Council for Relationships has been an innovator and change agent for almost 90 years. Dr. Emily Hartshorne Mudd founded the organization in 1932, with the goal of helping couples build healthier relationships. At the time, the field was so new that there were only two other organizations doing that work in the US and no training programs existed for marriage counselors.

Following World War II, the Navy became concerned with the problems sailors experienced when they returned home from the war. So the Veterans Administration established neuropsychiatric residencies with Council for Relationships and we became an integral part of their training.

Dr. Mudd’s tenure as CFR’s Executive Director helped to lay the groundwork for virtually every aspect of professional marriage and family counseling. Dr. Mudd became the first female professor in the University of Pennsylvania medical school and in 1952, CFR affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, where we introduced the country’s first course on family, marriage, and sex counseling and provided courses and internships for medical students. Dr. Mudd was truly a pioneer in her field as at this time there was no tradition of marriage counseling.

In the 1960s and 1970s, CFR collaborated with the Masters and Kinsey research group and developed a strong focus on sex therapy and research. During the 1980s and 1990s, CFR shifted its focus back to individual, couple, and family therapy while continuing affiliations with the University of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson University, Widener University, and Temple University.

Today, more than 5,000 people benefit from CFR’s programs each year. Council for Relationships has been a leader in the field with consistent growth and improvement for 85 years, and will continue to grow and evolve based on the needs of the communities and people we serve in the future.