Tuesday, September 29, 2015 - 08:45

Same-sex couples are missing out on relationship assistance available to other members of the community.

That’s the opinion of Professor Kim Halford from The University of Queensland’s School of Psychology, who is looking to address the perceived imbalance.

“Most relationship enhancement is offered by religious organisations that often ignore or even reject same-sex couples,” he said.

“Aside from needing legal recognition of their marriage, same-sex couples also need access to good relationship enhancement.”

Psychologists from UQ and Latrobe University have teamed up to develop a relationship education program specifically for same-sex couples.

The Rainbow Couple CARE program is being offered free to same-sex couples living in Brisbane and Melbourne.

“The program helps currently satisfied couples to strengthen their relationship,” Professor Halford said.

“We explore relationship expectations, enhancing communication, promoting fun and mutual support, and having a fulfilling sex life."

Rainbow Couple CARE is an adaptation of the widely used Couple CARE program developed by Professor Halford and colleagues.

“Couple CARE has been studied for more than 20 years and has been found to improve relationship satisfaction across at least a four-to-five year period," Professor Halford said.

 “Sadly, same-sex couples often have to deal with homophobia, but in our program we explore the experiences related to that and how couples can support each other to sustain a positive gay identity.”

While there are some distinctive challenges for same-sex couples, the Couple CARE team said most of the things that helped them have a great relationship were similar for heterosexual couples.

“We have been able to use a lot of the existing Couple CARE program initiatives in this new adaptation for same-sex couples,” Professor Halford said.

“That means we can build upon the 25 years of work we have done and make this a special program for same sex couples.”

For more information or to register your interest, visit the Rainbow Couple CARE website.

Media: Professor Kim Halford, k.halford@uq.edu.au, +61 7 3365 6375; Robert Burgin at UQ Communications, r.burgin@uq.edu.au, +61 7 3346 3035, + 61 0448 410 364.