PREP: "What's right with your relationship?"

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo., -- Each grade in school teaches students to build on existing foundations for the next course and relationships aren't any different. 

To help build relationships, the Family Advocacy office offers the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program, a course intended to give its pupils the tools they need to advance a current relationship.

"The PREP seminar's main focus is on couples who are already in a good relationship, but want to kick it up a notch," said Jeannie Johnson, outreach manager of FAP. "The seminar is not for couples who need marital or relationship therapy, nor who are in therapy. This is more of a proactive measure."

The PREP seminar's purpose is to enhance communication between couples and show them how to understand one another. Other topics covered in the seminar include; why men and women argue differently and how to discover unforeseen issues that can be prevented in the long-run. Couples who sign up for this seminar can expect to learn more about how to deepen the mutual love, friendship and respect for one another.

"PREP is intended to add more fun and intimacy to a couple's relationship," said Mrs. Johnson. "The seminar is educational and no one is here to judge."

This course is available to those who are dating, engaged, newlyweds and empty nesters with base access.

"Often couples are intimidated about going to a PREP seminar because they wonder if something is wrong with their relationship," Mrs. Johnson said . "But PREP is not about what's wrong with your relationship. Rather it's about what's right with your relationship and how you can make it better."
The PREP program has 30 years of research behind it, Mrs. Johnson said. Researchers have followed couples in three different countries and have learned how people practice simple techniques like active listening, problem solving and other coping skills. They have found as much as a 50 percent decrease in break-ups by couples who practice these techniques.

"If participants can learn and/or use even just one tool to help them in their future then it's good thing," said Mrs. Johnson.

The FAP and other base agencies work together to support a common mission. The program is designed to keep Airmen's minds off of problems and concerns and to focus on the operation, with prevention being the key, Mrs. Johnson said .

"The divorce rate is on the rise and its costing society financially and emotionally," said Mrs. Johnson. "Instructors at PREP aim to keep the American family together."

Seminars off-base can cost couples money, but PREP and other programs offered by FAP are all free and confidential. Instructors of the course are certified counselors.

The next PREP seminar is scheduled for Nov. 6 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations are required 48 hours prior to the workshop. To find out more about this seminar and others offered by FAP, call Mrs. Johnson at (660) 687-4341.

(Editor's note: This is the second of a three-part series highlighting programs offered by the Whiteman Family Advocacy Outreach Program.)