Woodland attendees may be familiar with Bill Doherty and his organization Braver Angels, which works to overcome polarization in our country. We’re excited to introduce you to another program Bill leads: Marital First Responders. We asked the MFR team to share a few details about their mission and an upcoming workshop Woodland will be hosting.
What is Marital First Responders?
Marital First Responders came out of Bill’s research on “natural helpers”— people such as friends, family, coworkers and neighbors who act as confidants for people dealing with marital problems. Long before anyone seeks therapy, they open up to someone they already know and trust. The goal of this workshop is to help these support people improve their ability to help their friends.
Who might want to attend this workshop?
If you’ve struggled to respond well when someone shares about their marriage—or secretly wished they would stop complaining and take your advice—this workshop is for you. Your relationship status (never-married, divorced, widowed or married) does not matter, just the fact that people come to you for help. Even marriage therapists love this workshop, because they, too, are confidants in their personal lives. We’ve offered this seminar several times, and our most unique audience was men in a prison-diversion program who learned how to be helpful to the friends and family who confide in them.
What takeaways can people expect?
Expect to learn about common marriage problems, how to be better listeners (including knowing how to listen for serious abuse), how not to get ensnared in someone else’s marital drama and how to steer people to professional help. You are an important person in your friend or family member’s life. They know you and rely on you, and with improved knowledge and skills, you may find yourself more useful, better boundaries and maybe even less exhausted by that one friend who comes to you with endless complaining.
The workshop will be Saturday, October 14 from 9am-4pm. This training is not explicitly Christian, but is relevant for all backgrounds as Bill draws from his years of experience as a therapist, psychologist and professor. Onsite attendees will have the opportunity for personalized interactions and input from Bill.
You can register to attend either in-person or online below!