Gathering Support at Exodus Wellness!

Kathleen Crowley, Executive Director, and Acasia Stratt, Director of Operations at Procovery Institute were honored to present our Gathering Support workshop to a packed room at Exodus Wellness on Vermont, last Thursday.  


Pollyanne Hornbeck entered our Art of Moving Forward workshop contest earlier this year and, along with Gail Sulser at San Pedro Mental Health and John Czernek at Long Beach Mental Health, won a workshop at her site. Pollyanne recruited widely for the workshop, and generously hosted guests not only from Exodus, but South Bay and Long Beach and other agencies in Los Angeles.

Gary Gougis, a licensed Procovery Circle Facilitator from South Bay Wellness Center, was a special guest. Gary facilitated the original Procovery Circle at Exodus more than 7 years ago (!!!) and worked with Procovery Institute to get Pollyanne licensed and authorized to facilitate the Procovery Circle on her own.

Here’s what Pollyanne and Gary shared with us after the workshop:

“Being a big Procovery fan, and running a Circle at my center for over 7 years, it was wonderful to be chosen to host a Procovery Workshop. The idea of having Kathleen Crowley run a workshop at our center was cause to celebrate! Our clients love the sage advice, the can do attitude of the book and the structure of the Procovery Circle. For the clients to meet the author of a book they are so familiar with was exciting but even more engaging is to learn firsthand stories of her life so that the author becomes a real person just like you or me. It was fun to plan the event and get other agencies on board — our turnout was great, and our community always fabulous. I felt supported and cherished at the event. To learn more about how Procovery came about was interesting and educational. Everyone should have an opportunity like this.”

-Pollyanne Hornbeck, Peer Development Coordinator

“I had such a wonderful experience at Procovery Institute’s Gathering Support workshop at Exodus. Procovery never fails me! To see the happiness and enthusiasm for Procovery, from so many consumers and family members and staff, just brings an overwhelming sense of joy to my heart. And to see Acasia and Kathleen so, so, so happy and enjoying what they do over and over and over again — Procovery really enriches everyone. Thank you guys for including me and inviting me to participate and please believe me, I left there with another sense of awe about the amazing POWER of Procovery.”

-Gary Gougis, Senior Community Worker

Gathering Support is one of dozens of workshops Procovery Institute provides. Gathering Support can be a hugely beneficial component of healing, but can also be profoundly complicated for many reasons. In the workshop, we discussed some of the challenges associated with support.

  • It can be hard to ask for support because the person might say no.
  • You might not want to accept support, because you want to do everything on your own. You don’t want to need anyone else.
  • You might not know HOW to ask for help.
  • You might not know WHO to ask for help.
  • You might not know WHAT to ask for. The healing process can be so overwhelming that identifying something someone can do can, in itself, be overwhelming.
  • You can be afraid you are asking too much.
  • You can be afraid you will burn out supporters.
  • You can assume that just because people love you, they should be able to both know and provide what you need. But people can not give you, what they do not have and/or what they do to know you need.
  • Sometimes the people we anticipate will support us in a time of need, don’t. And that can hurt and can be devastating. But at the same time, often completely unexpected people come forward to support us, and that is an incredibly beautiful surprise.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on support and how to gather it — feel free to comment!

The Gathering Support workshop was filled with many individuals, one of whom was Dr. Philip Valdez. Phil is the new Program Director at Exodus Wellness and he was able to take the time to join our workshop, participate and let us know his thoughts after the workshop.

“On August 25th, 2016 Exodus Recovery Inc. had the pleasure of a visit from the author of The Procovery of Procovery. I am the new Program Director at our Wellness Center here in South Central Los Angeles. It’s always a pleasure to have great presentations. One of our staff members, Pollyanne Hornbeck, has been facilitating a Procovery Circle ever since I’ve been here at the Wellness Center. It was a special delight to have this presentation at our site.

I was impressed by Kathleen Crowley and the personal story that she shared, so freely, with a room full of people. I was also impressed with the organization of the event. Kathleen and Acasia Stratt (Director of Operations at Procovery Institute) were very professional and they were quite timely; starting on time and ending on time. One of the things I heard is that there are only two Procovery Circles licensed to facilitate Procovery in Los Angeles. I believe a lot of people can benefit greatly from this book and the theory behind it. My hope as Program Director is that I can share this with other directors and have more and more Procovery licensed facilitators at all of our sites for Exodus.

