Session 2 Tip Sheet: Healthy Relationships

About Session 2
In session two, participants discuss the differences between healthy, unhealthy, and confusing relationships. Please watch the LEAP Session 2 video and then review the information below to learn the main points of the training and how you can practice the concepts with the people who you support.

Main Points

How to Support

There are three kinds of relationships: healthy, unhealthy and confusing.

Review the three kinds of relationships to make them part of your everyday language. Ask the people who you support about the people in their lives. What kind of relationship do they have? Are they healthy, unhealthy or confusing? If the people who you support have interactions with others that seem helpful, remind them that is what a healthy relationship looks like. If they have a disrespectful interaction, remind them that it is an unhealthy relationship.

Healthy relationships are with people you trust and who want you to be safe.

Give the people who you support examples of healthy relationships, such as:

  • you should feel very comfortable in a healthy relationship, and
  • you can say whatever you want to say and not feel worried or embarrassed if you make a mistake.

Confusing relationships are with people who are sometimes respectful and sometimes disrespectful. You might feel uneasy or like you have to watch what you say or do around these people.

Remind the people who you support that some relationships are confusing and they do not have to trust these people. Sometimes a person seems trustworthy, but sometimes they do not. Confusing relationships are confusing! Sometimes you feel nervous or afraid to say something. 

Unhealthy relationships are with people who try to trick you, hurt you, steal from you, or touch you even when you say you do not like it.

Remind the people who you support that there are unhealthy relationships and give some examples. Talk about how unhealthy relationships may make you feel nervous, scared, or uncomfortable.

Men and women have some of the same body parts and some different ones. For example:

  • men’s private body parts are penis, testicles, and anus; and
  • women’s private body parts are breasts, vagina, and anus.

Remind the people who you support that there are different names for men’s and women’s private parts and they are not bad words. Repeat the names so the people who you support are familiar with using these words. Model saying the words without embarrassment or shyness.

It is important to call your body parts by the right names. That way, if you are hurt or need help, you can explain to someone in words that everyone will understand.

Remind the people who you support of the importance of using the correct names for body parts so that they can accurately report to someone if they are touched in a sexual way without their consent, or if they are exposed to others touching themselves in inappropriate ways.

People should ask permission to touch your body. You choose if someone is allowed to touch you.

Remind the people who you support that no one should touch them without their permission. There are many ways to tell someone that they should ask to touch you before doing so. Help the people who you support to figure out the best way to do this. Also, remind them that they should ask permission before they touch someone else. Model this concept by always asking permission before you touch someone, especially if you are helping them with personal tasks, like bathing, getting dressed, or using the bathroom.

Giving consent is very important! Everyone has a different way to say “no” or “stop it.” If you are touching someone, and they say “no,” do not touch them. Saying nothing is not giving permission!

Give examples of ways to say “no,” such as:

  • “I don’t feel like it today.”
  • “I don’t want this right now.”

Include examples of using body language, such as:

  • shaking your head,
  • putting your hand up, and
  • turning away.

Practice with the people who you support. Reinforce that saying nothing is not giving permission.

Developed by the Partnership for People with Disabilities and the School of Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University, 2019. 
For more information, please contact, LEAP.