Menu Close

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 borderline personality disorder (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; and may also be mental health professionals Dr. Alan Fruzzetti and Dr. Perry Hoffman developed the course based on their research1 as well as their significant professional expertise in counselling 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 Behaviour 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 family groups that are community based and led by trained family members and/or mental health professionals. Survey data from previous courses show that after completing the course, family members generally 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)
  • Support for parents, spouses, children, and siblings of someone with BPD

Course content focuses on:

  • Education and research about BPD
  • Family Perspectives and Experiences
  • Relationship Mindfulness Skills
  • Emotion Regulation Skills
  • Effective Communication Skills
  • Validation Skills
  • Problem Management Skills


Click here to contact someone in your region about Family Connections groups

For people who are interested in becoming Family Connections leaders, from time to time there is a Family Connections Leaders training (FCLT), which provides training and ongoing support to enable participants to lead Family Connections programs. Click here for information about FC leader’s training.