Family Connections™ is an evidence-based program providing education, skills training, and support for people who are in a relationship with someone struggling with BPD or emotion dysregulation. It is a peer program led by trained group facilitators who are family members and who have taken the course themselves. Family Connections™ provides: current information and research on BPD, emotion dysregulation and on family functioning; individual coping skills based on Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT); family skills; and group support that builds an ongoing network for family members.
The Family Connections™ program is provided in Canada free of charge by The Sashbear Foundation. Sashbear is a registered Canadian charity that depends primarily on volunteers and donations to offer Family Connections throughout Canada. If you wish to make a donation to support our efforts, you may donate here.
The Family Connections™ program was developed by practicing clinicians/researchers (Drs. Fruzzetti and Hoffman) and modified in consultation with family members. It is coordinated internationally by NEABPD.
Who Should Attend?
WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA FOR ME TO ATTEND FAMILY CONNECTIONS?
You must be a person in a relationship with someone who has emotion dysregulation or a related issue. This may be any close relationship - parents, grandparents, siblings, caregivers, close friends, partners, etc. You may still attend if you are currently estranged from your relative or loved one.
WHAT IS THE AGE REQUIREMENTS FOR PARTICIPANTS? CAN MY WHOLE FAMILY ATTEND?
All participants must be 18 years of age or older.
DOES MY RELATIVE HAVE TO HAVE A DIAGNOSIS OF BPD?
No. Many of those who suffer emotion dysregulation often are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. A confirmed diagnosis is not a requirement to participate in our course.
If your relative displays characteristics suggestive of emotion dysregulation, or a related issue such as chronic self-harm or suicidality, then this is the right program for you. If you are not sure, please contact us.
I AM THE PERSON WITH BPD AND I REALLY NEED THESE SKILLS. MAY I ATTEND FAMILY CONNECTIONS?
No. Family Connections™ is specifically designed for family members with a loved one with emotion dysregulation, BPD, or BPD traits, and not for those with emotion dysregulation. If you are the person with emotion dysregulation, BPD, or related issues, this is not an appropriate program for you. Please see our Resources page for listings of service providers throughout Canada with knowledge of BPD and appropriate treatments.
CAN MY LOVED ONE WITH EMOTION DYSREGULATION ATTEND FAMILY CONNECTIONS WITH ME?
No. Family Connections™ is specifically designed for family members with a loved one with emotion dysregulation, BPD, or BPD traits, and not for those with emotion dysregulation.
Attendance Expectations and Time Commitment
What is the time commitment?
Weekly groups run for 11 or 12 weeks, and classes are a full 2 hours long. In addition, each week you are expected to review and practice skills at home and complete short reflection exercises for discussion.
WHAT IF I HAVE TO MISS THE FIRST CLASS?
You must attend the first week in order to continue in the group. If you miss the first class, you will be removed from that session and go back onto the waitlist.
What if I have vacation/work travel/surgery planned and need to miss some classes?
We ask that you be committed and available for all scheduled classes. You must attend the first week in order to continue in the group. Skills build on the previous weeks so it is important to commit only if you can participate in the majority of the classes. We do understand that emergencies arise and you can contact us if you need to miss a week unexpectedly. If you miss two or more classes, you may be asked to withdraw from the group.
WHAT IS THE COMMITMENT FOR A WEEKEND INTENSIVE GROUP?
Weekend groups (only offered occasionally) run for 3 or 4 days. For weekend intensive groups, you must be in attendance from the beginning of the first day, and missing any half-day will result in withdrawal from the group.
Can I register for more than one person on the same registration?
No. Each registration is for one participant only. Each person must register individually and specify that they would like to be in a course with you. This is required regardless of whether you reside at the same address or will use the same computer.
My partner uses the same email address as me and I'm having trouble doing another registration. Why am I getting an error message?
We use subscription software which requires each person to register using a unique email address. Please contact us and we can take care of it for you.
What is the Cost?
No person is ever charged a fee to take a Family Connections™ Course, in Canada or internationally through NEABPD. The Sashbear Foundation is a registered Canadian charity that depends primarily on volunteers and donations to offer Family Connections throughout Canada. If you wish to make a donation to support our efforts, you may donate here.
WHY DID I HAVE TO WAIT SO LONG TO TAKE A FAMILY CONNECTIONS COURSE?
Demand for Family Connections™ is very high and there is a long waitlist. All programs are provided by trained volunteer group leaders, so our capacity is limited. We do our best to offer registration opportunities to those who have been waiting the longest.