Counseling for Gay Couples Launched at Wilton Manors Pride Center
"One of the things that makes this program unique is the fact that it focuses on couples in relationships," said Kristofer Fegenbush, Deputy Director of Pride Center at Equality Park of South Florida
Fegenbush was talking about the recently launched Couples Speak, a program offered through the Pride Center’s PALS (Positive Action for Living Safely) Project underwritten by the Community Foundation of Broward.
Joining Fegenbush in the interview with SFGN were Frank Gurucharri, PALS Project Manager; Lorenzo Robertson, a Facilitation Consultant and David Fawcett, the Lead Clinical Program Consultant for Couples Speak.
The four-week program was launched in June with five couples. New groups of approximately six couples will be formed every month. The program will help participants with a wide range of issues faced by gay and bisexual couples including communication, negotiating sexual agreements, managing conflicts and much more.
"We’re breaking new ground," said Gurucharri. "Most programs aimed at reducing health risks in the LGBT community focus on individuals and don’t take couples into consideration. PALS has been working with individuals for a long time and now we’re taking what works for individuals and applying it to couples."
"If we’re going to change, we need to practice," Fegenbush said. "Couples Speak provides an opportunity to do just that."
"We really focus on expanding health routines," Gurucharri said. "We have a very health-centric approach to everything we do under the PALS umbrella. "We work with the couples to develop a specific health plan. Diet and exercise are really important to good health and good health improves everything."
Fawcett said that "most people, including most gay people, don’t think about couples in conjunction with homosexuality. But there are a lot of couples out there and we need to recognize and support them." He continued, "It’s the way we’re acculturated. From early childhood no one tells or shows us how to be in a coupled relationship. It’s a heterosexual only issue. Still, we all know of long-term relationships so we know it can be done. Hopefully Couples Speak will help more couples succeed."