Brief Encounters®


What is Brief Encounters?

Brief Encounters® is a training course for frontline practitioners who are often called upon for help with relationship problems. OnePlusOne has so far trained over 5,000 health and social care practitioners with great success.

What do people get out of it?

Brief Encounters® is designed to give you the practical tools, skills, and information to be able to offer timely and effective support to parents, whether they are together or not.

After training in this easy-to-use, evidence-based model, teams will be able to have effective conversations that positively influence couples to work through problems before they escalate.

The simple Brief Encounters® model will enable staff to:

  1. recognise the signs of relationship distress at an early stage 
  2. respond effectively to offer support}using appropriate and effective techniques
  3. review and refer to more specialist services when necessary

Is it effective?

As many as 97% of practitioners felt more confident after receiving the training and 91% felt a greater degree of control over their involvement in clients’ issues. After training, practitioners were:

  • more likely to talk to parents about relationship issues
  • more than twice as likely to feel confident referring clients to external services
  • four times more likely to use strength-based techniques [1]

What do people have to say about the training?

“I really enjoyed this, it has enhanced my practice but also given me confidence to utilise the information I already know”
Health Visitor, Warwickshire
“Very useful training. As a practitioner I feel better equipped to work with parents where there is conflict in the relationship and empower them to find their own solution with my support rather than finding answers for them.” 
Family Support Worker, Hertfordshire

Why this matters

In 2013-2014, 11 per cent of children in couple-parent families had at least one parent reporting relationship distress. This is the same as in 2011-2012” (Improving Lives, 2017).

Of a surveyed 5,000 people in the UK: “25% in distressed relationships” (The Way We Are Now, 2017).

In 2009-2014 in the UK: “7,989 partners with children under 16, and of these 1,782 were in relationships which could be characterised as distressed. The proportion of parents of under-16s in distressed relationships was therefore higher than the proportion of all partners: 22.31%, compared to 17.98%” (Relationship Distress Monitor, 2016).

Brief Encounters® helps practitioners prioritise outcomes for children by supporting the parental relationship and minimising conflict and separation, both of which play a large part in a child’s social and emotional well-being (EIF 2016 report). After training, practitioners are able to avoid situations where they are expected to ‘fix’ problems, instead enabling people to help themselves.

Get in touch

If you are interested in learning more, or would like to discuss your requirements and objectives with us, please get in touch with Kate Nicolle, our Learning and Development Training Manager, on 020 3309 7871 or email

[1]  Coleman, L., Houlston, C., Casey, P, Purdon, S. and Bryson, C. (2014). A Randomised Control Trial of a Relationship Support Training Programme for Frontline Practitioners Working with Families. Families, Relationships and Societies, 4 (1), 35-52.