Exploring family strengths and family social capital through parents who completed an attachment-based couples training
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Using a curriculum based on Bowlby’s theory of attachment and the modality of Bowen’s family systems this study explored family social capital as couples were equipped with skills to help them feel more empowered in their interpersonal relationships including their intimate partnership, parenting and other relationships. This study employed a phenomenological, qualitative approach as a way of gaining a deeper understanding of the lived experience of committed partners as they attended a training based on the skills used to develop deeper relationships and family emotional connections. This researcher sought to understand the impact an attachment-based emotion skills couples training curriculum had on family social capital, strengths and family social capital. The following questions guided this research. 1. What meanings do individuals give to their committed partnership, parenting, and other relationships while attending an attachment-based emotion skills training class? 2. What meanings do individuals give to their internal working model while attending an attachment-based emotion skills training class? An attachment-based training curriculum was taught to 10 couples over a span of 5 weeks (1.5 hours each week). Two main modes of data gathering were used. First, each of the five training sessions was recorded using a digital recorder and then transcribed by the researcher into a word processing program. The instructor used probing questions throughout the curriculum, which furthered the exploration of the research questions and theory used as a frame in this study. Second, participants were asked to answer journal questions between classes using an online journal. Journal prompts were used to help guide the exploration through the lens of attachment theory and to answer the researcher questions laid forth in this study. Data were analyzed using holistic and emotion coding in first cycle coding and then focused coding in second cycle coding. Peer debriefing, member checks, and researcher reflection were used, ensuring the trustworthiness of this study. Findings revealed four themes, including a storyline that emerged from the curriculum: (1) This is Your Problem, (2) The Real Issue, (3) Kids See Everything, and (4) This is Our Issue. Finally, this study highlighted the importance of Belonging as an overarching theme of family strengths and family social capital.