The Family & Friends Group has been operating continuously since 2015. Over that time it has developed a Manual to guide its operations, developing its own model to complement existing supports and training programs. The technical term, 'carers' is used to describe family members and friends. It often sits uncomfortably with us though. To be considered the carer of an adult person seems incongruous and this suits the awkward space that we occupy within the mental health system. Our model of support is peer led, informed by ongoing monitoring and evaluation. It exists to support family members, encourage learning about BPD and all it encompasses, focuses on developing the techniques that work to improve relationships, especially with the person with BPD. In our Family and Friends Group people learn how to support their loved ones, not enable them.
If you'd like to join us, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Below is a record of the monthly meetings of the group with supplementary materials used in the training component of the meeting. We hope you find these of use.
august 20, 2019 - Self acceptance
In the video opposite, Tara Brach hugs her evil twin! the video goes for less than 2 mins, check it out.
Radical Acceptance is a core element of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. After Marsha Linehan went to Japan to study Zen Buddhism, she introduced the concept into her work, she recognised that for people affected by BPD that this concept was critical to being able to accept change in our lives. Like all our concepts, it seems simplistic on the surface while actually this concept and the others we work with are deceivingly complex. This doesn't mean that its too hard to understand, it means that it takes time to understand. It is through the dialectic interaction between our thoughts and our actions that we reflect upon and gain the understanding that we need to better support our loved ones.
july 16, 2019 - radical acceptance
The group met as usual and welcomed some newbies too, others were on holidays or couldn't make it, so we weren't crowded.
One strength within the group is that we all understand and this creates a powerful sense of support. This is aided by our learning activities, for July it was Acceptance 101 where we considered the difference between acceptance and radical acceptance. Most importantly we considered why this concept could be of help, and learnt techniques to help us achieve radical acceptance. As with all the concepts and techniques we deal with, it is not easy, but the reward of helping us to better support our loved ones, is great.
We prepared a handout for those who could not join us: click here
June 18, 2019 - Mindfulness and positive psychology
The June session explored the explanation of Positive Psychology in how we perceive our world and the effects this has upon us. We learnt the importance of controlling our thoughts with positives and how to change our negative default ways of thinking.
There is a 5 minute YouTube clip that is a brief explanation of what Positive Psychology is (click on the flyer opposite).
It is good to be able to learn simple techniques to help us better control ourselves and help us feel empowered.
May 21, 2019 - MIndfulness and gratitude
It was a small group that experienced one of our most powerful sessions. We revised what we have been learning up to date and followed this with a brief explanation of the benefits of cultivating a sense of gratitude. Gratitude is one of the core values of our Family & Friend's Group, so it was good to explore why it is so important to our group.
We completed the session with a short meditation on gratitude and it was this experience that was so very powerful. In spite of the pain that we can feel as family members of someone with BPD, we can feel gratitude and experience the support of others just like us. This is energising and helps us work on the techniques we need to build better relationships with those we love.
April 16, 2019 - MIndfulness - Feeling emotions mindfully
Familiar faces were willing participants in a simple mindfulness exercise. Ania explained to us the importance of being able to work with identifying our emotions mindfully. Regular short mindfulness sessions are most helpful in reducing our response to stress. The link to the Smiling Minds website (to your left) has a short video explaining this - just click on the photo.
Next month we will be exploring how to recognise our emotions better in Mindfulness 102.
All family and friends are welcome to attend, please rsvp to email@example.com.
March 19, 2019 - Hierarchy of needs
It was a small but enthusiastic group of 8 who accepted the challenge of learning Boundaries 103. Our final session on Boundaries pulled together the previous earnings and allowed us to explore the implications of having strong values based boundaries. Using the handout attached we were able to questions our needs, especially our emotional needs and what that meant in relation to our boundaries. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs allowed us to recognise the basis of much of our fears and therefore how to address them. We had an excellent discussion. Click on the image to see the activity handout.
Feb 19, 2019 - The 10 Laws of Boundaries
We met as usual at Sth Melbourne. There were a few apologies, but we made a comfortable number at 14 people. This was the second of three sessions on Boundaries. The work was dense and challenging but rewarding. The US Boundaries experts are McLoud and Townsend and they are nothing if not direct. They break down Boundaries into these 10 Laws, just like 10 Commandments which is no surprise as they are immersed in the Christian Religion. The work for our group however was revised so that there were no references to religion or the bible. It is less distracting that way. Click on the image to access an abbreviation of these 10 Laws of Boundaries.
Family & friend's group model
Over time, BPD Community has developed a model of working as a peer led group to support families of friends of someone with BPD and to help them improve their relationships with their loved ones.