Service Category/Categories: Relationships

**This program is unavailable at present. Please continue to check the website for updates about future availability.**

Relationship education is for couples who want to strengthen their relationship. There are many different types of relationship education available in Australia.

RAQ offers the Couple CARE program for three reasons:

  1. It has been shown in rigorous research trials to help happy couples sustain a strong relationship and for couples with some concerns to improve their relationship.
  2. Couples can complete the program in the privacy of their own home and at times that suit the couple.
  3. It is Australian. Couple CARE was developed by a team led by Kim Halford, an Australian couple researcher and it has been tested with Australian couples.

Course Program

Couple CARE enriches a couple's relationship by helping couples to:

  • Assess their relationship strengths and vulnerabilities
  • Define the relationship they want
  • Develop key relationship skills
  • Identify individual actions to strengthen their relationship


Couple CARE, the Couple Commitment and Relationship Enhancement program, is designed for couples at any stage in their relationship. It is helpful to couples who just moved in together, or recently got married. It is helpful to couples with growing children. It is helpful to older couples. It is for a couple who wishes to enhance their relationship.


The course covers six key units essential to strong relationships. It includes a DVD, workbooks and six consultations with a Relationship Educator.  It takes less than two hours per week. As there are six units your total time commitment will be about 12 hours spread across six weeks.

The course is flexible to the client’s needs and dependent on the availability of the counsellors. We aim to offer day time appointments any time of the week including Saturdays.


 Program Details

Couple CARE Course Outline

The Couple CARE program covers six key units that are essential for any strong relationship. These units include:

Couple CARE key topic areas

Example of Activities Included

Unit 1: Your Relationship Vision and Self change

You look at how your past relationship experiences impact your current relationship expectations

Unit 2: Communication

You self-evaluate your communication using a communication skills checklist

Unit 3: Intimacy and Caring

You review how you currently show caring within your relationship, and are invited to think about other ways to show that caring

Unit 4: Managing Differences

You identify patterns of how you manage conflict

Unit 5: Sexual Intimacy

You talk about how to boost or sustain sexual interest and satisfaction

Unit 6: Looking Ahead

You plan tactics that will help you adapt as a couple to changes in your life

What does Couple CARE involve?

Couple CARE has three core elements included in the program:

1. A Couple CARE DVD

The DVD allows you and your partner to work together through all 6 units of Couple CARE in the comfort of your own home. The DVD consists of the 6 units outlined in the table above. Each DVD unit is approximately 10 minutes long.

2. A Couple CARE Workbook

The workbook is divided into the 6 units as presented in the DVD. The workbook helps you apply the ideas from the DVD to your own relationship through activities and discussions. There is a mix of both individual activities and couple activities that you do before your review session with your Relationship Educator. All units include a self-change focus. Self-change is planning and making changes to your own behaviour to enhance your relationship. The activities and discussions included for each Couple CARE unit take about 30 to 60 minutes to complete.

3. Help from a Relationship Educator

A Relationship Educator will review your work throughout the program. Included in the program are weekly phone calls from your RAQ Relationship Educator. You can ask questions and receive help in applying the ideas and practicing the relationship skills introduced in the program.

How does it work?

The four easy steps to follow are:

  1. Call RAQ to register your interest in attending the Couple CARE program
  2. Receive your Couple CARE package in the mail
  3. As a couple set aside blocks of time each week to work on a unit
  4. Discuss progress in the relationship skills and problem-solve any concerns or questions with your Relationship Educator through your prearranged phone consultation
  • How was Couple CARE developed?

Couple CARE has been developed from over 20 years of marriage and relationship research with more than 5000 couples. Couple CARE was developed by a team of registered psychologists, led by Professor Kim Halford of the University of Queensland. The program has been evaluated using the best research methodology in studies here in Australia, as well as in The United States, Germany and Switzerland. The Couple CARE research was funded by the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.

Research has demonstrated that couples attending relationship education:

  • Report immediate improvements in communication and couple satisfaction
  • Are less distressed than 66% of couples not receiving relationship education
  • Maintain enhanced relationship satisfaction for at least 5 years after completion of the program

For further reading on Couple Relationship Education please see the reference list located at the bottom of this web page.

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between couple counselling and couple education?

Couple counselling is recommended for those couples who are distressed and have immediate challenge areas in their relationship. Counselling offers distressed couples help from a practitioner on how to overcome these difficulties.

Relationship education focuses on providing couples with skills and strategies to build a solid foundation to grow and develop in their relationship. Most couples attending relationship education are either not distressed or only mildly distressed. Relationship education has been demonstrated to reduce the risk of future relationship problems.

Who is Couple CARE for? Can anyone use Couple CARE?

Any couple is welcome to participate in the relationship education course Couple CARE. Whether you are married, in a defacto relationship, engaged, dating or cohabitating, Couple CARE can provide you with relationship skills to help strengthen and enhance your relationship.

We strongly recommend that to gain the most benefit from the program both you and your partner actively participate in the program.

Can we still participate in Couple CARE if we’re in a same sex relationship?

We invite all types of couples to try Couple CARE. However, RAQ acknowledges that the original Couple CARE program was tailored to heterosexual couples. 

This means that the material in the relationship education program will still be applicable to same sex relationships. However, some of the challenges faced by same sex couples may not be reflected in the Couple CARE program.

