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Free and cheap couples therapy

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Typically when I write about apps or websites, the ones I feature help you save money or manage your money or make money.

Recently, I’ve been presented with a new trend — apps and websites that help save your relationship. I suppose they can also save you money since it probably costs less to use these resources than it does to pay for traditional couples therapy.

So here are a few ways you can give your relationship an online tune-up:

First, is CouplesCom, an app, that claims to let you and your partner “be heard in a structured communication environment.” According to app creators, the app provides a safe and effective place for you and your partner to have the important conversations that are needed to grow any relationship.

The app — for iPhone and Android users — is free for 30 days then you pay $3.99. To access messages older than 30 days, you need a subscription for $9.99 per year.

Here’s a screen shot of the app in action:

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Interesting that the safe, and effective place to have important relationship conversations is inside a Smartphone app…right?

Anticipating their critics, the folks at CouplesCom address the topic in a blog post describing a person who was offended by the idea of using an app to talk to your partner instead of just…talking to your partner.

After noting the high failure rates of first and second marriages — a clear indication that people are not communicating — the company suggests the the CouplesCom app is just another tool like books, DVDs and courses which help you improve your marriage skills. They also suggest therapists use the app with their clients to help them practice communicating between sessions.

Another social strategy for resolving marriage issues is the online virtual Fight Less, Love More course.  The course lets couples meet in a small group with a trained course leader in an online virtual classroom. You can see, hear and interact with other couples. The requirements are a web browser and an Internet connection, on a PC, Mac or mobile device.

The program was created by Laurie Puhn Communications and the non-profit Family Dynamics Institute. There are secular and faith-based versions of the course nationwide and all are based on Puhn’s book, “Fight Less, Love More: 5-Minute Conversations to Change Your Relationship without Blowing Up or Giving In.” (Rodale, $14.99).

The online virtual classes (and traditional classes) run for nine weeks/one hour per week. Couples may attend from different parts of the country, but it feels like they are in a room together. Even spouses can attend from different locations. It costs $125 per couple and the fee includes course materials.

Would you try virtual online couples therapy or communication apps to improve your relationship?


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