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about us

Our mission is to spread hope that comes from relational transformation. In order to have a healthy brain, there are 19 relational skills we all need. We all know humanity is not perfect, so our brains aren’t either. We provide training and education to strengthen these skills and help people acquire new skills.

Our Story

The relational skills came to fruition in 2001, through the work of Dr. Jim Wilder. Chris Coursey worked closely with Jim Wilder in the testing and creation of the THRIVE Training which was heavily influenced by the research of Dr. Allan Schore of UCLA, Dr. Daniel Siegel (UCLA) and more pioneers. Wilder took the best in brain research to develop exercises that Chris tested in the redemptive community setting where he worked.

In 2002, the first in-person THRIVE Training was held. In 2006, the team did a major redesign to include intentional timing for skill practices for each of the 19 skills in every training track. 3 years later, THRIVE Training events go international where they have now been led in the US, Canada, South Korea, Australia, with more on the horizon.

For the next 10 years, more resources were published, more trainings were held, and soon THRIVE became known for gathering people to practice skills, build relationships and find interpersonal growth. 

THRIVE Training was originally a training launched through the organization, Life Model Works. Chris and Jen Coursey soon launched an independent organization known as THRIVEtoday, dedicated to creating training resources and running events focused on the acquisition, strengthening and spreading the 19 relational skills to the world. 

When COVID-19 disrupted life in 2020, THRIVEtoday had to pivot to create more online learning opportunities for skill training and practice. Through the pandemic, the organization launched shorter training events online, wrote books and developed online courses, and made the skills more accessible than ever before.

The History of Relational Skills

Have you ever wondered how THRIVEtoday’s Relational Skills were first identified? Are you familiar with Life Model Works but aren’t sure how THRIVEtoday is connected or why relational skills training exists?
Join Dr. Jim Wilder and Chris and Jen Coursey as they share the fascinating story behind the 19 relational skills! Discover how these skills are rooted in the Life Model and how THRIVEtoday and Life Model Works are still in partnership today. 
Marlene Allen, Executive Director of Life Model Works, will also join us as we discuss the exciting direction each of these ministries are headed.


We believe that relationships are what life is all about! We are relational people who strive to build relationships based on love and joy. We work to stay relational with others and work to repair the moments when our lives do not reflect our values.


With our founders having a deep faith in Immanuel, Jesus with us, we allow our spiritual lives to lead the way and help us grow. We are better at relationships because we stay connected with the living God. We build healthy rhythms and a group identity that reflect the teachings of Jesus. We seek to be teachable and allow relationships to help us grow. 


We value living with integrity and transparency. We practice the skills, live the lifestyle and share our stories with others. We pursue maturity with a goal of being at least at adult maturity. We take initiative and follow-thru on tasks. We are generous with others while taking care of our own needs.

Meet our founders

Chris and Jen Coursey live in West Michigan with their two boys, Matthew and Andrew. 

They have designed and lead the THRIVE Training program that uses brain-based exercises to train leaders, families, and communities in the 19 relational skills and the Immanuel Lifestyle.

Chris is an ordained pastoral counselor, published author and international speaker. Jen is a teacher, blogger, THRIVE trainer, and synchronized dance instructor.

The 19 relational brain skills and the interactive Immanuel Lifestyle have transformed the Courseys lives. Because of the profound changes in their own character and relationship, they want the world to hear what God has done in their lives and understand what He can do to help others.

Listen to Chris' story:

Listen to Jen's story:

How can you learn with us?

THRIVEtoday teaches relational skills, based on the most current brain-science, so your joy can increase. These brain skills are essential for your long-term relational, emotional, and spiritual health and vitality.

If you’re new here, start with education, then move into practice when you’re ready to go deeper.


We help you learn what the Relational Skills look like in everyday life and gain awareness of what skills you have, are lacking, or need to develop.

  • Sign up for our email list and stay updated on events, online courses, and other resources.
  • See the ‘Connect’ tab above for our social media channels, and subscribe to our YouTube channel. We have many free events and resources to introduce you to the skills.
  • Listen to our Podcast with short episodes full of real-life stories.
  • The Joy Switch book is a great introduction to the relational brain and what we call “Skill 0” in the 19 relational skills. You’ll find useful practices you can use right away!
  • Take our Free Assessment to measure your ability to stay relationally engaged.
  • Watch our mini series, “How The Relational Skills Address My Biggest Problems?”
  • Begin working through our Foundational 5 Resources. Start with the free webinars, then move onto the courses to learn the theory behind the skills and how to practice them.
  • Our previously-live 30-60 minute webinars provide a foundational understanding of relational skills.


We can help you acquire and strengthen the skills that you are lacking, and show you how to pass them on to those you love. 

  • Our Foundational 5 course gives you the perfect introduction to the relational skills with a little bit of practice.
  • Our past online events are 2-3 hours long and include both teaching and practice exercises.
  • Explore our skill practice courses and start forming habits that will help you grow!
  • Join a LIVE online skill practice class – available 3-4 times a year.
  • Join a Habit Builder Group and go through a skill practice course with others each week.
  • To dig deeper into the skill theory, take our most in-depth educational courses – Course 1, Course 2, and Course 3.
  • For those who are serious and eager to jumpstart their skill training, our 5-Day in-person training is a great place for a skill training intensive and to acquire skills that you don’t have. Learn more HERE!

Official info

If you have questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.