suggesting face-to-face sessions will only be likely to resume in 2022, their online training has been vital for many struggling couples.
 
Moving to the future, Marriage Care will create a new hybrid system offering online and face-to-face meetings and will look to update their website so that it is fit for purpose and can respond to the changing demands of post Covid support.
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