About Family Connections
Family Connections® is a 12-week course that meets weekly to provide education, skills training, and support for people who are in a relationship with someone who has BPD. Focusing on issues that are specific to BPD, it is hosted in a community setting and led by trained group leaders who are usually family members of relatives with BPD. Dr. Alan Fruzzetti and Dr. Perry Hoffman developed the course based on their research1 as well as their significant professional expertise in counseling people with BPD and their loved ones. Family Connections provides: (i) current information and research on BPD and on family functioning; (ii) individual coping skills based on Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT); (iii) family skills; and (iv) group support that builds an ongoing network for family members.
Family Connections is coordinated by the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA.BPD) and is based on research funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. It reflects a decade of professionally led Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) family groups that are community based and led by trained family members. Survey data from previous courses show that after completing the course, family members experience decreased feelings of depression, burden, and grief, and more feelings of empowerment.
The Family Connections program includes:
- Education and research about BPD
- Skills training based on Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
- Teaching and learning of treatment theories and practices, and the latest research findings on BPD
- Support for parents, spouses, children, and siblings of someone with BPD
- The latest knowledge and skills to enable the well being of participants.
Course content focuses on:
- Education on BPD
- Research on BPD
- Family Perspectives and Experiences
- Relationship Mindfulness Skills
- Emotion Regulation Skills
- Effective Communication Skills
- Validation Skills
- Problem Management Skills
New Family Connections leaders are trained to lead the 12-week course during a weekend retreat. This course is available in many locations across the country.
Participants in Family Connections and supporters of NEA.BPD are invited to donate funds to help support the growth of the Family Connections program. Suggested donation is $50, or more if possible.
Published Articles About Family Connections1
- 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 TeleConnections (TLC)
NEA.BPD also offers a new, online option specifically for families living far from Family Connections meeting locations. The TeleCommunications (TLC) class allows family members from across the country to be organized as a virtual group and “meet” for the course weekly via teleconference. Email and online discussion groups offer opportunities to network between classes. .
If you are interested in the Family Connections or TeleConnections programs, please complete our online Registration Form. When a suitable class becomes available, you will be contacted personally. All information submitted is confidential.
“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.