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Interactive Tools: Assessments & Online Workshops

Family relationships can contribute to an individual’s ability to rebound quickly from stress. Online assessments and workshops can help identify factors that can either diminish or build resilience.

Military Family Workshops/Programs

Military-oriented programs that are designed for the specific strengths and sources of stress in military families.

Army kids

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Comprehensive Soldier Fitness
FOCUS
Sesame Street
Marriage & Family Retreats: Strong Bonds
CREDO

The following are military-oriented programs that have been designed for the specific strengths and sources of stress in military families. They focus on four target audiences:

  • Comprehensive Soldier Fitness is geared toward the Warfighter and his or her spouse/intimate relationship. It was created by the Army but is also available to Navy, Marines, and Air Force.
  • FOCUS is geared toward families and was originally created by the Navy, but it is available to all services.
  • Sesame Street is geared toward families with young children from all services.
  • Marriage & Family Retreats: Strong Bonds is geared towards the marital unit or family and is run by the Army.
  • CREDO is a NAVY-run program geared towards individuals, couples, or families.

Fostering Family Resilience: Comprehensive Soldier Fitness

Comprehensive Soldier Fitness – or CSF – is an integrated Total Force Fitness (TFF) resilience-building program developed by the Army and based on 30 years of research in positive psychology and resilience building. CSF also can be used by Air Force, Marines, Navy, and Coast Guard warriors – it is not just an Army program. CSF is designed to give Warfighters and their families the knowledge, skills, and behaviors to thrive and successfully adapt to life’s challenges in an era of high operational tempo and persistent conflict. It includes:

HPRC's Total Force Fitness section has more in-depth information on Comprehensive Soldier Fitness.

FOCUS: Families OverComing Under Stress

FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress) Project
Initiated by the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED), FOCUS provides resiliency training to military children and families affected by deployment. The goal of the project is to address concerns related to military-combat stress injuries and combat-related physical injuries.

In the FOCUS program:

  • Parents and children learn to use tools and techniques to better prepare themselves for future deployments.
  • Families learn to understand their emotions better and optimize how they communicate with one another.
  • Families also learn how to identify deployment-induced problems/issues and how to implement effective solutions.
  • Goal setting is encouraged to allow parents to work better as a team in parenting their children before, during, and after deployment.
  • FOCUS provides learning opportunities that span all stages of deployment. Because families are faced with new challenges each and every deployment, FOCUS provides a continuous education for parents and children that caters to each individual’s understanding of the challenges involved.

Service members:

  • Learn how to talk with children about deployment and reintegration.
  • Learn ways to stay connected during deployment.
  • Learn how to manage combat stress.
  • Learn how to re-establish family routines.

Spouses:

  • Learn how to take care of themselves.
  • Learn how to effectively communicate with their husband or wife about potential changes in family routines during deployment.
  • Learn how to respond to and manage children’s behavior.
  • Learn how to identify and support their military spouse and their family when dealing with sources of combat stress.

Kids and Teens:

  • Learn how to effectively communicate with parents.
  • Learn ways to stay connected with their deployed parent.
  • Learn how to adjust to having one parent physically present.
  • Learn to effectively communicate with others their age.

Online Resources:

Military Family Skills
HPRC's section on military-specific challenges and strategies for families, visit HPRC's

FOCUS World
Offers educational online activities for families. Parents can watch videos, download handouts, and participate in private online chats with family members.

FOCUS has additional resources and tools for Warfighters and spouses, military kids and teens, and professionals.

Sesame Workshop Military Families Outreach Project

Talk, Listen, Connect: Deployments, Homecomings, and Changes
The second phase of a military outreach project created in 2008 by Sesame Street that offers support and resources for military families with young children. The project helps children cope with the effects of deployment, multiple deployments, and reintegration with a parent.

The Sesame Street project's goals include:

  • Reducing anxiety levels in children who experience one or more homecomings following deployment.
  • Assisting parents in coping with multiple deployments.
  • Relating to children through age-appropriate methods of coping with and understanding possible deployment-related events (i.e., injury, PTSD, rehabilitation, etc.).
  • Maintaining a feeling of togetherness for children and reassuring them they are loved and secure.
  • Providing parents and children new ways to support one another.

