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Handouts & questionnaires for couples, marriage, and parenting

Here are a series of questionnaires and handouts on couples and also on parenting.  

Intimate bond measure scale & scoring handout page 1 & page 2 - this is the scale I use most often when assessing quality of couple relationships.  I often get people to score the IBM both as they are currently actually experiencing their relationship and also as they would ideally like it to be.  Obviously the discrepancies between actual and ideal answers to the various questions provide a potential rich source for discussion and for change intentions.  In couples' therapy it's reasonably straightforward to get both partners to fill in this scale.  Sometimes when working with individual clients, I will ask them to get their partner to fill in IBM for how they experience my client in their relationship.  Sometimes, in more "delicate" situations, I will simply ask my client to fill in the IBM guessing how their partner would score them.  The scoring handouts, I usually print out as 2-slides-to-a-page Powerpoint handouts.  Page 1 provides a useful scoring grid, so that one can see how one scores in comparison to findings from research studies using the IBM.  Page 2 illustrates that staying in a couple relationship, where the care score continues at less than 20, may interfere with recovery from depression.  This latter seems less applicable for melancholic depressions (criteria in second slide on page 2).

Dyadic adjustment scale & scoring - Spanier's Dyadic Adjustment Scale was published in the mid 1970's.  I think it's a bit "creaky" as a questionnaire, but it still pulls out quite a lot of helpful information that can be pretty useful.

Dyadic happiness scale (0 - 6) - Goodwin in a classic paper entitled "Overall just how happy are you?  The magical question 31 of the Spanier dyadic adjustment scale" showed that the very simple question 31 of the original Spanier scale (see above) gave a quick and surprisingly accurate estimate of how a person would be likely to score when taking the much more time-consuming full scale.  It can be useful particularly, for example, when tracking progress week by week during couples' therapy.     

Partner criticism scale & scoring - the "Degree of partner criticism" scale was published in 1989.  I find it interesting, quick to administer, and useful.  It's a pity it doesn't seem to have directly triggered further research.

Conflict tactics scale & scoring - this scale is useful when assessing and monitoring conflict (and possibly domestic violence) and attempts to resolve conflict are an important part of the therapy. 

Relationship difficulties, 6 key areas - a sheet with space for notes on six areas considered important to assess in Jacobson & Christensen's "Integrative couple therapy".

Relationships difficulties, development & maintenance - here is a diagram I put together that encourages an overview of a relationship difficulty.

Marriage/couples handout, page 1, page 2 & page 3 - this is an 18 slide talk I gave a number of years ago as part of a much larger two day workshop on relationships.  The slides print out fine as three 6-slides-to-a-page handouts.  Slide 6 on page 1 - a chart of typical marital satisfaction across the life cycle - is a diagram I quite often use for "reassurance" both to illustrate how it can be quite a challenge on marriages raising children and how the "empty nest syndrome" may be something of an illusion.

Parental bond measure scale & scoring handout - here is another scale (like the Intimate Bond Measure) that I use a lot.  Typically this use falls into one of two areas.  One is in assessing the quality of parenting a client has experienced earlier in their life.  This can be very helpful and it's often important to emphasise that it's fine that this is simply the client's subjective memory of their childhood experience rather than some unachievable recording of what precisely took place.  The point is that it is subjective remembered experience that correlates with subsequent effects in us as adults - so it is precisely scores on scales like the PBI that we are interested in.  Quite often clients feel "guilty" for negative scores they may give their parents.  Part of the therapeutic work is in emotionally processing these feelings, so that we can move on as adults.  The second main area where I find it helpful to use the PBI is in assessment of a client's (or our own) behaviour as parents.  We can guess - often pretty accurately - how our child would score us.  Sometimes we may even ask an older or grown up child to score the questionnaire about us.  It's then fascinating to ask them to score how they actually experienced us and how they would ideally like it to be/have been - again providing targets for clarification and change work.  Obviously we need to be cautious about potentially setting up parent-child conflicts (or dishonesty) here, but if carefully managed this kind of assessment can be great - quite often in the surprise and joy experienced by a parent when their child actually scores them much better than they'd feared.

Parents & children handout, page 1 & page 2 - here are 12 slides from a talk on parenting I gave a number of years ago.  It was part of a much larger two day workshop on relationships.  The slides print out well as two 6-slides-to-a-page handouts.


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Thank you for the handouts

Thank you for the handouts doctor. I found them to be quite helpful in evaluating the dynamics between my husband and me and between us and our kids. Very resourceful like online bookkeeping services. Thank you.