Family Connections™ Program

What is it?

Family Connections™ (FC) is an evidence-based 12-week group that meets weekly to provide education, skills training, and support for people who are in a relationship with someone who has emotion dysregulation or related problems. Focusing on issues that are specific to emotion dysregulation, it is hosted in a community setting and led by trained group leaders who are usually family members of relatives with emotion dysregulation. The Family Connections™ program was developed by practicing clinicians/researchers (Drs. Fruzzetti and Hoffman) based on their research as well as their significant professional expertise in counseling people with emotion dysregulation or BPD and their loved ones. The program has been developed in consultation with family members and is coordinated internationally by NEABPD.

Family Connections™ provides: current information and research on emotion dysregulation or 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.

In addition to the 12-week format, Sashbear offers Family Connections™ in a two weekend intensive format. While the delivery of FC in weekend intensive format is also free of charge, depending on the location, there is a minimal cost recovery fee per participant for materials and food. Please check the specific FC intensive group schedule for details.

What's the schedule of upcoming Sashbear FC groups?

Please click below for information about current/upcoming FC groups and locations:

Toronto and GTA FC Groups
Ontario FC Groups
Quebec FC Groups
Prairie Provinces and the Territories Groups 
British Columbia FC Groups
Atlantic Canada Groups


How do I register?

To apply for this free of charge program in Prairie Provinces and the Territories, click here.

To apply for this free of charge program in British Columbia, click here.

To apply for this free of charge program in Ontario, click here.

To apply for this free of charge program in Toronto and GTA, click here.

To apply for this free of charge program in Quebec, click here.

To apply for this free of charge program in Atlantic Canada, click here.


FC Alumni drop-in group

Sashbear is running an online drop-in FC Alumni group. This is a group for people that have previously completed an FC group and would like to refresh their skills. Please see the flyer below for information about location date/times and topics covered. You can register for this group here:

What are participants saying?

While emotion dysregulation is hardest of all for those who are living with it, this condition is also very difficult for friends and family of loved ones that struggle with it. Family Connections really can make a difference, here are some of the testimonials from previous participants: Hope Changes Everything.

The Family Connections Program was designed by NEABPD.  See NEA-BPD Family Connections for more information about this impactful program and click Sashbear FC pamphlet for PDF version of FC pamphlet.     

  • We are all doing the best we can and we can all do better...
  • Let's remove stigma from mental illness and Borderline Personality Disorder...
  • We are all in this together, you are not alone...
  • Validation before problem solving...
  • Emotion Regulation Disorder is the new name for Borderline Personality Disorder...
  • Let's teach DBT skills in schools...
  • Let's intervene, let's intervene early...
  • Show me compassion and empathy first, don't just tell me how to change
  • Let go of judgments and believe in me so that I can believe in myself
  • Accept me so that I can better accept myself
  • We are all doing the best we can and we can all do better next time
  • Take care of yourself then you can attend to others
  • Be mindful - Observe, describe, participate effectively
  • Observe your own emotions rise and that of others, pause then engage effectively
  • Strive to be wise, not just rational or emotional
  • Change what you can, accept what you cannot
  • Validation is not agreement
  • Validate, Validate Validate
  • Be supportive, let go of judgements
  • We can't control having strong emotions but we can change how we respond to them
  • Hope is everything and is always there even when I cannot see it
  • BPD is more common than Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder combined 6%
  • The suicide rate of BPD victims is 400 times that of general population
  • BPD is the third leading killer of young women between the ages of 15-24
  • 1 of 5 seek help, 4 of 5 benefit from treatment
  • 4,000 young people die by suicide per year in Canada
  • I am not the disorder. I am a person
  • Stop the Stigma - by Speaking Up
  • Living with BPD is like not having an emotional skin
  • Genetic vulnerabilities and invalidating environment could lead to BPD
  • Breathe
  • Mindfulness is not what you think
  • Mindfulness is being present moment to moment
  • Mindfulness is just observing, paying attention to non-judgement
  • Patience, trust, non-striving and acceptance
  • Mindfulness does not come by takes practice
  • Let your breath be your anchor to observe thoughts as they arise
  • Observe thoughts as they come and go like waves on the ocean
  • Pay attention to what you are actually paying attention to
  • What we frequently think we become
  • Turning my auto-pilot off
  • Only that day dawns to which we are awake - Thoreau Walden
  • It is a radical act of love to just just down and be quiet for a time by YOURSELF
  • You are HERE!
  • Make each moment count!
  • I am a valuable part of all that EXISTS
  • I am Love. ALL is Love
  • The practice of mindfulness is not to follow your heart but to train your heart
  • It's OK, let it be
  • Smile at thoughts, they are empty. The only power thoughts have is the power you give them
  • The benefit will come to your life with consistent mindfulness practice everyday
  • Whatever you do to make it mindful!
  • Kindness is pure wisdom
  • Mindfulness is free or craving, want or hate
  • Be gentle to yourself as well as others
  • When you feel connected to someone that connection gives you purpose
  • Practice kindness whenever possible. It's always possible - Dalai Lama

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NOTE: please do not use the button above to sign up for Family Connections (FC) - our Family Skills program. To sign up for FC follow this link instead Family Connections and register directly from that page.