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Family Connections Leaders Two Day Training in Auckland

28 September 2023 - 29 September 2023


This training will give participants an understanding of the Family Connections programme and practical skills to deliver the education to whānau.


Date: Thursday 28th September and Friday 29th September 2023
Venue: Liggins Theatre, Level 1, Cornwall Complex, Greenlane Clinical Centre
Trainers: Dr Tessa Brudevold-Iversen and Dr Maria Sampson
Total Cost: $250 for the two-day training
NB: Whānau members are only required to pay $50 as their costs are subsidised by other

What is Family Connections?

  • Family Connections (FC) is a free 12-week evidence-based course for people who have a loved one who experiences difficulties regulating their emotions. This programme is delivered across the world in USA, Canada, South America, UK, Europe, Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • It was developed by Dr Alan Fruzzetti and Dr Perry Hoffman and provides education and skills based on Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT). It also gives whānau an opportunity to share experiences and develop a support network.
  • National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA BPD) in the USA is the parent organisation for the FC program https://www.borderlinepersonalitydisorder.org/ and free groups are delivered in Aotearoa by trained FC Leaders: see NZ FC website http://familyconnections.org.nz/.
  • Family Connections (NEA BPD) NZ Inc. became an incorporated society in March 2021. A charity to support the provision of  FC groups across Aotearoa was set up six months later. The charity ensures national FC groups align with the 12-week evidence-based programme and is coordinated through the NEA BPD.

Who can attend Family Connections Leaders training?

  • Mental health and addiction workforce who are committed to co-facilitating a 12-week FC group for whānau in their local area, as part of an organised FC programme, and have the support and approval of their service manager to do so. It is recommended they attend with at least one other colleague from their service. Prior knowledge of DBT skills is an advantage but is not a prerequisite.
  • Whānau members who have completed a 12-week Family Connections group in the last 18 months, and have endorsement from their FC group facilitator to co-facilitate future FC groups as part of a local programme. There is now a clear expectation from NEA BPD that FC groups are most effective when one of the co-facilitators is a trained family member FC Leader.

Who will provide the training?

Dr Tessa Brudevold-Iversen is a clinical psychologist who specialises in DBT for adolescents and adults, and is involved in treatment development of DBT for eating disorders. She was a co-researcher on a treatment development project utilising DBT to treat adolescents with eating disorders and emotional dysregulation and provides DBT trainings for individuals, teams, mental health services, NGOs, and universities. She is also part of training team at DBTNZ and runs a small private practice focused mainly on delivering treatment following experiences of trauma. Tessa has facilitated Family Connections groups and been involved in this since it first started in Aotearoa New Zealand. She completed DBT-specific post-doctoral study in Seattle, Washington, USA working with Marsha Linehan and other Behavioral Tech clinicians. Tessa provides DBT supervision and consultation to both individual clinicians and teams and is a DBT-Linehan Board of Certification Certified Clinician.

Dr Maria Sampson is a clinical psychologist who specialises in DBT for adults within a busy central specialist adult mental health service where she provides all modalities of the treatment. She also runs a busy private practice. Her research has focused on the effects of adverse experiences on mental health and clinical assessment practices. She has facilitated Family Connections groups since 2015 and provides DBT supervision and consultation. She has also been involved in developing innovative group interventions for psychosis and adaptations of DBT skills group curriculums for Te Whatu Ora Te Toka Tumai Auckland.

What will you get from attending the Family Connection Leaders training?

  • A certificate to enable you to deliver FC groups alongside an experienced FC group leader.
  • Access to resources on the international NEA BPD website (after confirmation of group dates).
  • As a FC group leader you will be involved in facilitating positive change for whānau with flow-on positive effects for the person who experiences hard to control emotions and their relationships.

What is expected from you after attending the training?

  • Delivery of a 12-week group within 18 months of the training, and regularly thereafter as part of a local programme.
  • Evaluation of each FC group and email completed FC (NEA BPD) NZ Inc group reporting form.
  • Facilitation of the FC programme as per the manual (not adapted).
  • Provide FC groups free of charge to participants in your locality.
  • Respect of the NEA BPD ownership of copyright over Family Connections material.

How do I register for the 2 day training so I can co-facilitate a group in 2023 & beyond?

  • Please email Leigh Murray (Whānau Advisor) lmurray@adhb.govt.nz for a registration form as soon as possible or by September 15th 2023. Payment will be required to confirm your place.

Any queries please email Leigh Murray (Whānau Advisor) lmurray@adhb.govt.nz or phone 021 938 226


28 September 2023
29 September 2023
Event Categories:


Family Connections
021 938226


Liggins Theatre, Level 1, Building 15, Cornwall Complex, Greenlane Clinical Centre