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Policy briefings

The audience for our policy briefings is politicians, policy-makers, commissioners of health and social care services and frontline staff delivering care. 

Our briefings cover a range of topics - central to each is the importance of good quality, stable couple relationships for the health and wellbeing of adults and children alike. 

A number of our briefings were produced for, and published by, the Relationships Alliance, of which Tavistock Relationships is a core member.

Delivering online interventions through the Reducing Parental Conflict programme - reach, safety, take-up and outcomes

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the ensuing lockdown and tiered restrictions, necessitated an immediate switch to online delivery of the interventions being trialled through the Government’s Reducing Parental Conflict (RPC) programme. This briefing highlights the impact of the switch to online intervention delivery during the pandemic.

How Mentalization-Based Therapy for Parents is improving couple communication, reducing parental conflict and increasing child wellbeing

A briefing from Tavistock Relationships detailing interim results from the Reducing Parental Conflict programme regarding the delivery of Mentalization-Based Therapy for Parents.

Addressing inter-parental conflict in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

This briefing assesses the links between inter-parental conflict and the mental health of children and adolescents. It questions the bracketing of couple therapy benefits to the couple itself. In doing so, a strong case can be made for the inclusion of couple therapy in the standard CAMH services.

The impact of couple conflict on children

This briefing paper is an abridged version of Parents and Partners: How the Parental Relationship affects Children’s Psychological Development, by Professor Gordon Harold and Dr Leslie Leve, which forms Chapter 2 of How Couple Relationships Shape Our World: Clinical Practice, Research and Policy Perspectives, edited by Dr Andrew Balfour, Mary Morgan and Chris Vincent)

Working relationally with couples where there is situational violence

In light of the Government’s Ending Violence Against Women and Girls strategy, this briefing surveys the current stance on situational couple violence. Tavistock Relationships finds that the current conceptualisation of domestic violence runs counter to the clinical experience of organisations who work with couples in distress. As such, Tavistock Relatinoships advocates a more relational approach to understanding and resolving situational violence.

Parents as Partners: a summary of findings

A summary of findings from Tavistock Relationships' highly successful implementation and developement of the Parents as Partners programme.

Relationships and mental health

This briefing highlights the bi-directionality of mental health disorders and relationship distress. Contextualising mental health treatment in this sense has potential benefits for both the couple and the children whose mental health is also affected by relationship distress.

Relationships and public health

Tavistock Relationships believes that viewing public health through the lens of the couple relationship is a perspective which offers great potential for effecting change in public health and well-being.

Couple relationships and health and wellbeing in later life

Older couples are rarely looked at through the specificity of later life conditions. This briefing details the notable physical and mental benefits of maintaining good relationships into later life. While good provisions are in place, greater focus needs to be placed on acknowledging their relevance to older couples and ensuring that they are accessing these provisions.

Article notes:

[3] For further information about this approach, see:

Infant mental health

This briefing details the effect of child-parent relationships on a child’s ability to form secure attachment. It then surveys the debate surrounding whether marital conflict has a notable effect on a child’s attachment. It is considered that, there is indeed a strong link, but the exact reasons as to why is still in debate. Regardless, this indicates that further investment needs to be put into developing parenthood through the parent-parent relationship.

Relationships and Sex Education for Young People

This is a policy briefing from the Relationships Alliance.

It shows that there is a wealth of evidence suggesting that the current relationships and sex education situation is not sufficiently effective at providing young people with the knowledge around relationships and sex which will best equip them to enjoy and sustain healthy and positive personal relationships. The Relationships Alliance believes that RSE should be a statutory requirement and proposes the form that it should take.

Article notes: 

[1] In keeping with the findings of a report by the Office of The Children’s commissioner, we believe that commonly used term ‘Sex and Relationships Education’ (SRE) should be renamed to ‘Relationships and Sex Education’ (RSE) ‘to place emphasis on the importance of developing healthy, positive, respectful relationships’ (Horvath et al., 2013, p.11). This position has also been recommended by the Education Committee's report into PHSE and SRE: 'We recommend that Sex and Relationships Education be renamed "Relationships and Sex Education" to reflect the (existing) focus on relationships and to emphasise the importance of this part of children and young people's education' (Education Committee, 2015).

The Role of Children's Centres

This is a policy briefing from the Relationships Alliance. 

In recent years, a number of organisations have argued that parenting approaches need to pay more attention to the quality of the relationship between parents and not just on the individual mother/child or father/child relationship. Tavistock Relationships supports this view and argues that parental couple relationship support should form a core function of children’s centres.

Couple Relationships and Work

This is a policy briefing from the Relationships Alliance.

This briefing looks at what research tells us about the impact of our working lives on our family lives (including our couple relationships) as well as the impact of our family lives (including our couple relationships) on our working lives.

Children's Academic Achievement

This briefing focuses on two drivers of children’s academic achievement – parental relationship quality and quality of parenting – which are arguably under-researched and under-acknowledged.