4I Partnering and cohabitation


Eva Fraticelli,
CatholicCare Wollongong

Elise Phillips,
CatholicCare Wollongong

Thursday November 22 2018

Time: 4:20pm – 4:50pm

Room: Bluewater 1

4I Partnering and cohabitation

Intimacy in a Digital Age


CatholicCare Wollongong’s marriage preparation program ‘Partnership’ has been supporting engaged couples to have positive relationships and connected lives for over 40 years. Over this period the program has evolved to meet the changing needs of couples preparing for marriage. The most significant change observed has been the impact of technology on how we connect with others including our intimate relationships.

Technology has changed the way we communicate and the ways in which we develop and maintain relationships. Social media, digital devices, and the internet plays an important part in the daily lives of individuals at all stages of life and even more so for ‘Gen Y’, many of whom have never known a life without the internet. Technology has opened up many exciting possibilities for connection that did not previously exist. A significant percentage of couples who participate in the Partnership program have met online. Consequently this form of communication has many benefits for committed relationships, however, it has also provided new spaces to breach trust for couples and can be a distraction from quality time together.

CatholicCare’s Partnership Program has evolved to help couples navigate these challenges. The program seeks to expose, analyse and develop strategies for countering the difficulties of communication and connection that technology brings into our lives. During the course a safe space is created to allow couples to dialogue on the best approach for managing technology in their relationships. Despite these modern day challenges, what remains foundational to any healthy relationship is sharing intimate conversations and defining conduct that feels comfortable and respectful to each partner.

The conference presentation will present strategies and experiential opportunities which enable couples to explore their communication styles and set boundaries about how they communicate in their intimate relationships, especially in relation to the role of technology. Data collated on the impact of technology on intimate relationships will be explored which informs the content and delivery of the Partnership program with the aim of increasing relationship integrity, managing the role of technology and harnessing its strengths.


Elise Phillips is a Psychologist (BPsyc(Hons) MAPS) and clinical supervisor with 10 years experience supporting children, adults, couples and families. Elise has held a number of leadership roles at CatholicCare Wollongong in School Counselling and Families and Communities Programs. Elise is passionate about using data to inform program improvements.

Eva Fraticelli (BSci(Psych), GradDipPsyc) is a Psychologist and clinical supervisor with 13 years experience working with highly disadvantaged client groups as well as managing counselling and family education programs. Eva has a strong interest at developing and stream lining program systems and supporting staff in achieving clinical outcomes