As such the Couple CARE developers are in the process of designing a program tailored to couples in same sex relationships.

I’m currently having individual counselling can I still try Couple CARE?

We recommend that you continue with your individual counselling first and discuss your interest in relationship education with your counsellor before registering for Couple CARE.

Do we have to have phone calls with our relationship educator? Can we have face to face help instead? 

Couple CARE was originally designed to be a flexible program aimed at couples who may not be able to attend a venue due to distance or busy schedules. However, you can attend face-to-face sessions and work through the Couple CARE program. You can talk with our friendly Client Contact staff about the different options for accessing support throughout the program. Call RAQ on 1300 364 277.

It is strongly recommended that you have weekly contact with your Relationship Educator. Your Relationship Educator is there to help you review your progress through the program and help you troubleshoot any problems.

What is a Relationship Educator?

A Relationship Educator is a qualified counsellor who is trained in facilitating the Couple CARE relationship education program. Only counsellors who have received the intensive training and are licensed in the Couple CARE program are allowed to deliver Couple CARE to clients.

How much time does it take? 

Each unit involves watching a section of the DVD, which is about 12 to 15 minutes long. You then do some exercises from a guidebook applying ideas in the DVD to your own relationship. The exercises take about 45 minutes. The telephone call with the educator is usually about 40 minutes. So it takes less than 2 hours per week. There are 6 units, so your total time commitment will be about 12 hours spread across 6 weeks. 

How is Couple CARE different to other relationship education courses?

All relationship education courses focus on strengthening areas that improve relationship outcomes. However, different relationship education courses place emphasis on certain relationship areas. For example, some courses focus mainly on the prevention of destructive conflict or the development of partner empathy. 

The advantage of Couple CARE is that it promotes all areas that contribute to sustained relationship satisfaction. Furthermore, Couple CARE encourages reflection, goal setting and self-change. Additionally, Couple CARE is flexible in its delivery. So unlike other relationship education programs, in Couple CARE the couple is in control of when, where and how they would like to review the program material. 

  • References

Halford, W K. , Moore, E. M., Wilson, K., Dyer, C., & Farrugia, C. . (2006). Couple Commitment and Relationship Enhancement: a guidebook for life partners. Brisbane: Australian Academic Press. Brisbane: Australian Academic Press.

Halford, W. K. , & Moore, E. (2002). Relationship education and the prevention of couple relationship problems. New York: Guilford.

Halford, W. K., Kelly, A., & Markman, H. J. . (1997). The concept of a healthy marriage. Chichester, England: Wiley.

Halford, W. K., & Snyder, D. K. (2012). Universal processes and common factors in couple therapy and relationship education. Behavior Therapy 43(1), 1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2011.01.007

Halford, W.K. (1999). Australian couples in Millennium Three: A research development agenda for marriage and relationship education. Canberra, Department of Family and Community Services.

Halford, W.K. (2011). Marriage and relationship education: what works and how to provide it. New York: Guilford.

Halford, W.K., & Bodenmann, G. (2013). Effects of relationship education on maintenance of couple relationship satisfaction. Clinical Psychology Review, 33, 512-525.

Halford, W.K., Bouma, R., Kelly, A., & Young, R. M. (1999). Individual psychopathology and marital distress - Analyzing the association and implications for therapy. Behavior Modification, 23(2), 179-216.

Halford, W.K., O'Donnell, C., Lizzio, A., & Wilson, K. L. (2006). Do couples at high risk of relationship problems attend premarriage education? Journal of Family Psychology, 20(1), 160-163. doi: 10.1037/0893-3200.20.1.160

Halford, W.K., Osgarby, S., & Kelly, A. (1996). Brief Behavioural Couples Therapy: A Preliminary Evaluation (Vol. 24). UK: Cambridge University Press.

Halford, W.K., & Simons, M. (2005). Couple relationship education in Australia. Family Process, 44(2), 147-159.

  • Articles that demonstrate the efficacy of Couple CARE

Halford, W.K., Sanders, M. R., & Behrens, B. C. (2001). Can skills training prevent relationship problems in at-risk couples? Four-year effects of a behavioral relationship education program. Journal of Family Psychology, 15(4), 750-768.

Halford, W.K., Wilson, K., Watson, B., Verner, T., Larson, J., Busby, D., & Holman, T. (2010). Couple Relationship Education at Home: Does Skill Training Enhance Relationship Assessment and Feedback? Journal of Family Psychology, 24(2), 188-196. doi: 10.1037/a0018786

Halford, W.K., Petch, J., & Creedy, D.K. (2010). Promoting a positive transition to parenthood: A randomised clinical trial of couple relationship education. Prevention Science, 11(1), 89-100.

Petch, J., Halford, W.K., Creedy, D., & Gamble, J. (2012). A randomised controlled trial of a couple relationship and co-parenting program (Couple CARE for Parents) for high- and low-risk new parents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 80(4), 662-73

Halford, W.K., Moore, E., Wilson, K.L., Farrugia, C. & Dyer, C. (2004). Benefits of Flexible Delivery Relationship Education: An Evaluation of the Couple CARE, Family Relations, 53(5), pp. 469-476

Upcoming Dates for this Course

Please call 1300 364 277 to check the upcoming dates for this course.