The field of mental health has always been a great challenge. As a Doctor of Clinical Psychology, I’ve found that human beings still do not completely understand mental illness, even though it’s been around for a very long time. Anytime I see something new or different it warms my heart. We don’t have the answers. Anyone who says we do is fooling themselves or trying to fool someone else. It’s brave for someone like Kathleen Crowley to talk about herself and then to write a great book with great ideas in it like The Power of Procovery. I truly believe this program can save people’s lives and put them on a good track in life. Give it a read! Get licensed to facilitate these groups! Change people’s lives.”

Lastly, we wanted to take a moment to touch on something really close to our hearts. Our experience at Exodus touched us deeply. At Procovery Institute, we often seek to inspire all of you, to let you know that we appreciate you, encourage you to take a moment and remember why you do what you do, and to remember how you have the opportunity to change lives every single day... But, last Thursday at Exodus, it was all of you who did that for us. We could not be more appreciative for the experience and we wanted extend our gratitude and say thank you to all.

Until next time… and with profound appreciation. Always.

Procovery Institute

“Even if you could do it all by yourself, why would you want to?” 
– Lee Jones, MD

Uncovering Hope at Long Beach Mental Health Center!

As we posted last week, Procovery Institute announced, months ago, The Art of Moving Forward™ workshop contest. One applicant would receive a Procovery workshop of their choice, held at their site! When it came time for Procovery Institute to make the selection, we found some of the applications so compelling that we felt unable to select one winner… So we selected THREE!

Yesterday was the second workshop, this one held at Long Beach Mental Health Center. John Czernek, Senior Community Worker, submitted an application on behalf of LBMHC and was at the door, welcoming us the moment we walked in!


John selected Uncovering Hope as his workshop of choice. Uncovering Hope is one in an extensive series of Art of Moving Forward™ workshops available from Procovery Institute. Kathleen Crowley, co-founder of Procovery Institute and co-creator of the Procovery program, and Acasia Stratt, Director of Operations at Procovery Institute, facilitated the workshop and were so inspired.

It was an interactive experience which included participant sharing, group and individual exercises, Kathleen’s thoughts, along with fun snacks and prizes. So many participants shared changes they would like to make in their lives, what gives them hope AND what takes it away. In this workshop, we discussed protecting hope, which can so easily be trampled on, and we discussed the cycle of how hope leads to motivation, which in turn leads to action, which then leads to change. Change feeds hope, so the cycle can begin small and slow, but become a powerful force for creating the life we want.

Participants shared hopeful statements, and one in particular was reminiscent of one of our favorite quotes here at Procovery Institute:

There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. — Leonard Cohen

After the workshop, John shared the following  —

Inspiring and my clients really enjoyed it. Looking forward to future workshops and trainings!

Stay tuned for news on upcoming Procovery opportunities!

Until next week, where we will be Gathering Support at Exodus Recovery…

Procovery Institute

Uncovering Hope at San Pedro Mental Health Center!


Months ago, Procovery Institute announced The Art of Moving Forward™ workshop contest. One applicant would receive a Procovery workshop of their choice, held at their site! When it came time for Procovery Institute to make the selection, we found some of the applications so compelling that we felt unable to select one winner… So we selected THREE!

This past Tuesday was the first workshop, this one held at San Pedro Mental Health Center. Gail Sulser, Consumer Advocate, submitted an application on behalf of SPMHC and was there to greet us. We felt welcomed and appreciated from the start and were offered help by many. We were incredibly inspired and touched by each participant, and were honored to be there.

Gail selected Uncovering Hope as her workshop of choice. Uncovering Hope is one in an extensive series of Art of Moving Forward™ workshops available from Procovery Institute. Kathleen Crowley, co-founder of Procovery Institute and co-creator of the Procovery program, and Acasia Stratt, Director of Operations at Procovery Institute, facilitated the workshop and we had a wonderful time! 


It was an interactive experience which included participant sharing, group and individual exercises, readings from The Power of Procovery book, Kathleen’s thoughts, along with fun snacks and prizes. All participation is voluntary with Procovery, but despite the voluntary aspect to the exercises and sharing, all attendees enthusiastically participated and shared and there was much thoughtful and inspiring conversation, as well as a distinct atmosphere of compassion.

Gail shared (below) so much hope and positivity after the workshop —

Much happiness was shared in the hope of feeling better, being better and starting anywhere in the art of moving forward! Our consumers enjoyed the workshop immensely and what I learned today was that not only do we want to grow hope but we also need to take action and protect hope. Hope is inside of all of us!

We look forward to next week at Long Beach Mental Health Center!


Until next time…

Procovery Institute

A warm smile and an outstretched hand were valued even above the offerings of modern science, but the latter were far more accessible than the former. I believe that nothing a hospital could provide in the way of technological marvels was as helpful as an atmosphere of compassion. — Norman Cousins

Elevator Pitch for Hope


Hope is the answer to the question “why?”
Why get out of bed in the morning?
Why work harder than you have ever worked only to feel worse than you even knew it was possible to feel?
Why take a medication that is likely to make you feel worse immediately, and only possibly help you feel better in the future?

Hope.
In order to get up every day, put one foot in front of the other, and wade through the living hell that might be your reality right now, toward the not so visible light at the end of the tunnel, toward healing, there has to be some sense that things might somehow work out. There has to be hope.
He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. — Friedrich Nietzsche


Until next time…

Kathleen

The ultimate measure of a man…

In recognition of Procovery Institute’s two upcoming Uncovering Hope workshops this Summer, at Long Beach Mental Health and San Pedro Mental Health, this is our first 2016 posting in an upcoming series of blogs to be written on the powerful topic of hope.

In this posting, and upcoming hope blogs, we may say some things that are counter-intuitive, or that even sound somewhat hopeless. But we urge you to stay with us for an important series on a profound topic. We have been studying hope for over three decades, and learned, firsthand, from people who were able to hold the hope for themselves, or for others, in the gravest of times. We have learned how they were able to maintain hope, how they used it as fuel, and what they did when they could hardly find it at all. 

We know that hope can be seen, sometimes, as wavy and fluffy, hard to define or measure, far from scientific.  It can be seen as a tool used to “sell” something – something someone might use as a smokescreen, a way to manipulate people, attract voters in a political setting, a way of ignoring the reality of the circumstances and/or current times. In essence, hope can be seen, and discounted, as merely seeking to offer what others want to hear, without the possibility of actually delivering the promise.

Hope can be confusing. Searching for hope can be painful. Opening yourself up to hope can feel overwhelming and terrifying. When facing serious circumstances, it can feel too risky, and too vulnerable to allow yourself to get your hopes up, again, because they may be dashed, again.  

When faced with illness, trauma, relationship and/or financial issues, and other things of this serious nature, we often find ourselves so busy worrying, strategizing and focusing on the squeaky wheel of the issue that hope isn’t given any weight, as hope, alone, cannot solve the issues we’re facing. We don’t have TIME for hope, we reason, as we need to be realistic and take care of business. 
To discount hope, though, is to discount a profoundly powerful tool. Hope is a profound support that can be accessed even in the darkest of times and utilized as fuel. Hope can drive action, fueling us to think bigger and to take action to achieve success.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

More to come…

Kathleen 

Please contact us at support@procovery.com with any questions, comments, suggestions, or comment here on the blog.

Art of Moving Forward Workshop Contest Winners Selected!!!

We appreciate the profound interest in Procovery and all of the thoughtful submissions to Procovery Institute’s recent Art of Moving Forward Workshop contest — we have completed our review and selection process!

We are very happy to announce that, due to the incredibly enthusiastic response, we have decided to award not ONE, but THREE contest winners with the workshop of their choice!

CONGRATULATIONS to Pollyanne Hornbeck and Exodus Recovery, Inc., John Czernek and Long Beach Mental Health and Gail Sulser and San Pedro Mental Health!!!

Kathleen Crowley, Executive Director of Procovery Institute and creator of the Procovery Program, will be providing the chosen workshops (outlined below) to the winning agencies from June-August 2016:

Gathering Support — It is both a healing strategy and an objective in itself for individuals to be able to form the relationships they seek with others — service providers, colleagues, family, friends, romantic partners — in a manner that supports and promotes their healing. Even if you could do everything for yourself, why would you want to? This workshop helps to identify support desired, and ways to begin to seek it.

When spider webs unite they can tie up a lion. — Ethiopian proverb

Uncovering Hope — Without hope, motivation and inspiration are enormously difficult. With hope, motivation and inspiration can be just a short step. In this sense, hope is the engine of motivation and inspiration. This workshop seeks to increase hope, and inspire action, in the direction of your dreams.

He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how. — Friedrich Nietzsche

We are very happy to provide these workshops and look forward to seeing many of you in attendance! If you are interested in learning more, please contact Procovery Institute and see below for descriptions of some of our most requested workshops.
The Role of Work in Healing — This workshop outlines key job strategies, both to find work and, equally as important, ways to continue to sustain healing strategies once employment has been secured.
Dissolving Stigma — Our Stories, Ourselves: An interactive workshop looking at stigma, and the most important stories of all — the ones we tell ourselves.

