Title: Healthy Relationships with Ourselves, Others & the Community

Facilitators Katie Thune and Anna Hayek of Mad Hatter Wellness with members of the Self-Advocacy Academy.

Title: Healthy Relationships with Ourselves, Others & the Community

This course includes 12 two-hour sessions to help self-advocates:

  • increase confidence, self-esteem and a healthy relationship with self.
  • understand that people with disabilities have a right to safe and healthy relationships as well as develop skills on this topic.
  • explore how healthy relationships and safe boundaries for all people can contribute to the community.

Session: 1a
Title: Healthy Relationships

Description: We will use the People in My Life and Relationship Circle handouts to think through the types of touch we use with different people in our lives.

–List the different people in our lives and categorize them into 5 different categories: Family, Friends, Professional, Romantic, and Public.

–Describe the different types of touch with the different people in our lives.

– Explore how each person gets to choose the type of touch they use and how this might change from day to day, with our mood, or in different locations.

Session: 1b

Title: Mindfulness

Description: Mindfulness will be introduced. Every session will include opportunities to practice mindfulness. Mindful awareness (or mindfulness) is paying attention to the here and now in a nonjudgmental way.


-Define and describe the difference between mindful and unmindful thoughts and actions.

-Experience exercises that help us practice mindfulness.

-Apply the concept of mindful awareness to our own lives.


Session: 2a
Title: Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships

Description: The group will brainstorm healthy and unhealthy behaviors in relationships. They will also discuss 5 aspects of a healthy relationship using a tool called the Heart of Relationships.

–Define healthy and unhealthy relationships.

–Describe healthy and unhealthy behaviors in relationships.

-Use the Heart of Relationships to explore and discuss 5 pieces of a healthy relationship.

Session: 2b

Title: Exploring Emotions

Description: Learn about emotions (reactions we have to things that happen around us) and feelings (words we use to describe emotions). We’ll practice different ways to express emotions in a healthy way (breathing, visualization, laughing, movement, etc.).


-Define emotions and feelings.

-Explore healthy ways to express emotions.


Session: 3a
Title: Safe and Healthy Boundaries

Description: The group will look at the Relationship Circle from Session 1 to think about the boundaries they have with different people in their lives. They will also use the Boundaries Flip Book to explore different scenarios and decide if the boundary is healthy or unhealthy.

-Determine boundaries that are healthy for you.

–Practice respecting boundaries and asking before touching someone.

-Explore healthy vs unhealthy boundaries in different scenarios.

Session: 3b
Title: Bullying and Peer Pressure

Description: The group will learn about bullying and peer pressure by thinking about why it happens, sharing their own experiences, and discussing how it affects their lives. We will learn strategies of what to do if they see or experience bullying and peer pressure.

–Define bullying and discuss why it happens.

-Define peer pressure and explore how this affects my life.

-Discuss what to do if you see or experience bullying and peer pressure.


Session: 4a
Title: Consent

Description: Communication and touch should feel okay and healthy for everyone involved. In this session, we will learn about consent and the importance of asking for and getting consent before touching someone. We will also discuss how people need to ask us for consent before touching us. Everyone has the right to say yes or no, and we will practice that in this session. Participants will explore what this looks like in their lives.

–Define consent.

-Practice asking for consent and giving consent in different situations.

Session: 4b

Title: Conflict Resolution

Description: Conflict is a disagreement or argument, and it is a part of life. Conflict resolution is coming to a peaceful ending of the disagreement or argument. In this session, the group will think about different types of conflict situations they deal with and explore different ways to resolve conflict without fighting or violence.


-Define conflict and think about how it affects our lives.

-Learn different ways to resolve conflict without fighting or violence.


Session: 5a
Title: Romantic Relationships

Description: In this session, the group will think about the differences and similarities between crushes, romantic relationships, and friendships. We will spend some time thinking about what a healthy romantic relationship could look and feel like. The session will also explore boundaries in romantic relationships by watching a video and using the Boundaries Flip Books.

– Learn the difference between crushes and romantic relationships.

– Explore healthy vs unhealthy boundaries in romantic relationship scenarios.

– Discuss relationships ending for a variety of reasons and coping with that in healthy ways.

Session: 5b
Title: Perspective-taking

Description: Perspective-taking allows us to consider more than one way of understanding a behavior, event, or situation. In this session, the group will practice perspective taking. This will help to interpret the behavior of those around us.

–Identify different perspectives or characters in a story.

– Practice and apply open-minded perspective- taking to social situations in our own lives.


Session: 6a
Title: Body Rights

Description: “My body belongs to me” is a key message and statement of empowerment in this class. We will spend time defining body rights and discuss needed touch vs. forced touch. We will watch a video that shows a person communicating their body rights and then practice communicating about our own body rights.

