marriage education, couple relationship education, relationship satisfaction


Assessment and feedback of relationship strengths and challenges is a widely used brief approach to couple relationship education (CRE). It can be fully automated through the internet, with couples self-interpreting the feedback. This study assessed whether therapist guidance of couples to interpret the report and develop relationship goals enhanced the benefits of the feedback. Thirty-nine couples seeking CRE were randomly assigned to either self-interpretation of an internet-based relationship assessment report (RELATE), or therapist-guided interpretation of the same report (RELATE+). Participants were assessed on relationship satisfaction and psychological distress pre- and post-CRE, and a 6-month follow-up. RELATE and RELATE+ were not reliably different in outcome. Couples in both conditions sustained high relationship satisfaction and showed an overall decline in psychological distress. However, consumer satisfaction was substantially higher for the RELATE+ condition than the RELATE condition.

Original Publication Citation

Halford, K. W., Chen, R., Wilson, K. L., Larson, J., Busby, D. M., & Holman, T. (2012). Does therapist guidance enhance assessment-based feedback as couple relationship education? Behaviour Change, 29, 199-212.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Behaviour Change




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor