Coming soon from Lionheart: The Emotion Coaching Workbook

16/11/16 0

  Dr. Bethany Casarjian, Lionheart’s Clinical Director of Youth Programs, introduces a forthcoming resource from the Lionheart Foundation  The Emotion Coaching  Workbook (EQ2) at the Healthy Teen Network Annual Conference in Las Vegas. (11/16/16) The Emotion Coaching Workbook is being written  for front-line staff who work with at risk young people. EQ2 uses a trauma-informed approach to help direct care staff best meet the social and  emotional needs of the youth they serve.

To read more about Lionheart’s Youth Project  https://lionheart.org/youth_at_risk/

PRISONER RESOURCE LIST

15/11/16 0

The Lionheart Foundation has composed a list of resources (mostly free) for prisoners nationwide.  The list includes free books and newsletters, pen pals and meditation resources.   To access the list please click on the link below:

https://lionheart.org/free-prisoner-resource-list/

Please share with your friends and family who are incarcerated.

We hope you find this helpful.  Thank you.

Lionheart Staff

Exciting News for the Lionheart Foundation!!

04/11/16 0

 

 

EXCITING OPPORTUNITY FOR LIONHEART!! This week a donor stepped forward with the pledge of a $40,000 MATCHING GIFT – IF Lionheart can match this amount by February 1, 2017. If matched, this $80,000 will support Lionheart’s expansion into public schools, programs for high-risk youth, and prisoners across the country. For 25 years Lionheart has made a life-changing difference in the lives of tens of thousands of people on the fringe of society. Please help Lionheart provide life-altering resources to thousands more individuals. To learn more about Lionheart please go to:  www.lionheart.org  To donate please go to: www.lionheart.org/donation/

THANK YOU for responding to this important and urgent request . Any amount is greatly appreciated. PLEASE PASS THIS APPEAL ON TO YOUR FRIENDS. Thanks again!!!

Lionheart’s Houses of Healing, Power Source, and Power Source Parenting Programs are changing lives and building futures.

JP

Houses of Healing Self Study Course for Prisoners in Solitary Confinement.

28/10/16 0

The Lionheart Foundation offers a Houses of Healing Self-Study course for men and women in solitary confinement. Currently there are hundreds of inmates in CA alone who are engaged in the program.

Since the book Houses of Healing was published about 150,000 copies have been distributed to prisons and jails throughout the United States. The Lionheart Foundation, publisher of Houses of Healing and the sponsor of this course, has donated about 60,000 of these books to prison libraries. Hundreds of prisoners have written to tell us how the book Houses of Healing (HOH) has changed their lives.

This is the only time I have ever reflected on my life and what led me to the way I’ve lived. I feel after reading Houses of Healing and doing the exercises a weight has been lifted off my shoulders that I’ve been carrying around forever.
Cynthia MCI Framingham, MA

This book has really been an eye opener to me.  So many years I have gone through many groups and one on one therapy and have never had the burden and relief that I have gotten from Houses of Healing.  I pray that anyone who reads this book can get as much as I have gotten from it.                            Robert   State Prison  Riverhead, NY

 Throughout my incarceration (28 yrs off & on), I have read hundreds of books.  I can honestly say that “Houses of Healing” has made the biggest impression on me than any other book I have ever read.  It has been a huge help in helping me reorganize my thinking while letting me know that I was not the only person feeling like I did… The insight        I have gained has been immeasurable.                              Phil  CSP-Lancaster, CA

      … Houses of Healing was for me the first glimmer of light on a dark horizon.

     … I found Houses of Healing remarkable in that it fit my situation right on the money.

     … I just wish I could have found this book years ago.

 Like these individuals, many incarcerated men and women get access to Houses of Healing through the book alone. They might find it in the prison library or a friend, staff person, or cellmate suggests they read it.  To make the Houses of Healing Program available to men and women in solitary / segregation, Houses of Healing is being offered in this self-study course. 

Assignments are mailed to prisoners each week for 14 weeks.  Like any self-study course, no one checks up on whether you do the assignments but like anything in life, you get out of it what you put into it.  As prisoners read the weekly mailings and do the assignments, we hope they will feel encouraged and inspired by what they are learning from week to week – and as a result, really want to do the assignments and step into the course with both feet.

Being in solitary confinement is extremely challenging for most anyone no matter how emotionally “together” they are when they first go in. Because of this, each session starts with a section called “Doing Time in Solitary.” The “Doing Time in Solitary” sections do not directly connect to topics covered in Houses of Healing. They are written to be an additional support while in solitary (as well as when prisoners return to population or the outside community).  These sections offer important advice, coping strategies, and inspiration, often from men and women who were locked up for long periods of time in solitary.

