FOCUS

FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress) provides resilience training to military children and families. It teaches practical skills to help families overcome common challenges related to a parent’s military service, to communicate and solve problems effectively, and to successfully set goals together and create a shared family story.

Family Resilience Training consists of six to eight skill-building sessions specifically designed to help active duty Service Members, Veterans and their families stay strong and supportive of each other during stressful times. The intervention allows families to build their own story about their life experiences and how a family member’s past or present Military service may have affected them.

Learning 5 Key Skills

In FOCUS, families develop a shared understanding of how their own deployment experiences, challenges, and successes create a unique story to enhance their resiliency and better equip them to cope with future obstacles and thrive as a family.

Emotional Regulation

Family members learn to better understand their emotions and a common emotional language to make it easier to communicate with one another. Parents learn skills to help them identify emotional reactions their children might have, such as being worried or sad.

Communication

Family members learn to actively listen and respond to one another’s concerns. They learn how to express feelings, talk to each other, and deal with unique challenges related to a family member’s Military service. Parents also learn how to address their children’s concerns when they are worried about their parent’s safety and/or their own safety.

Problem-Solving

Families learn how to clearly define problems and implement effective solutions, as well as ways to handle day-to-day challenges, while recognizing and building upon their existing strengths.

Goal-Setting

Families learn how to set and take steps towards achievable goals. Parents learn to work better as a team in parenting their children before, during, and after deployment.

Managing Deployment Reminders

Family members learn how to develop a plan together to deal effectively with deployment and combat stress reminders.

What Is Resilience?

Resiliency is the ability to cope with, adapt to, and overcome challenges. With resiliency training, children and families learn not just to meet challenges but also to become stronger in the face of challenges.

 

Developed by a UCLA-Harvard team, FOCUS teaches Military children and families to understand their emotional reactions, communicate more clearly, solve problems more effectively, and set and achieve their goals. Parents and children—from preschoolers to teens—learn to use tools that will aid in their everyday interactions and help them become a more complete and functional family.

Families are directly impacted by a parent’s military service, especially if the parent returns with significant levels of combat operational stress. A parent might return home and encounter deployment reminders in their daily life, leading to changes in their mood and behavior. These changes can be upsetting to children and spouses, and affect parenting and marital relationships. FOCUS helps families understand how reactions to deployment reminders can influence relationships and teaches skills to deal with them.