Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Couples clinic to open at DU

Couples looking for ways to strengthen their relationships will have a new place to go at DU beginning Sept 26. A clinic for couples is opening its doors in DU’s psychology department to offer counseling services.

“We’ll provide state-of-the-art, research-based couples therapy to Denver-area couples to help them improve communication and conflict management skills,” says Howard Markman, a psychology professor and director of the University’s Center for Marital and Family Studies.

Markman says it’s not so much the differences that cause problems for couples, but rather how those differences are handled.

“The inability to talk about the inevitable conflicts that all relationships experience is the best predictor of future divorce,” he says. “We can predict who will divorce with up to 90 percent accuracy in our research.” 

The center’s services—weekly couples therapy, weekend couples seminars, workshops and retreats—are based on 25 years of research Markman has conducted at DU.

Fees start at $5 and are based on ability to pay. No couple will be denied services. Services are also provided to people whose partners are unwilling or reluctant to try counseling.

John Patterson attended a Markman seminar with his wife. Patterson says he learned ways to improve his listening skills. 

“It was a good experience without a doubt,” Patterson says. “When you’re exposed to a program that will make yourself better it will almost always be a positive.”

Patterson says these kinds of programs should be a prerequisite for anyone who is getting married. 

“When you’re a better listener you don’t things for granted and it will make your relationships stronger,” Patterson says.
In August, the Office of Alumni Relations teamed up with Markman for the first time to offer a seminar for DU alumni and partners. Attendees learned the newest findings on why marriages succeed and fail and how to put those findings into use in their relationships. 

To learn more about alumni seminars, call 303-482-7588; for information about the counseling center, call 303-871-3306 or visit

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