Ways Sesame Workshop can help:

Deployment:

  • How to prepare and plan together as a family before a deploymentHow to maintain a strong family connection.
  • How to stick to routines.
  • Tips on how to communicate to your children.
  • What to expect from children when one returns from deployment.

Changes:

  • How to manage information your children receive about deployment.
  • When to visit an injured spouse/parent.
  • Tips on acknowledging certain changes that may result from combat exposure.
  • Keeping children involved in healthy activities while their parent is deployed.

Grief:

  • How to explain to a child what death is.
  • How to provide comfort for a child.
  • Tips on creating healthy memories.
  • Creating a “new normal.”

Online Resources:

HPRC's Military Family Skills has more information on military-specific challenges and strategies for families.

Sesame Street has additional online resources and tools focused on deployments and homecomings.

Strong Bonds

Strong Bonds
An Army-based initiative to help build relationship resiliency led by chaplains. Through relationship education and skills training, the Strong Bonds mission is to increase soldier and family readiness. Participants can voluntarily attend an offsite retreat-style training that addresses the effects and sources of stress on military lifestyle.

Ways Strong Bonds can help:

Single Soldiers:

  • Understanding the importance of a supportive significant other.
  • How to make good relationship decision.
  • Learn to examine priorities.
  • Learn to evaluate a relationship’s potential for long-term success.

Couples:

  • Gain skills to fortify your marriage.
  • Learn to enjoy times of relaxation together.
  • Practice communication skills.
  • Test and improve relationship-building skills.

Families:

  • Gain skills to maintain healthy interactions with children.
  • How to maintain closeness through times of relocation and deployment.
  • Ways to maintain routines.

Online Resources:

HPRC's Military Family Skills has more information on military-specific challenges and strategies for families.

CREDO

CREDO
A chaplain-run program called the Chaplains Religious Enrichment Program (CREDO) for building individual and family resilience. Its motto is "taking care of our own." CREDO offers a variety of retreat-like events that focus on specific aspects of enriching individuals and relationships. CREDO is a Navy-run program with operations at Camp Pendleton, Camp Lejuene, Charleston, San Diego, Europe, the Mid-Atlantic region, Japan, the northeast U.S., Pacific northwest, and Hawaii. CREDO offers enrichment for individuals, couples, and families.

CREDO provides Warfighters and family members an opportunity to:

  • Gain self-esteem and self-understanding.
  • Learn to respect themselves and others.
  • Accept responsibility for their lives.
  • Develop healthy spirituality.

CREDO has different one-day and weekend retreat formats:

  • Individual Personal Growth retreats enable individuals to focus on personal and spiritual growth in a natural setting.
  • Marriage Enrichment Retreats provide venues where couples can grow in intimacy and love and explore their relationship and where they want to go together.
  • Family retreats provide opportunities for the whole family to get away together and grow as a family. There are also teen-only retreats.
  • Reclaiming the Inner Child retreats allow individuals to explore their past, what they have learned, and how to move forward.
  • Spiritual retreats give participants the opportunity to go on a spiritual journey.

Online Resources:

HPRC's Military Family Skills has more information on military-specific challenges and strategies for families.

CREDO's synopsis, for more information.

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Enhancing Relationship Resilience

Online assessments and information that can help you self-assess and strengthen your relationships.

Couple on beachClick on the links below to jump to each section.
Resilience through Intimate Relationships
Families with Kids Assessments
Resilience through Friendships

Resilience through Intimate Relationships

Relationship satisfaction is often hindered by small issues that can grow into big issues over time. All relationships have issues, but external sources of stress (such as deployment) can exacerbate even the best of relationships.

afterdeployment.org
For individuals interested in self-assessing their relationships and learning some skills to make them even stronger. Afterdeployment.org also has an eLibrary for in-depth information as well as online resources where you can complete self-assessments and workshops about your intimate relationships:

