Couples invited to take part in University study

6/9/2009 | By: Skyler Dillon  |

Couples are invited to participate in a University of Nevada, Reno study of relationship improvement techniques. Local author Dr. Alan Fruzzetti, associate professor of psychology has written a book for couples, "The High Conflict Couple: a Dialectical Guide to Finding Peace, Intimacy, and Validation." The study will evaluate the effectiveness of the tools in the program described in his book.

"It's a guide for couples seeking to ease their conflicts and deepen their relationship," said Fruzzetti. "It's meant to teach couples how to manage problems with negotiation instead of arguments."

Couples over 18 years old, especially those who experience frequent conflicts in their relationship, are encouraged to take part. After receiving more information and giving consent, couples will read "The High Conflict Couple" and practice the exercises and strategies with each other. They also will complete a few questionnaires that measure couple satisfaction and individual well being. All participation is completed through the mail and at home, so no visits to the University are required. All costs, such as the book and postage, are paid for by the research study.

According to the project's research coordinator, Karen Erikson of the University's Dialectical Behavior Therapy Couples and Family Laboratory, "we hope that couples who read the book and practice the program will show improvements in satisfaction in their relationship, improved individual well-being, and better communication in their relationship."

In order to improve relationships, Erikson said, "The High Conflict Couple" focuses on "building and improving communications strategies, especially through techniques such as validation, improving the quality of time spent together, and being more mindful of each other." With these approaches, it may be easier for couples to avoid angry situations and to better deal with difficult negative emotions when they do occur, resulting in improved intimacy and closeness between partners.

For more information or to participate, contact Karen Erikson at 682-8675 or


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