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Family Resilience Academy helps participants identify strengths, teaches them to positively interact with others

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Posted: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 4:30 am

Gaynell Turner was tired of not having control.

After a suggestion from a colleague, Turner decided to attend the Family Resilience Academy offered by Army Community Service at Fort Hood.

Soldiers, Defense Department civilians and their families seeking to learn resilience can attend the academy, where they can identify their character strengths and learn how to use them to positively interact with others.

Turner, a civilian, was one of nearly a dozen people who attended the fourth of five weekly sessions Thursday at Oveta Culp Hobby Building at Fort Hood.

“Normally, when a situation occurs and I have no control over it, I usually jump to the worst possible thing that can happen,” she said. “The class taught me to examine the whole situation.”

Turner said she is already reevaluating situations by thinking about the outcome before reacting.

The class also taught her to avoid going into her usual panic mode by using different techniques, such as breathing exercises to handle anxiety and help her relax.

She’s already implemented those techniques in her daily life and plans to use them long-term.

Junior John, an instructor for the program, taught a portion of the class that deals with strength and characterization of oneself.

“If you can identify the (character) strength that is inside of you, you can be able to overcome challenges,” he said.

Everyone faces obstacles in life, John said. The outcome of the program is to make sure families participating in the program have a better way of dealing with situations by providing them with a way of gaining an optimistic and positive outlook on life.

The course’s running theme is to look at the overall big picture instead of just focusing on the smaller issue and letting it affect day-to-day interactions with others. John said his hope is the participants use the techniques instilled in them throughout the course to build better relationships with coworkers or family members.

Stephanie Mello, acting operations branch manager at Army Community Service, said the academy monitors the progress of the participants every six and 18 months with surveys asking how they are using the skills and if they are still helpful. Mello said the responses she got back showed the program positively affects participants’ lives.

“This training helps us bring families back together again,” she said. “It provides another tool in their tool belt.”


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