Every session includes “Participant Notes.” The Participant Notes give prisoners an overview of  the topics to be addressed  in that session. The notes also provide some additional encouragement, and suggestions on how to work with the lessons.

The pages titled “Self-work” give prisoners the assignments for the week, as well as worksheets that correspond to the assignments. If they participate fully, I trust that this program will be a great support for them – and perhaps like it has been for many incarcerated men and women before, a real game changer.

Being in solitary involves dealing with many challenges.  Exactly how challenging solitary is for each person depends on many things. Some of these things include: how restrictive the isolation is; the circumstances that preceded their being put in solitary;  how long they will be/or have been in solitary; and their emotional state/mental health when they were put in solitary. Other factors include how isolated they are; whether or not they have a cellmate and if they get along with him/her; whether there are others around who they can communicate with; whether they have a TV to pass some of the time;  and what access they have to books. Other key issues include the quantity and quality of mental health and medical services when they need them; how they feel they are treated by staff;  whether they have support and communication from people outside the prison as well as whether they receive visits and can make phone calls to people who are important to them;  and very importantly, what skills they have for managing their stress (anxiety, frustration, anger, etc.).  These issues and others greatly influence the degree of difficulty and challenge solitary confinement brings to each individual person.

In the Houses of Healing Self Study Course, prisoners are offered many skills for managing stress.  These are skills that can be useful wherever they are.  They will be encouraged week in and week out to give this program their best shot.  All research shows that long-term isolation takes a toll on emotional and physical health and well-being.  In this course prisoners are taught techniques that have been scientifically proven to guard against, minimize, or slow down this downward spiral – tools that keep the people who practice them more in control of their own life and well-being. The techniques they learn have been proven to increase resilience which is the ability to withstand or recover more quickly from challenging circumstances. Prisoners gain insights about themselves and their lives.  And they will hopefully discover greater psychological and emotional freedom – even behind bars – even while in isolation.

 “If I had to do that time in solitary over, I would work out daily, read a lot, try to keep positive thoughts in my head, eat only what my body needed, and try to keep my head up no matter what.” Ken. on death row at 16 years old

 

Interesting article on Isaiah B. Pickens, Ph.D.

21/09/16 0

Dr. Pickens was a facilitator at Rikers Island for the NIH funded study on Lionheart’s youth program, Power Source.

This article is an interesting glimpse into Dr. Pickens’ “passion”.

BE Modern Man: Meet “The Mentalist” Isaiah B. Pickens, PhD

JP

 

Social Emotional Learning

15/09/16 0

THE LIONHEART FOUNDATION OFFERS SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LITERACY (SEL) PROGRAMS TO ADULTS AND AT RISK YOUTH.
What is Emotional Regulation? Emotional regulation refers to the processes, both automatic and controlled, that we use to manage our emotions. For many adolescents who emotional development and self-regulatory capacities have been negatively impacted by trauma, explicit and differentiated instruction in thee SEL skills are critical to their ability to stay in school, hold jobs and, for some, avoid the criminal justice system. Early adversity arising from maltreatment, exposure to violence, and profound neglect undermines the acquisition of these SEL skills through neurobiological mechanisms and social learning channels. As a result, trauma-impacted youth often experience imbalances in their physiological responses to stress, exaggerated reactions to negative emotional cues, and possess fewer internal resources for self-soothing. Lionheart’s Social Emotional Literacy program for prisoners and at risk youth, Houses of Healing and Power Source, address these issues and help youth and adults learn strategies to carve out a new way of life — helping them break cycles of negative high-risk behavior; heal shame, anger and grief; and emerge with a new sense of self and a positive future orientation.

Prisoner led Houses of Healing Programs

15/09/16 0

Research on prisoner-led programs:  There are 49,000 prisoners serving a sentence of “life without parole” in this country. There are emotionally mature lifers and long-termers in any institution who would make outstanding Houses of Healing facilitators. Recently we received 30 evaluations from a prisoner who facilitated a HOH program in a Michigan state prison. The evaluations were exceptional.  We want to get data on these prisoner-led programs in order to “legitimize” and promote them. Some states do not allow prisoners to facilitate programs and others don’t promote it even though it is allowed. Not allowing mature long-term inmates to facilitate programs is an enormous waste of a very valuable resource.  Prisoner-led programs are a way to make HOH available to thousands more prisoners at little or no cost to prisons or the public. And, it gives great meaning and purpose to the incarcerated men and women who facilitate these programs. Toward this end, in 2015, Robin Casarjian visited a number of California prisons where prisoners facilitate the HOH program to explore options for this research.   Additionally, Lionheart will initiate a study on and seek funding for prisoner-led Houses of Healing programs

The Power Source Workbook New Resource coming this Fall

14/09/16 0

New Resource: Coming later this fall.  The Power Source Workbook, based on the book,Power Source: Taking Charge of Your Life, offers a theoretically-driven, high-impact, ready-to-use resource that requires no explicit training, preparation, or planning, is evidence-informed, accepted by youth and adapted specifically to the needs of at-risk youth.  If you would like to be notified of the release of The Power Source Workbook, please

Power Source  (PS)  power source workbook.

