ACS offers resiliency class for families
Staff Sgt. Brandon Smith, a drill sergeant stationed at Fort Benning, Ga., is the 1,000th student to graduate from the Master Resilience Training Course facility. The school opened April 5, and trains Soldiers and DA civilians to teach resiliency skills in their units and organizations.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Almost one year after the opening of the Master Resilience Training Course facility on Fort Jackson, Army Community Services will begin offering resiliency training to family members on post. The first class is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday, at the Family Readiness Center.

The Army has taught resiliency skills to Soldiers since 2009 as part of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, which aims to enhance emotional, social, family and spiritual strength. Family members will be able to learn the same skills from ACS Master Resilience Training, commonly called MRT, trainers.

"We're presenting (these skills) to families so that they can become more resilient and be able to bounce back from any type of challenge or adversity they may face," said Marilynn Bailey, one of four ACS MRT trainers.

The first class will begin with an overview of master resiliency, followed by the introduction of three of the program's 11 skills to deal with adversity. Participants will be asked to identify an "activating event," which could be any kind of event that typically triggers non-constructive thought patterns, Bailey explained.

"For example, one of our skills is called, 'Put it in perspective,'" Bailey said. "Its goal is to get you in tune with your thoughts when you're faced with catastrophic thinking."

One possible activating event for catastrophic thinking could be that the spouse is late and has not called or cannot be reached. Bailey said that the 'put it in perspective' skill will teach people to look at the worst-case scenario (a horrible accident happened), the best-case scenario (he or she is late because he's picking up a surprise present for me) and the most likely scenario (he or she was held up at work and forgot to call).

Another topic covered during the class will be "active constructive responding and praise."

"Sometimes you criticize without even realizing it, because you're too busy to really listen to what (people) are saying, so you don't participate in the conversation," said Elizabeth Maher, ACS MRT trainer. "And so you're doing as much damage by not participating as you would if you were to say something really negative."

Bailey and Maher both said they benefit from the skills they learned through MRT in their personal and professional relationships.

"I think it's a very valuable opportunity for family members," Maher said. "I highly recommend it. I'm glad that I did it and that I'm an instructor. If I had the opportunity to do the class again, I would definitely do it."

ACS plans to offer additional classes to cover all the skills. Participating in the first class is not necessary to attend subsequent training sessions.

Bailey said she highly recommends that family members take the Global Assessment Tool, or GAT, which assesses a person's emotional, social, spiritual and family strength.

"We are encouraging family members to take the GAT regardless of whether they will attend the class, because it tells you so much about yourself that you might not know," Bailey said.

In addition to the class, which is open to all family members, ACS also offers MRT classes to spouses of drill sergeant candidates and is starting a pilot program with the 165th Infantry Brigade to teach individual MRT skills during a lunch-time workshop.

"Our objective is to match the (MRT) training that the Soldiers are getting," Bailey said. "If both partners have the training, think of what a positive outcome that could have on the relationship."

Page last updated Thu March 24th, 2011 at 07:54