Aspiring marriage and family therapist interns for popular couples app

Family and human development student spends semester developing content for Couply

By Jennifer Moore
February 7, 2024

Today, apps and virtual tools serve as a popular pathway for meeting people and building relationship skills. 3 in 10 US adults say they have used a dating site or app as of this year. But it extends beyond courtship, as steady partners often continue using these digital tools to improve their relationships.

Over the last seven months, honors student Tessa Guthrie has had the opportunity to go behind the scenes on one of these digital tools: a popular relationship app called Couply.

Guthrie, a junior studying family and human development and psychology, had the chance to learn the ins and outs of the app, which helps couples learn about one another, communicate and gain a deeper connection. As an intern, Guthrie even developed app content herself. Throughout the semester, she got hands-on experience developing questionnaires, quizzes, articles, games and courses designed to help couples grow closer.

Guthrie, who aspires to become a marriage and family therapist, was encouraged to follow her heart in researching content she felt personally passionate about or thought would be a good fit for the app. She also contributed insights from her previous coursework in communication, relationships and human development, allowing her to apply theory to real-world situations.

“What I enjoyed most about my internship at Couply was the ability to research topics that I’m specifically interested in and passionate about,” she says. “I was able to research knowledge on psychological dynamics for relationships, and apply my previous experience from classes to real-world examples.”

The internship also emphasized collaboration, as Guthrie had weekly hour-long meetings with staff to brainstorm, pass around new ideas and offer constructive feedback. Occasionally this collaboration occurred with people from international locations, giving her a chance to gain insights into other parts of the world.

“There was one point during my internship where I was on a team with all Australians,” Guthrie says. “So it was very interesting to learn about the different relationship dynamics across cultures.”

The internship, which was coordinated by faculty member Bobbi Woods at the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, was a successful way for Guthrie to test the waters in her career interests. Now, the junior says she feels more assured in her aspirations to help families and couples grow together.

“[The internship] ultimately made me feel more confident in my career path,” she says. “I would recommend this internship to any students interested in couples and relationships.”