Family VIP Curriculum

We all experience some stress and tension every day.Sometimes little things can add up until you feel tied in knots and ready to explode. If you don’t know how to recognize and deal with this build-up, it may come out in violent or abusive behavior. The last person you want to hurt is the person(s) you care about the most.

This innovative group treatment uses compassion for self and loved ones as an incompatible response strategy for the dissipation of anger and anxiety arousal. The treatment, its theoretical and empirical foundations, and research evaluation are the work of Steven Stosny, Ph.D., and presented in his book, Treating Attachment Abuse: A Compassionate Approach.

When experiencing a diminished or weakened sense of self, abusers try to fill the internal power void through control, manipulation, and abuse of others. The rush of abusive behavior fills in gaps in the sense of self, providing a temporary illusion of wholeness and personal power.

The Family VIP Workshop specializes in brief, intensive treatment for abuse attachment relationships and for problems of anger and anxiety regulation.

Workshops consist of 12 intensive two-hour instructional and skill-building sessions with 52 homework assignments. Groups are open to all adult family members; each group includes invited victims. Abusers attend different groups from their victims, unless there is no safety risk in joint attendance.All abuse begins with a failure of compassion. Since occasional failures of compassion occur universally in close relationships, clients adopt, without resistance, the group goal: elimination of even the mildest failure of compassion. Elimination of the mildest forms of abuse through enhanced compassion prevents progression toward more serious abuse.



Module I:


HEALS, a five-step emotional-regulation technique, trains you to look within to regulate emotions. This internal focus makes you feel far more powerful than blaming your internal experience on loved ones. You learn to identify, validate, and change the core vulnerable feelings (guilt, shame, abandonment/engulfment anxiety) that trigger anger. With your own hurt regulated, you can relate compassionately to the internal experience of loved ones.


Module II:

       Dramatic Compassion

Compassion is power. Blame is powerless.


Module III:

       Lateral Self-Esteem

Enhanced self-esteem emerges in building bridges of cooperation and empowerment.


Module IV:

       Empowering Loved Ones

Power struggles produce only resentment and hostility. Genuine interpersonal power lies in finding solutions that enable all parties to feel regarded and respected. Empowerment of loved ones becomes a virtually inexhaustible source of personal power.


Module V:

       Attachment Relationships

The primary threats to viable attachment relationships – fear of engulfment, abandonment anxiety, resentment, and communication deficits – are addressed.


Module VI:

       Growing Toward the Light

The relapse-prevention packet recapitulates the key strategies for use whenever early warning signs of relapse occur. You have a free lifetime membership, which allows you and your loved ones to return for as many sessions as necessary, at no charge.