  • Marital Satisfaction Assessment
  • Improving Intimate Relationships Workshop

The Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center's website has a list of questions to ask yourself about your relationship. Given your responses, they can suggest seeing a counselor or trying self-help strategies. It is normal for relationships to go through ups and downs. Sometimes it is difficult to know whether to try to work things out as a couple or seek additional help. Common issues that couples face are communication difficulties, power struggles, money conflicts, and differences in parenting styles. You'll find self-help tips in the following areas:

  • Communication. There are tips that can help you communicate, such as using "I"-statements, perspective taking, timing, omitting distractions, and sharing issues.
  • Jealousy. Learn how to handle jealousy, with tips such as focusing on the importance of the relationship, expressing your emotions, communicating, being supportive, and helping to solve problems together.
  • Money. More tips help you handle money matters such as budgeting, credit history, and credit card advice.

Families with Kids Assessments

Parenting is often difficult as parents strive to keep their children safe and cared for and to teach them right from wrong.

The Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center's Parenting Issues section has a list of questions you can ask yourself about your children and parenting. They also list some tips on how to ensure you are being an effective parent:

  • Parents should give unconditional love to their children.
  • Parents must be consistent, clear, private, reasonable, flexible, and authoritative as a parent while promoting independence.
  • Parents need to listen, make time for their children, and offer praise.

afterdeployment.org has a section designated for military families with kids. It describes how one-third of children with a deployed parent are at risk for psychological and adjustment troubles. This section is designed to assess, train, and help decrease a family’s emotional strains. Each of the assessments and workshops is brief (less than five minutes), anonymous, and yields individualized recommendations.

Parenting Confidence Assessment

Caregiver Stress Assessment

Perceived Social Support Assessment

Satisfaction with Life Assessment

Helping Kids Deal with Deployment Workshop

Resilience through Friendships

Social support and having good friendships are important for individual health and happiness. They also help ease transitions for military families, including relocations, deployments, and multiple tours of duty.

Afterdeployment.org's Family & Friendships section has online resources where you can complete self-assessments and workshops that focus on friendships, social support after deployment, and information/assessments for combating isolation:

Friendship Scale Assessment

Perceived Social Support Assessment

Post-Deployment Social Support Assessment

Overcoming Isolation Workshop

Afterdeployment.org's eLibrary has more in-depth information on the above topics.

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Enhancing Individual Resilience

Online assessment tools and information to foster individual resilience, which in turn help foster family resilience.

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Resilience Characteristics
Spirituality
Behaviors that Could Interfere with Fostering Resilience

The following are some online assessment tools and information on characteristics that foster individual resilience, which in turn help foster family resilience.

HPRC's Total Force Fitness and Mind Tactics sections have more information on fostering individual resilience.

Resilience Characteristics

afterdeployment.com
A section on Resilience for Warfighters and their families. Designed for self-assessment to help you and your family deal well with life. The information can be used at any stage of the military cycle to bolster resilience. In addition to the family-specific information discussed above, individual factors that both detract and enhance resilience are described, with associated self-assessments:

Resilience Assessment

Forgiveness Assessment

Gratitude Assessment

Generosity Assessment

Optimism Assessment

Spirituality

Believing in something greater than oneself is a key component of resilience. Values such as spirituality, forgiveness, optimism, gratitude, generosity, and hope have been identified as influencing individual resilience.

Spirituality Assessment

Forgiveness Assessment

Optimism Assessment

Gratitude Assessment

Generosity Assessment

Hope Assessment

Seeking Spiritual Fitness Workshop

Behaviors that Could Interfere with Fostering Resilience

Sometime the behaviors that we use to cope with stress end up causing us more stress in the long run. Our sleep behaviors, our views about seeking support, smoking, and our abilities to balance work, life, and happiness sometimes get in the way of our ability to be resilient. The following are self-assessments for each of these areas:

Sleep Assessment

Stigma Assessment

Work Adjustment Assessment

Nicotine Dependence Assessment

Alcohol and Drugs Assessment

Balancing Your Life Workshop

Satisfaction with Life Assessment

HPRC's Mind Tactics section has more information on individually oriented resilience-building mind strategies.

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