By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterOctober 17, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (October 17, 2013) -- From the ever-changing economic hardships to day-to-day stresses that make it hard to get through the day, one Fort Rucker program is looking to help Families remain strong and push through.
The Family Member Resilience Training is a two-day class, Oct. 21-22 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at The Commons is designed to provide people with thinking skills and coping strategies to help Family members through tough times, according to Shellie Kelly, Army Family Action Plan program manager.
"Resilience training provides Family members with the tools they need to become more resilient," said Kelly. "It provides thinking skills and coping mechanisms that aid participants to thrive in life."
The training process teaches Family members the six key competencies needed to be resilient, which are: self awareness, self regulation, optimism, mental agility, strengths of character and connection.
"Resilience training is one of the best training programs that we have here at Fort Rucker," said Ruth Gonzalez, Army Community Service Relocation Readiness Program manager. "It teaches Family members or anyone who attends why they react to a given situation in a certain way and helps them understand what's going on in their lives so that they can bounce back from these situations."
"Military life can be challenging with frequent deployments, frequent moves, school changes and job changes, and Family members should gather many tools to help them thrive in the military lifestyle," said Kelly. "The more you can gather, the better, and many who have taken the course have said, 'this isn't really a training course, it's a lifestyle changer.'"
A lifestyle change is sometimes something people need in order to help them cope and move out of a difficult situation, and that's why the training tackles more than just what is on the outside, she said.
"Specifically, the training will include things like recognizing the connection between thoughts, emotions and actions; thinking traps; problem solving; assertive communication; and building strong relationships," said the AFAP manager. "It provides the tools that Family members can use every day to be a resilient, happy person."
Gonzalez added that reactions should be in the thought process, and a big problem that some people have is that they don't think before reacting.
"Life is going so fast that when something happens, people usually just react," she said. "In the class, we have the students stop and think about exactly what's going through their minds, then we give them the tools they need to start working with those thoughts so when they do react, they are in control."
Situations or life events can trigger different reactions from different people, and the training provided by the program helps people understand why reactions are different. It forces people to look at themselves and ask themselves why they react a certain way, said Gonzalez
The tools that are provided help people be in control and help them communicate with Family, friends, coworkers or anyone they come in contact with in their lives.
Kelly said that many who have gone through the training program have said that the tools provided and lessons learned were "life changing."
As a military Family member, Gonzalez has experienced the training and has been able to see how the training has helped in her life.
"I've learned to control some of my reactions and it's just helped me understand why I react to some things," she said. "This training is not designed to change someone and it's a lot of stuff people already know, they just didn't know how to do it.
"If I had this training earlier in life … it would have made life a lot easier," she said.
There is a portion of the class called "putting it in perspective," which deals with worst-case scenarios, and Gonzalez said that this portion is usually the hardest part for most people to go through, but one that is necessary because it's a possible scenario that a spouse could endure.
Although the training takes people through worst-case scenarios, it's necessary for Families to be ready and remain strong, said Kelly.
"The Army is strong because of the support our Soldiers receive on the homefront," she said. "(This training) helps the Families manage stress and challenges so that they can be the pillar of support behind their Soldier."
To register for the class or for more information, call 255-3817 or 255-3735.