• PAIRS: Because great relationships don't happen by accident.
  • PAIRS Essentials in Fort Lauderdale June 25-26, 2016.
  • PAIRS: Because great relationships don't happen by accident.
  • PAIRS: Because great relationships don't happen by accident.
  • PAIRS.
  • PAIRS: Because great relationships don't happen by accident.
  • PAIRS: Because great relationships don't happen by accident.

The Mission of PAIRS


The Mission of The PAIRS Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is to create a safer, saner, more loving world.

PAIRS Foundation has been an industry leader in relationship-skills education for more than a quarter century.

PAIRS offers innovative, evidence-based programs for creating and sustaining relationships.

PAIRS education provides tools that become lasting resources to foster love, happiness, pleasure and fulfillment. PAIRS Essentials, the Foundation's 9-hour flagship program, is designed to create positive, enduring shifts in the quality and resilience of marriages, families and other intimate relationships.

PAIRS Level One Training focuses on practical, usable skills that help couples, singles and families:

  • Connect heart to heart
  • Experience the transformative power of empathy, mutual respect and compassion
  • Express, listen to and understand emotions
  • Create a shared environment of emotional openness and honesty
  • Reveal hidden expectations to avoid assumptions and misunderstandings
  • Resolve conflict constructively, and
  • Bond through emotional openness and physical closeness.

Independent research has shown that PAIRS training results in:

  • Restored, renewed, and revitalized relationships
  • Higher levels of relationship satisfaction
  • Reduced symptoms of distress and anxiety
  • Greater commitment to a shared vision of healthy relationships, and
  • Increased resilience built on improved quality of marriages, families and relationships.

A Transformative Learning Model


PAIRS training is focused on:

  • Experiential learning
  • Transforming couples’ understanding of keys to healthy relationships, and
  • Exploring and experiencing emotional, empathic communication in depth as foundational for well being.

From that awareness comes a fundamental shift that leaves people more fully in accord with possibilities for expanding connection, intimacy and creating an environment in which compassion and empathy are more likely to provide a foundation for deeper experiences of love, healing and acceptance for themselves and others.

This shift provides an opening for people to think and act beyond existing views and limits as they explore new possibilities for expression, understand and embracing differences through experiential exercises that frequently lead to rapid breakthroughs for relationships in any stage, particularly including highly distressed relationships.

The Program’s Format—Experiential Learning


PAIRS Level One Training is conducted in a group setting, with a PAIRS Trainer, over four days. PAIRS Trainers are skilled, perceptive, effective, certified facilitators from various disciplines. They have multi-year experience delivering PAIRS programs to diverse audiences and consistently earn the highest evaluations from course participants. Since 1984, PAIRS programs have been successfully delivered throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Australia and the Middle East.

PAIRS is conducted with respect for the lived expertise of the participants. The general format is straightforward: the PAIRS Trainer introduces an evolving body of principles, tenets, and “tools” developed by PAIRS Foundation and invites dialogue with participants (usually 30-100), who offer their unique contributions. Often many participants identify with the contributions of one.

New Possibilities for Relationships


As the program proceeds, participants internalize their experiential learning. New perspectives emerge through a process of thoughtful inquiry and reflection. A deliberate sequence of experiential exercises provides safety for vulnerability, personal growth, and self-discovery and gradually expands the participants’ ability to confide and listen with empathy, resulting in new ways and new perspectives from which to relate. Dialogue develops into thoughtful inquiries and discovery of “ways of being” that may have been unconscious. Those “ways of being” are highlighted for their potential to limit confiding, connection, understanding and empathy, which are the foundations for healing and growth within intimate relationships. Participants are guided to integrate new skills with “conscious competence.” New possibilities for closeness, problem-solving, and love emerge. Throughout the process, participants are encouraged to recognize that they can choose behaviors that greatly determine the joy, pleasure and happiness they experience in relationships, a recognition woven within each aspect of the workshop.