Lionheart has developed a Power Source “classroom-based social-emotional learning curriculum” for Berkshire Farms, a residential treatment center and school for at-risk adolescents in Canaan, NY. The program originally created is geared to clinicians while the new curriculum has been geared to the classroom teacher. Beth Casarjian, Clinical Director of Lionheart’s youth projects, is in the final stages of  copy design. Lionheart then hopes to raise the funds to work with school-based curriculum specialists to bring this pilot curriculum to another level, one that can be utilized in schools nationally.

At the recent 11th Annual International Mindfulness Conference sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Medical School, results from the Power Source NIH study conducted at Riker’s Island were presented by Dr. Amishi Jha from the University of Miami, a leading researcher in the field of mindfulness and cognitive neuroscience. Her presentation, entitled, “Does Mindfulness Training Help Build Resilience?” featured the data from the Power Source research which demonstrated that participants in the Power Source groups experienced significantly less degradation in attention over time than those in the control group. Her thesis was that in stressful environments such as involuntary confinement (youth prison) and military deployment, mindfulness meditation serves as a protective factor against the cognitive impairments caused by stress.

 

New Power Source Resource: Fall 2016

31/08/16 0

THE POWER SOURCE WORKBOOK, by Dr. Bethany Casarjian

In 2003, the Lionheart Foundation published the book Power Source: Taking Charge of Your Life (PS) to help youth impacted by trauma harness their inner-strength, resilience, and dignity. Power Source was originally designed to be delivered as a 13-session facilitator-led program with the primary target population being youth involved in the juvenile justice system. After leading the program toward evidenced-based status through a large NIH grant conducted at Riker’s Island in conjunction with our research partners at NYU’s School of Nursing, we realized that despite results demonstrating the effectiveness of the program in buffering youth against attentional-decrements, many professionals in the field were not utilizing the program as it was designed. Mental health professionals serving this population are often stretched thin between case management and serving as mental health triage. They often lack the time and resources to utilize a manual-based intervention with fidelity. Further, communications with agencies using the program revealed that there was a much larger youth audience to be reached beyond those involved in the juvenile justice system, including thousands of students engaging in a range of health-risk behaviors. After running focus groups in several different agencies and querying individuals using the PS program, we came to understand that professionals needed a theoretically-driven, high-impact, ready-to-use resource that required no explicit training, preparation, or planning but was also accepted by youth. They also needed a program that could be adapted to the unique needs of the population they were serving. Further, such a resource needed to stem the “knowledge-vacuum” that often occurs in agencies with high staff-turnover where staff are trained in a program and then leave, taking that expertise with them. The Power Source Workbook addresses all of these issues, providing an easy-to-use, highly accepted, and flexible resource. Pilot testing over the past year in school and residential settings and used by clinicians with diverse training backgrounds suggests that the Power Source workbook equips professionals with an evidence-informed and youth-accepted resource.

Contact: judith@lionheart.org if you would like to be notified of the release of the Power Source Workbook.

Lionheart Foundation Social Emotional Learning Programs SEL

08/02/16 0

The Lionheart Foundation offers social emotional learning programs for at risk youth and prisoners.

The Lionheart Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing social emotional learning programs SEL to incarcerated adults, highly at-risk youth and teen parents nationwide in order to significantly alter their life course.

Lionheart provides:
◾exceptional quality rehabilitative resources to be used directly by prisoners and at-risk adolescents;
◾resources and training for professionals who work with these populations in a prevention, rehabilitation and re-entry capacity; and
◾direct social emotional learning (SEL) programs for adults in prison; at-risk youth in juvenile institutions and public and private programs and schools; and at-risk teen parents in shelters, hospitals, social service agencies, schools and other community programs.

Lionheart also conducts public education on the need for transforming our nation’s prisons and juvenile institutions into places where nurturing emotional (re)habilitation, inspiring positive values, and imparting behavior patterns necessary for healthy functioning in our communities are primary goals.

www.lionheart.org

JP

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