UK Happenings

UK Family Center Offering Free Relationship Checkups

Couple smiling at laptop in kitchen
Photo credit: nortonrsx, iStock / Getty Images Plus

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 27, 2022) — Add a relationship checkup, along with the chocolate, flowers or cards you gift your Valentine this year.

The University of Kentucky Family Center is once again offering its free Relationship Checkups sessions this Valentine’s Day. The free 60-minute checkup appointments are available to any couple in Kentucky from Feb. 7-16, taking place virtually and in-person, excluding Sunday, Feb. 13.

“Relationship checkups help us maintain and strengthen the emotional bond we have with a romantic partner. Our emotional bond needs routine reviews like car maintenance or visiting the dentist every six months to help maintain healthy teeth and gums. Scheduling a relationship checkup for your romantic relationship is one way to routinely check in with our partners to see how the relationship is going,” said Tracey Werner-Wilson, director of the UK Family Center.

After scheduling an appointment, "couples can expect to complete a brief questionnaire that asks them questions about their relationship, including questions about how often they have fun together, level of comfort and respect with partner, etc. Our therapists will review the responses of couples to identify strengths in their relationships," said Ron Werner-Wilson, a professor in the Department of Family Sciences, who supervises students in the couple and family therapy program.

These relationship checkups focus on discovering the couple's strengths. After identifying their specific strengths, each couple learns how they can use those assets to improve their relationship. All couples are encouraged to continue cultivating their relationship beyond the sessions.

Graduate students in the family sciences master’s program conduct the checkups as a component of their required practicum hours. Each fall, six new students join the two-year graduate program. This program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).

Students in the program require a total of 300 practicum hours of face-to-face client contact. For students, these checkups provide a great opportunity to gain some of the necessary experience.

Participants will receive a free copy of "Hold Me Tight" by clinical psychologist Sue Johnson, following their checkup, while supplies last.

"The 'Hold Me Tight' book is a great resource for couples because it is a road map to help them become more open, attuned and responsive to each other," said Tracey Werner-Wilson. "Other self-help books tend to focus on solving the issues or creating a contract of give and take, like a bargain, between the couple, aimed at satisfying the individual needs within the relationship but fail to recognize the importance of the emotional bond between the couple. 'Hold Me Tight' focuses on the emotional bond between the couple.”

Appointments can be made by calling the UK Family Center's office at 859-257-7755 or via email at

For more than 30 years, the UK Family Center has offered couple, family and individual therapy addressing a variety of needs in the Central Kentucky region. The center can help with stress and anxiety, parent-child interactions, interpersonal relationship issues, and much more. The center is a part of the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.