Welcome and Overview:


Staff and participant introductions followed by a training overview and ground rules, as well as tips and ideas to get the most value from the training. The daily schedule is reviewed and there is an opportunity to ask questions.

Through an introduction to Levels of Learning, Stages of Relationship, and Three Hopes/Three Fears, the stage is set for people to rapidly begin to engage with the process, concepts and exercises.



Relationship Roadmap:


PAIRS Relationship Roadmap is unveiled as a new paradigm for understanding relationships. The conversation begins with an exploration of the root causes of pain and pleasure, considering symptoms and signs of happiness and unhappiness and their connection to the deprivation or fulfillment of biologically-based needs, including the human need for bonding.

In this session, PAIRS examines communication Stress Styles, positions that cause relational distance. Positive attributes of Stress Styles are also considered. A role-playing exercise offers a chance for participants to connect with other group members before returning to their partner to explore the Leveling Style, which promotes clarity and understanding.



The Heart of Intimacy:


The group considers how we regularly care for, or neglect, relationships as the foundation of our lives. PAIRS Daily Temperature Reading begins the process of confiding. Intentionality is a key theme throughout: a focus on the value of inviting versus inflicting, the impact of Empathic Listening as opposed to defensiveness, filters or interjections that frequently discourage or limit emotional openness.

Qualities of Good Talking and Good Listening offers a backdrop to introduce PAIRS Talking Tips as a tool for Confiding a Concern and embracing the value of listening with empathy.

Participants practice Talking Tips in dyads to refine clear communication and listening skills.



The Logic of Love:


Understanding the Logic of Love and Emotions includes considering early messages about feelings.

Was it okay to be angry, scared, worried, or sad? Participants reflect on the impact of early decisions
about emotional expression, and the impact on bonding, as the concept of The Emotional Jug is introduced.

The conversation about emotions explores behaviors that may interfere with the ability to experience feelings
such as love, pleasure, desire, tenderness, and relief, including ways of dealing with those emotions that may be helpful in some areas of life, such as work, while damaging in others, such as marriage/family.

Emptying the Emotional Jug is introduced as a tool for beginning to uncover and release pent-up emotions and improving the capacity to listen with empathy as a valuable gift to intimate relationships.

Day One closes with an invitation for the group to share insights, discoveries and ask questions before
assignments are distributed.



PAIRS Level One Training Key Concepts, Tools and Exercises:

  Levels of Learning, Stages of Relationship, Three Hopes and Three Fears, Relationship Roadmap, Stress Styles of Communication, Placater, Blamer, Computer, Distractor, Leveling Style, Daily Temperature Reading, Invitation Rule, Empathic Listening, Good Talking, Good Listening, Talking Tips, Logic of Love and Emotions, The Emotional Jug, Emptying the Emotional Jug, Dirty Fighting, Emotional Stages of Development, Fair Fight for Change, Fight Style Evaluation, Fight Results Profile, Rules for Coaches, Scoring a Fair Fight, Relationship Agreements, Powergram, Decision-Making Worksheet, Caring Behaviors, The Love Bank, Love Knots, Untangling a Love Knot, Emotional Allergies, Confiding an Emotional, Allergy, Emotional Allergy Infinity Loop, Transforming the Loop, Letting Go of Grudges, Meditation on Death and Loss.


Group DTR:


Staff welcomes participants and invites volunteers to lead the group in a Daily Temperature Reading practice. The opportunity is used to reunite participants, reestablish group dynamic and hear from participants about whatever may be present for them in the five areas included in the DTR.



Emotional Stages of Development:

  In this session, we begin to explore the impact that emotional attitudes have on our ability to navigate differences that are a natural part of close relationships. In examining these Emotional Stages of Development, participants begin to recognize their own contribution to ongoing conflict and understand a range of new possible behaviors that may lead to greater closeness and relationship satisfaction.


Dirty Fighting that Fuels Conflict:


Dirty Fighting Styles, or actions that make things worse, are identified as the group prepare for constructive conflict techniques. The conversation about ways that people fuel conflict brings added awareness to actions that sabotage relationships.

