Oct 152008
Authors: Jessica Cline

Students in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies focused on strengthening relationships for couples and helped kids defend against bullies at the Gifford Building Wednesday night, holding seminars for each topic.

Ashley Harvey, an adjunct assistant professor in the department, started the seminar with backgrounds of how attachment issues start when we are very young children and how they are the same issues that carry over when we are adults.

“We are the center for family and couples, so it is our job to try to provide research and skills related to creating successful relationships,” Harvey said.

“Because we feel like we have good resources and want to provide a community services.”

Children and Bullies

Toni Zimmerman, a professor in the department, developed the seminar to help children identify and deal with bullies.

Graduate students and undergraduate students from the Center for family and Couple Therapy helped to facilitate the workshop.

“We gauge ourselves on if kids walked out with skills they can use and ways of thinking about the topic,” Zimmerman said. “I heard lots of laughing, and kids were very engaged, so that’s a really good sign.”

Kids made posters, colored pictures, role-played on what to do when dealing with bullies, and listened the facilitators read books like “Room on the Broom” and “The Ant Bully.”

Zimmerman developed the curriculum to be fun, experimental, and memorable by integrating various learning styles.

She used catch phrases so that kids would remember what to do when dealing with bullies and used animals to teach kids that you choose to be a bully it is not who you are.

“(Kids) learned how to deal with bullies; we give them really practical skills and other kids to relate to,” graduate student Lindsey Nelson said.

Adults and

Attachment Issue

While the kids learned about how to deal with bullies, parents and couples learned about strategies for strengthening connections from Harvey.

Harvey’s lecture was based on theories from John Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth, Susan Johnson, and other relationship researchers, all of whose research and expertise focused on relationship issues.

“I chose this topic because it is the type of couples therapy that I do and it is how couples create the type of relationships they want, and there is lots of research to back it up,” Harvey said.

Topics covered included attachment patterns, patterns of separation distress, internal working models and how they change, distress patterns and the demand withdraw cycles.

Harvey showed a clip from the movie “The Last Kiss” to show a demand-withdraw relationship happening to keep attendees involved.

“We really want to make this a useful resource for the community and people that attend,” said graduate student Hannah Vaughn.

Staff Writer Jessica Cline can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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