-Define body rights and needed touch vs. forced touch.

-Explore how to communicate about our body rights.

Session: 6b

Title: Stress Management

Description: Stress will come and go throughout our lives. In this session, we will learn about how stress affects our bodies. We will talk about the stressors in our lives and how we can manage our stress in a healthy way.


-Discuss stress and how it affects our body.

– Identify stressors and explore ways to manage stress in a healthy way.


Session: 7a
Title: Gender

Description: Our understanding of gender has expanded over the years, and this session will help to define gender. We will also spend time discussing gender roles and gender expression and answer any questions participants might have.

–Define Gender and Sex Assigned at Birth.

-Explore Gender Roles and Gender Expression.

Session: 7b

Title: Self Love

Description: Self love and acceptance of who we are helps us to live a healthier, happier life. We will talk about how our body image and self image have an affect on us, as well as make a plan to practice self love.


– Discuss self image and body image.

– Make a plan to practice self love.


Session: 8a
Title: Sexual Orientation

Description: In this session, we will spend time defining sexual orienation and some of the labels people use. We will answer any questions participants may have and discuss how people can support themselves and those they care about in regards to their sexual orientation.

–Define Sexual Orientation and discuss a variety of labels people use.

-Talk about how we can find resources to support ourselves and others in the area of sexual orientation.

Session: 8b

Title: Choosing Optimism & Going with the Flow

Description: Optimism doesn’t mean pretending that everything is great when it is not. But having an optimistic mind-set vs. a pessimistic mind-set can help with problem solving and can increase chemical balance in our brains. Choosing optimism or “going with the flow” is something that takes practice and we will explore that in this session.


-Define optimistic and pessimistic mind-sets.

-Discuss how those mind-sets are used to think about, react to, and approach a problem.

-Practice strategies that help to develop and maintain optimism in our lives.


Session: 9a
Title: Personal Safety

Description: To support participants personal safety, we will discuss two rules: Get Away & Tell Someone. We will watch videos and make plans for getting away from unsafe situations, as well as learn how to tell someone if something unsafe has happened.

– Learn the safety rules: Get Away & Tell Someone.

-Make a plan for getting away from unsafe situations.

-Learn how to tell someone and create a list of people to tell if something unsafe happens.

Session: 9b

Title: Mindfulness (sharpening our senses)

Description: In this session, we will go deeper to explore mindfulness. We will think about all of our senses and how we can be mindful with listening, seeing, smelling, tasting, and moving. By observing our senses, we can enhance memory, problem solving, relationships, creativity, and our well-being.


-Learn how mindful listening, seeing, smelling, tasting and movement can help us to be more present in day to day life.

-Explore different ways to bring these mindfulness activities into our daily life.


Session: 10a
Title: Online Relationships

Description: Many different kinds of relationships start online. We do a lot of our communication via social media and other online platforms. After spending some time discussing our online relationships, we will learn about ways to have healthy relationships online.

– Define and discuss Social Media.

– Discuss how to have a healthy relationship online.

Session: 10b

Title: Cyber Bullying

Description: Bullying online is common and very hurtful. We will learn about cyberbullying and what we can do about it through defining cyberbullying and learning ways to stay safe online.


– Define Cyberbullying.

-Learn ways to stay safe online.


Session: 11a
Title: Public/Private Places and Behaviors

Description: It is important to know the difference between private and public places and behaviors in order to stay safe. Private behaviors are for private places. This session will provide participants with clear rules about what makes a private place. We will spend some time sorting through private places and behaviors as well.

–Define and discuss the differences of what makes a private place and a public place.

-Identify public and private places and behaviors.

Session: 11b

Title: Taking Mindful Action in the Community

Description: Kindness is contagious. When a group works together in a positive way, feelings of kindness and opportunities for activating positive chemicals in our brains multiply. In this session, small groups will work together to plan an act of kindness for the larger community – this can also foster a sense of comfort, belonging, and optimism within the community.


-Work cooperatively to plan an act of kindness for the community.

-Reflect on feelings as we make a positive difference through acts of kindness.


Session: 12a
Title: Class Choice (decide on topic/topics during session 6 or 7)

Session: 12b

Title: Gratitude

Description: Gratitude is a feeling of thankfulness and joy we feel in response to something. This is the closing session for the course, so it will be a time to think about all of the things the participants are grateful for and bring the whole course to a close.


-Learn the meaning of gratitude and the importance of expressing gratitude.

-Identify things in our lives we are grateful for.

-Practice how to create a daily habit of gratitude.