The group continues to examine their own behaviors and recognize that behaviors learned earlier in life
may no longer be useful or productive.



Fighting for the Relationship:


With new insights and awareness regarding attitudes and behaviors that negatively affect relationships,
and new skills for releasing anger and other emotions, The Fair Fight for Change is introduced. Participants experience a new model for conflict resolution as they begin to see themselves and their significant others as being on the same side of an issue and not against each other. Discussion examines aspects of a “Fight” that would be considered fair or unfair. The coaching process is introduced as a means for support.


V .

You, Me or We:

  The Powergram is introduced as a tool for considering how couples and families make decisions, including areas of autonomy, influence and those that require agreement. A Decision-Making Worksheet offers the opportunity to reflect on how decisions are being made presently and areas that could benefit from discussion or negotiation.


Filling the Love Bank:


The group has gained much in the understanding of behaviors that negatively impact relationship
satisfaction. The concepts of Caring Behaviors and The Love Bank are introduced as a means of regularly
nurturing those relationships that are most important in our lives. Participants are exposed to the idea that it is necessary to openly communicate what behaviors and expressions make us feel cared about and loved. Emphasis is given to recognizing that those behaviors
and expressions change as circumstances change over a lifetime.

Day Two closes with an invitation for
the group to share insights, discoveries and ask questions before assignments are distributed.



Group DTR:


Staff welcomes participants and invites volunteers to lead the group in a Daily Temperature Reading practice. The opportunity is used to reunite participants, reestablish group dynamic and hear from participants about whatever may be present for them in the five areas included in the DTR.



Uncovering Hidden Expectations:

  Love Knots, or hidden assumptions and expectations that appear to be true but are not, are examined. The group explores the impact and price that is paid when we operate with these hidden assumptions and is offered an opportunity to untangle these love knots, making way for greater understanding, compassion and support for participants and within relationships.


Discovering Emotional Triggers:


A comparison is drawn between physical allergies and strong emotional reactions based on past experiences. This type of reaction is identified as an Emotional Allergy. The group examines the tendency of one person’s emotional allergy to trigger an emotional allergy in one’s partner. Discussion focuses on identifying what may be hidden from awareness. Participants are helped to see that they are often holding people in current relationships responsible for unfinished emotional work in past
relationships. Exercises and role plays illustrate the Emotional Allergy Infinity Loop and transform it to a Loop of Vulnerability and Empathy.



Letting Go of Grudges:


A Letting Go of Grudges exercise is shared to help recognize that when we hold onto grudges against others, we, ourselves pay an emotional price.

Through guided letter writing and/or empathic sharing regarding the full range of emotions, participants learn that letting go of grudges is truly a gift that we can give to ourselves.



Facing Death to Embrace Life:


As we draw to the end of PAIRS Level One curriculum, we reflect as a group on what the end of life means to each of us. The Meditation on Death and Loss guides participants who so choose to role play the loss of a loved one, sharing the meaning that loved one has given to the participant’s life. The exercise provides a new appreciation for living, loving and
having the opportunity to share while those most important to us are still present in our lives.


VI .

Level One Tool Box:


Teach-back assignments are distributed before the Trainer provides a brief review of key concepts from Level One in the context of a Tool Box that offers
expanded opportunities for improved communication, emotional expression and understanding, and constructive conflict resolution on behalf of relationships that are an ongoing source of love, happiness, pleasure and fulfillment.

The group is invited to share insights, discoveries and ask questions.



Sharing PAIRS:


The afternoon session focuses on tips for successfully organizing and presenting PAIRS Essentials.

A review of current research highlights expected program benefits and outcomes for both singles and couple participants.

PAIRS Licensing and Ethical Standards Agreements are reviewed as the foundation of PAIRS’ ability to ensure the safety of each program participant and consistent quality in the delivery of evidence-based best practices to audiences throughout the world.

Training evaluations are distributed. Participants are allowed time to begin working individually or in assigned groups to deliver Day Four Teach-Back assignments.


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