The Creating Lasting Family Connections Marriage Enhancement Program (CLFCMEP) is a community-based program for couples in which one or both partners have been physically and/or emotionally distanced because of relational difficulties or separation due to incarceration, military service, substance use, or other circumstances.
Relying largely on cognitive change and skills training, the goal of CLFCMEP is to build and/or strengthen partners' relationship skills by providing structured opportunities for participants to develop greater capacity for communication, conflict resolution, emotional awareness and expression, commitment, and trust.
Two certified trainers implement the module-based program with a group of 4 to 15 couples through one of the following implementation options: 1) an 8- to 10-session format (with 2-hour sessions); 2) a 2- to 3-day weekend retreat format; or 3) an 18- to 20-session format (with 2-hour sessions), which includes all modules. CLFCMEP includes three instructional, interactive, and standalone training modules on the following three skill areas:
1. Marriage Enhancement. This module consists of 12 marriage-focused, guided exercises designed to strengthen marriage through the learning of open, non-defensive communication skills. Partners develop a shared vision, recognize both positive and negative traits, understand partner needs, and practice active listening, compassion, and fair fighting.
2. Getting Real. This module is designed to enhance marital relationships through clear and honest communication and the setting of boundaries through guided role plays.
3. Developing Positive Parental Influences. This module is intended for couples interested in positively influencing their children or other family members. Participants are expected to develop a greater awareness of facts and feelings about drug use and dependence; to review effective approaches to prevention; and to develop a practical understanding of intervention, referral procedures, and treatment options. This module also examines attitudes toward alcohol and drug issues, the dynamics of chemical dependence, and its impact on marriages and families.
Case management is a critical component of CLFCMEP, and program implementers are strongly encouraged to have an understanding of how to assess the needs of participants and link them to additional support services in the community.