Fei Yue Family Service Centre (FYFSC) strives to effect life transformation through the provision of quality social services by being an excellent establishment in leading people to a truly fulfilling life within an integrated community network. In line with their vision, they identified marriage group work counseling as an emerging need in Singapore.
The conceptualisation of Marriage Dance (MD) programme stems from an assessed need to work with couples facing marital issues, which is prevalent in FYFSC’s casework. Such a treatment group would allow couples to receive help “on a different level of functioning”.
Marriage Dance is a treatment group designed for couples to work on their marital issues. A rationale for the use of therapeutic group work as an intervention is to help the members understand that they are not the only ones facing such problems, something that individual case work alone cannot achieve. Furthermore, the process of mutual aid takes place during group work when members draw upon their own experiences and deep-seated needs to support their fellow members. It is through this process of “giving” where these members also “receive” and learn from their past experiences (Kurland & Salmon, 1993).
As such group members typically have intensive personal or emotional problems, skilled professional leadership is required. It is due to the intensive nature of the group work that Marriage Dance is a co-led. In fact, according to Gurman, co-led marital therapies fare better than those led by a single therapist (Gurman, 1973).
MD was previously held over 6 weeks but was reformatted as a staycation (three-day-two-night) due to poor attendance. Each run of MD is a closed group comprising of 5-6 couples, mostly clients of FYFSC recommended by their social workers. Group leaders are provided with brief information from case workers such as case conceptualizations, their dynamics and interactional patterns. FYFSC also accepts registration of interested participants who may not be clients. There are no preliminary screenings or orientation sessions held which could account for the high drop-out rate in the weekly format. This is because such meetings address members’ perceptions, expectations and concerns for the group work that have a bearing on later sessions (Corey, Corey, & Corey, 2013).
The primary therapeutic purpose of the programme is to work on addressing common challenges faced by couples and improving their marital relationships. The programme content though simple, is comprehensive enough to meet the group’s purpose especially given the time frame of the entire programme, a three-day-two-night staycation.
The topics explored facilitate the in-depth sharing of experiences but also allow for empowerment of the couples through equipping them with skills to work through their problems. Moreover, the types of activities carried out are more practical and experiential ones as compared to being cognitive. These...