©Family Connections is a research-based1, manualized 12-week course for family members with a relative with borderline personality disorder (BPD), or symptoms of the disorder. Developed by Dr. Alan Fruzzetti and Dr. Perry Hoffman, the program seeks to provide the most current information and research on BPD, to teach coping skills based on Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and to develop a support network.
Modeled after Family-to-Family, Family Connections classes are led by family members trained during a weekend training retreat. The effort of Family Connections is coordinated by the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA.BPD); with preliminary research supported by the National Institute of Mental Health. Data documents that family members experience a decrease in depression, burden, grief and an increase in empowerment.
The course is available in many locations across the country. Participants and NEA.BPD supporters are invited to give a donation to the organization to help support the growth of Family Connections. Suggested donation is $50 or more if possible.
Family Connections includes:
- Education on BPD
- Research on BPD
- Skills training based on Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) in the context of a supportive group environment.
- The information presented is based on effective treatment theories and practices, and the latest research findings to provide the foundation for a better understanding of this complex disorder.
- For parents, spouses, children, and siblings of someone with borderline personality disorder.
- based on effective treatment theories and practices, and the latest research findings to provide the foundation for a better understanding of this complex disorder.
- To help participants obtain the latest knowledge and to develop skills for their own well-being.
- An adaptation of a decade of professionally-led Dialectical Behavior Therapy family groups, these institution-based programs are now brought into the community and are led by trained family members.
Course Content – Topics Addressed Include:
- Education on BPD
- Research on BPD
- Family Perspectives and Experiences
- Relationship Mindfulness Skills
- Emotion Regulation Skills
- Effective Communication Skills
- Validation Skills
- Problem Management Skills
1Published Articles About Family Connections
Perry D. Hoffman, Ph.D., Alan E. Fruzzetti, Ph.D., Ellie Buteau, Ph.D., Emily R. Neiditch, Dixianne Penney, Dr.P.H., Martha L. Bruce, Ph.D., MPH, Frederic Hellman, Elmer Struening, Ph.D. (2005). Family Connections: A Program for Relatives of Persons with Borderline Personality Disorder. Family Process, 44, 217-225.
Rajalin, M., Wickholm-Pethrus, L., Hursti, T., & Jokinen, J. (2009). Dialectical behavior therapy-based skills training for family members of suicide attempters. Archives of Suicide Research, 13, 257-263.
Hoffman, P. D., Fruzzetti, A. E., & Buteau, E. (2007). Understanding and engaging families: An education, skills and support program for relatives impacted by Borderline Personality Disorder. Journal of Mental Health, 16(1): 69–82.
Family “Tele”-CONNECTIONS (TLC)
We now offer a new option for participating in a ©Family Connections program especially designed for those who are not in locations where the original Connections program is available. Family members from across the country can be organized as a virtual class group and can “meet” for the course weekly via teleconference for this new option known as our TeleConnections (TLC) class. Email and a online discussion group offers additional opportunities to network between classes.
We hope that in the future, this TeleConnections option will increase the number of family members who can access the benefits offered by the Family Connections program.
“The Sharing of Experience: Family Connections”
Read a first hand description of the Family Connections course recently published in Recovery Today.
Listen to this 15-20 minute MP3 audio recording as Perry Hoffman, PhD explains the difficulties faced by family members who have a loved one with BPD, how the Family Connections program can be of benefit, research about the program, etc.
Watch as a flash video – the same presentation with both audio and PPT presentation slides. Runs about 30 minutes.
Is this for You?
©Family Connections is offered in cities around the country as volunteer leaders become available. For those located in areas where the course is not currently offered, the TeleConnections program is a possible alternative. The demand is great however, and there is now a waiting list for both classes. If you think you might like to participate, we ask that you complete our online Registration Form. Should a suitable class become available, you will be contacted personally. All information submitted is confidential.