Family Connections ®
BPD Affects The Whole Family
When a loved one has borderline personality disorder, family and loved ones often suffer quite a bit. Since BPD can include a pattern of intense and stormy relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, they may be on the roller coaster of extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation). Changeable moods, high-risk behavior, suicidality and intense anger are often part of life for a person with BPD and thus, they become part of life for those who love him or her. Families of people with BPD may benefit from support, skills training and sometimes their own therapy. The challenges of dealing with an ill relative on a daily basis can be very stressful, and family members may unknowingly act in ways that negatively impact their relative. Family Connections is a free group program (run by family members themselves who have been trained) that focuses on the needs of family members. It is available in locations throughout the US as well as through teleconference.
The Family Connections® Program
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 research as well as their significant professional expertise in counseling people with BPD and their loved ones. Family Connections provides: current information and research on BPD and on family functioning; individual coping skills based on Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT); family skills; and group support that builds an ongoing network for family members.
Read a first hand description of the Family Connections course published in Recovery Today
In the 15-20 minute MP3 audio recording below, Perry Hoffman, PhD discusses the difficulties faced by family members who have a loved one with BPD. She explains how the Family Connections program can be of benefit, and the research that shows its effectiveness.
The Family Connections Program ®
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) and Family Skills
- 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.
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