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TRAINING

 

Positive Resilience Training and a Train-the-Trainer Course

Positive Resilience Training is for groups and organizations (such as State Bars offering CLE credits for wellness courses, Lawyer Assistance Programs, Lawyers Helping Lawyers, Family Justice Centers, and others) who work with attorneys, advocates, counselors, law enforcement, nurses and any other professionals who in turn work with clients or traumatized populations. This course focuses on: firstly, training the members of the organization in optimal well being, resilience and how to prevent secondary traumatic stress personally, and secondly, in a Train-the-Trainer course the learning goes further to teach those individuals in the organization how to teach others. 

Overview

In response to the need for neuroscience-informed methods to prevent or mitigate depression, anxiety, and secondary traumatic stress (also known as compassion fatigue), Hallie teaches positive resilience training programs. The programs incorporate a 3-prong approach: practical neuroscience along with evidence-based positive psychology and mind-body exercises proven to help build a resilient brain, a resilient nervous system, and a resilient mindset. 

Background

The 2015 ABA and Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation study of more than 12,000 lawyers showed 28, 19, and 23 percnt experienced depression, anxiety and chronic stress, respectively. 

Further, secondary traumatic stress (hereinafter “STS”) is a high occupational risk among lawyers, judges and other service providing professionals who listen to traumatized people's stories of fear, pain, and suffering and then unconsciously absorb some of the trauma are at risk for STS. Even the most seasoned professionals are vulnerable to this mirroring or contagion effect because it is nearly unavoidable to not take in some emotional pain. Whether professionals working with traumatized populations develop symptoms of STS or not may depend on how resilient they are. Some people are more naturally resilient and they bounce back sooner or later. Others can get stuck in a debilitating neurochemical deluge of fight, flight, or shutdown physiology. Those who chronically endure STS without fortifying against the effects may experience debilitating symptoms.

Why is Resilience Training Important? 

Lawyers generally rank low on the resiliency scale according to Dr. Larry Richard, expert on the psychology of lawyer behavior. Resilience can prevent or reduce depression, anxiety and stress.

Additionally, symptoms of STS are often rapid in onset. Sufferers can exhibit a host of physical symptoms among which are headaches and nausea, and several mental and emotional symptoms including hopelessness, a decrease in experiences of pleasure, constant stress and anxiety, sleeplessness or nightmares, and a pervasive negative attitude. Symptoms may also include, feeling scared, images of the event popping into your mind, avoiding things that remind you of the event, and many more PTSD-like symptoms. Repeated exposure to graphic evidence and clients’ stories of violence can disrupt the service-providers' sense of safety, trust, self-esteem, sense of control, relationships with others, and can result in a decrease in productivity and the inability to focus or provide effective client services.

 What is Positive Resilience Training?

Positive resilience training includes a number of recommended measures. Prevention of depression, anxiety, chronic stress and STS lies in personal self-care, social self-care, and neuroscience-informed methods for developing mental resources and inner strengths that provide overall well-being. Inner resources, hardwired into the brain and nervous system, are the main focus of Positive Resilience Training. They include: healthy GRIT, optimism, self regulation, and increasing positive emotions, among others. Additionally mind-body interventions that lower amygdala activation and exercises that create a balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system activation create well-being where we tend to feel calm, focused, healthy and good.

 What is the Positive Resilience Train-the-Trainer Program?

After completing an initial training for personal resilience, members of the organization may further their knowledge with train-the-trainer modules where they will learn how to teach the exercises that promote greater well being and help to prevent STS.   

More about the Positive Resilience Training content components:

The 3-prong approach (resilient brain, resilient nervous system, and resilient mindset) provides a proactive approach to decrease stress and prevent STS, depression, anxiety, burnout, and other health concerns. Here are some of the key concepts, content, and exercises:

  • stress reduction and anxiety reduction practices, some of which are proven to grow gray matter in key areas of the brain having to do with self-awareness and shrink gray matter in areas associated with stress
  • evidence-based positive psychology exercises that promote stress hardiness, more positive emotions, optimism, less negativity, life meaning and purpose, and connection and support, all of which improve resilience
  • how to abide more of the time in the responsive mode of the body and brain, which provides equilibrium, as opposed to the reactive mode which results in deficit and disturbance where the body takes on stress and internal systems are agitated
  • how to reduce the negativity bias of the brain including how to turn off the worrying, ruminating and self-critical default mode network of the brain, and how to set a new default mode where you’re focused on what’s happening now and being “in the zone”
  • how to tune into the deepest relaxation that lowers amygdala activation, turns off stress chemistry, and fully brings online the parasympathetic (calming) wing of the nervous system - this does more than just decrease stress; it decreases stress arousal where the body’s response to stress changes.

Positive Resilience Training content focuses on comprehensive keep-it-simple modules of “why to” and “how to” develop improved resilience using the most compelling tailored content from neuroscience, positive psychology, the science of character, mindfulness training, and mind-body interventions for a whole person integrated approach tailored specifically for attorneys and other professionals. The training presents such content in micro-learning components that are simple to learn, as well as time-sensitive self practice which is designed to take very little time, and which, with routine practice, is proven to create lasting change. Resilience training is a full day workshop. Train-the-Trainer is an additional training beyond the initial Resilience training workshop. 

What are the potential benefits?

Participants may benefit in the following ways: the lectures and the experiential exercises and techniques are designed to fortify individuals with mental resources and inner strengths proven to improve resilience. By incorporating the material learned into daily life, participants can expect to feel better with more energy, motivation, better sleep, and greater overall well-being for a more fulfilling and  sustainable career. There may also be greater ease in dealing with clients, as well as more personal ease in the aftermath of having dealt with difficult situations. The Train-the-Trainer course will provide an in-house, self-sustaining, well being program for the organization.