Healing the Healers
Healing the Healers
When the Center for Child Counseling (CFCC) first envisioned their “Healing the Healers” workshop to support front-line mental health and medical workers in June 2020, little did they know how significant their training would become for a post COVID-19 world. The five-hour, half-day online course funded by BeWellPBC and Healthier Jupiter kicks off this month and is designed to address the stress and various challenges faced by helpers and healers in mental/behavioral health and medical professions. “Helpers and healers during the COVID-19 crisis have been showing alarming rates of anxiety, depression, ASD/PTSD, and even suicide,” said Renee Layman, CFCC CEO. “This is expected to get worse once the crisis is over/aftermath of this collective trauma,” she said. The training will teach self-care and resilience building strategies. “There is an amazing transformation when someone learns how to manage the situation they are in and put tools into practice and see improvement in their health and well-being,” added Anne Holland Brown, PhD, CFCC psychologist.
Helpers and healers are facing many of the same challenges as their patients and clients from COVID-19, but they experience the added stressors of burnout and vicarious trauma, which can lead to compassion fatigue. “Our helpers and healers are the witnesses and keepers of very difficult stories,” said Dr. Holland Brown. “They need a safe space to talk about their experiences and feelings, as well as learn strategies and techniques to manage the stress they carry in their bodies. It’s difficult to manage ‘unmanageable’ stress.”
“Healing the Healers: Creating Happy Healthy Healers and a Happy Healthy Workforce” addresses who is a helper/healer and their various roles; types and causes of stress; the biology/physiology of stress; Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their relationship to stress and well-being; COVID-19’s impact on helpers/healers; and the challenges faced by specific groups of helpers/healers, including helpers/healers of color and LGBTQ helpers/healers.
The five-hour, multi-media online training will provide self-care and resilience-building strategies through learning materials, video and role-playing, and pre-and post-tests to ensure participants are meeting learning objectives. A self-care kit to accompany and enrich the learning experience will include self-guided relaxation and breathing activities, a free pass for a yoga class, and positive affirmation cards and notebooks, among other items to help participants practice good self-care post-training.
CFCC will pilot the training with their own clinical staff mid-May 2021 to assess and revise as needed before launching publicly by the end of the month for other helpers and healers in Palm Beach County to take the training for a nominal fee thanks to BeWellPBC and other funders. The goal is to eventually offer this training live via Zoom, as well as in-person. Like CFCC’s other trainings, “Healing the Healers” will also be available to professionals worldwide through their Online Learning Center, and continuing education credits will be offered. In addition, CFCC will share “bitesize” education through brief informational videos and resources available on their website, YouTube channel, and social media platforms.
“Helpers and healers are caring for people who are struggling, while they are struggling at the same time,” said Layman. “Our training acknowledges the collective trauma from COVID-19, reduces the stigma of professionals needing support themselves and provides the assistance our helpers and healers deserve.”