By Shelby Clark Petkus
After its earlier success this year, Affirmations will again host a series of relationship skills classes along with HAVEN and Turning Point. Themed around health and wellness, the classes will have a different topic each session. The skills class is based on a curriculum development by the Northwest Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse in Seattle. (Space is limited for each session, so advanced registration at www.goaffirmations.org is recommended.)
Regardless of relationship status or history, the event (which is also BDSM and poly inclusive) will cover a variety of relevant skills for LGBTQ and their allies. Topics include personal accountability, healthy conflict resolution, relationship values and building community connections.
The following outline summarizes the program’s different evening themes:
Session 1: Anti-Oppression
The meeting will entail basic concepts about relationships that are the foundation of the series, including an anti-oppression framework that will guide the rest of the conversations.
Session 2: Values
This session will involving talking about the role of values in building healthy relationships. Individuals will explore and clarify their own values and discuss how such values impact their relationships.
Session 3: Expectations & Negotiation
Session attendees will look at identifying their expectations and negotiating from them as ongoing and essential components of building relationships. Skills will be explored for making agreements in relationships and for creating relationships.
Session 4: Accountability
The session will consist of accountability and “what it is and what it isn’t.” Several models of accountability will be examined, including ways to bring this skill to relationships.
Session 5: Boundaries
Boundaries are an essential part of healthy relationships. Guests will explore their choices about whom to set boundaries with and examine the tools used to set and maintain healthy boundaries with the people in their lives.
Session 6: Conflict
Negotiation, communication and boundary-setting skills that were discussed in earlier sessions will be applied to topics like sex, money, resources and jealousy.
Session 7: Community Connections
Relationships exist within the context of other relationships. In this last session, the importance of maintaining and supporting community connections will be discussed.
Each session will run from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday evenings, beginning on Oct. 9 and running until Nov. 20. The cost for the program is $35 for the entire series. Prices are per person. Specific sessions for therapist training on these topics will be held in November. For more information, contact the health & wellness manager at Affirmations, Lydia Ahlum Hanson, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-677-7223. Affirmations is located at 290 W. Nine Mile Road, Ferndale.