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Marital First Responders

Help someone through their relationship troubles by becoming a Marital First Responder.

About This Course

The Marital First Responder course is developed to enable participants to gain a deeper appreciation of their role as Marital First Responders (MFR) and equip them with core skills to perform their role effectively. Participants will learn about their role as an MFR and be exposed to the common marital issues faced by couples. They will learn how to communicate effectively with confiders to guide them to resolve their own marital conflicts by employing the following core skills – Listen, Empathise, Affirm and offer Perspective (L.E.A.P.) and Challenge, Advise and suggest Resources (C.A.R.).

On completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • List common marital conflicts
  • Distinguish between "hard" and "soft" problems
  • Describe the ways to handle marital conflicts
  • Describe intimate partner violence
  • Describe the situation when a confider is contemplating divorce
  • Explain the role of a "Marital First Responder (MFR)"
  • Recognise the ten types of unhelpful behaviours of friends
  • Apply the Level 1 core skills of an MFR - Listen, Empathise, Affirm, offer Perspective (L.E.A.P)
  • Apply the Level 2 core skills of an MFR - Challenge, Advise, suggest Resources (C.A.R.)
  • Explain how a Marital First Responder can maintain boundaries - Challenge, Advise, suggest Resources (C.A.R.)

Materials for this course are used with permission by The Doherty Relationship Institute.


  • Basic English comprehension
  • Basic computer literacy 

Course Instructor

Course Staff Image #1

Dr Charles Sim, S.J.

Dr Charles Sim, S.J. graduated from the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London in 2002 with a Master of Science in Family Therapy. He did his clinical training at the Department of Child and Family Psychiatry, King's College Hospital as well as the renowned Maudsley Psychiatric Hospital in London. Charles went on to complete his Ph.D. in Couple and Family Therapy at the University of Minnesota (USA).

Presently, he is the head of programme for the Master of Counselling and Couple and Family Therapy at the Singapore University of Social Sciences, and the visiting consultant for family therapy at the Psychological Medicine Department, National University of Singapore Hospital (NUHS).

Charles is a clinical member of the Association of Marital and Family Therapy (Singapore), and a fellow of the Asian Academy of Family Therapy (Hong Kong).


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