Nov 282013

Presented what I have learned putting together the Handling Intense Emotions curriculum to 12 seasoned social workers on Friday Nov 22 at a continuing education event hosted at Hamburger University by the University of Chicago. Technical glitches abounded, not with the Articulate Storyline software used to create the digitized portion of the curriculum, but the general old fashioned kind, getting the sound of a computer and out into the world. There are pitfalls to a curriuculum that uses digitized media. It raised a question: Do we need to build an analog back-up to Handling Intense Emotions.

Feedback-wise, it was a mixed set of opinions. One woman who works with a completely different population — medical students from low income communities — loved the validation and validation plus skills and saw how they could be used with stressed out young docs. “Of course you are overwhelmed. Who wouldn’t be?”

A very seasoned children’s services social worker chafed at my assertion that we were putting too much emphasis on trauma and not enough emphasis on other factors that contribute to children’s development. The trauma folks –and I consider myself one — are having their day in the spotlight. Trauma is finally being recognized for the harmful role it plays in our most difficult communities, neighborhoods and families. They don’t want the spotlight going elsewhere.

Strong EmotionsAt the same time, she thought we should not shy away from the psychoeducation in module 2 for youth. Some youth found the material demoralizing as it points out the disadvantages some youth must cope with in life. She felt strongly that it needed to be in the curriculum to help youth see that their emotional make-up makes sense.

Meanwhile, the module 4 faciliation manual for youth was completed. We are making progress!

Nov 152013

 November 2013. Rewrites of the manuals, with full HIE formatting, slows. It is a slog.

September 2013. A full rewrite of the manuals begins.

September 2013. Jazzalyn completes work on the module for lifestyle changes and preventing emotion episodes.

August 2013. We decide to split out the Dear-Man work and make it its own module. We move from 9 to ten modules.

August 2013. Kassandra Renteria, who plays a new character for Handling Intense Emotions, does a photo shoot and sound booth work. SSA allows us to shoot in the school cafeteria. Thanks, Keith Madderom!kassi-410

August 2013. Hired Jazzalyn Lamadora to work on the intervention. Jazzalyn is a former foster youth who moved this summer to Chicago to start gradaute school at the University of Chicago.

July 2013: Presented the origins and justifications behind Handling Intense Emotions at the Family Foster Treatment Association (FFTA) annual conference in Nashville. I was heartened by the response from treatment foster care professionals who saw the need for the intervention and appreciated the intervention approach. I enjoyed the conference, learned a lot and hope to return.

July 2013. Katara Watkins, doctoral candidate in counseling psychology at Howard completes a draft of a faciltiation guide for the Handling Intense Emotions groups for youth. She completes her internship at Lawrence Hall and heads back to DC to do her dissertation work. Godspeed, Katara!

June 2013: Our three student workers, Emily Claypool, Andy Wheeler and Mercedes Williams graduated from the University of Chicago with masters degress in social work. Great jobs awaited them and we will miss them. Andy reports he is already using skills we teach in his work with trauma survivors. Emily reports that she is seeing intense emotions everywhere she looks as a crisis response social worker for a mental health agency.

mercedes-5June 2013. Mercedes returns to the project to do a photo shoot to complement her acting for the scenes related to problem solving.

June 2013: We do some new sound recording and photos with Cipriano Cahue, who plays Carlos in our digitized material for Handling Intense Emotions. France Jean Baptiste, narrator extraordinaire, comes back for another day in the Sound Booth.sipriano summer 2013-4

May 2013.  Young people from the foster care system (all age 18 or over) are walked through all of the learning modules. They rate how much each scene held their attention and how much they learned. We decide we need to re-write and re-produce some material and add new characters. They pay attention whenever there is a foster youth involved in a storyline or is the narrator. Emily begins the rewrites.



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