Community Integration — This workshop addresses the critical link between community integration and cultural diversity, and the power of embracing individual culture, strengths and preference to connect with others and, ultimately, to sustain healing.

Creating Change — This workshop helps to assess change desired, risk factors and ways to move forward.

Additionally, Procovery Institute can consult with you on a build-your-own workshop, tailored to your specific needs. Contact us at support@procovery.com to learn more!

Until next time…

Procovery Institute

People will try to tell you that all of the great opportunities have been snapped up. In reality, the world changes every second, blowing new opportunities in all directions, including yours. — Ken Hakuta

A Favorite Proverb

“When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.” – Ethiopian Proverb

Walk Down A Different Street

Yesterday we posted Portia Nelson’s wonderful “There’s a Hole in my Sidewalk” story. That story reminds me of so very many times that I was honored to be witness to someone learning not only that they wanted to walk down a different street, but that they could.

And it reminds me of a time when I learned this for myself.

In 1984, in a locked psychiatric ward at UCLA, a resident psychiatrist asked me, during a therapy session, what I wanted my life to look like in five years.  This wasn’t the first time he’d asked this. He asked me nearly every therapy session, at the end, just before I left. I remember mulling his words over quietly, not responding, just wondering (as I always did) why in the world he would ask me this.

It just made me feel sad.

My life, as I’d pictured it, was crumbling and much of what I had always planned was now impossible. His question, that he asked gently and hopefully, just made me sad.

I remember finally asking him, what difference does it make anyway? I’d recently been diagnosed as one hundred percent mentally and physically disabled for life, so it wasn’t like it could ever look that way.

He gently said, “Just tell me, Kathleen.”

I said that I would like to leave my marriage that was miserably failing and hurting everyone involved, and I would like to move to my own apartment with my two beautiful young daughters, and focus on raising two healthy, happy daughters ….. and I would like to write.

I remember Dr. Jones, the resident psychiatrist, leaned back in his chair and smiled, he was quiet for a long time. I figured he was just satisfied that I finally acknowledged his question, but after awhile he said “So, Kathleen, that is all entirely possible.”

And I was honestly stunned.

I felt like I’d just said to him, I want to win the lottery, fly to the moon and become president of the universe.

When I read this now, I see how relatively modest my 5 year plan was, but honestly on that day it felt quite impossible.

That day I learned that not only did I want to walk down another street but that someone else really believed that I actually could.

We can do this for others. We can see their potential, and help them dream a new dream.

Until next time…

Kathleen

“There’s a Hole in my Sidewalk”

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
by Portia Nelson

Chapter One
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in.
I am lost . . . I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault . . .
It takes forever to find a way out.


Chapter Two
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in this same place. But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.


Chapter Three
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it there.
I still fall . . . it’s a habit . . . but,
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.


Chapter Four
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.


Chapter Five
I walk down another street. 



© Copyright 1993 Portia Nelson from the book “There’s a Hole in my Sidewalk”, Beyond Words Publishing, Hillsboro, Oregon. Used with permission.

A Life In The Community For Everyone – Part One

At Procovery Insitute, we are so happy to be hearing increased discussion, and see long overdue focus, on Community Reintegration. This is so important for individuals, our communities and society as a whole. However, it is also imperative to realize that Community Reintegration is not always possible. It is sometimes entirely impossible – you cannot reintegrate if you have never been integrated in the first place. Many individuals have no vision of living in the community and do not even consider this a possibility, as they’ve never known it.

Many years ago I was facilitating a Procovery Circle as part of a cultural efficacy test of Procovery, in partnership with LACDMH and USC. That winter my mother knit hats for everyone in the Procovery Circle – knit beanies made with soft, colorful yarn that were handmade especially for this Circle. Most of the participants selected a hat at the end of the Circle and put it on right away, but one participant quietly folded his up very neatly, and put it in his pocket without ever putting it on. One of the other participants asked him why he wasn’t wearing his hat, which I was also wondering, and he replied “This hat would be a really good hat for a homeless person, so I’m saving it for when I’m homeless again.”  I asked him why he assumed he would be homeless again, and he replied that he was 41 years old and had only been homeless or institutionalized since he turned 18 years old. It was the only pattern of life that he knew and he couldn’t envision a future for himself where he was not homeless upon discharge.


​Merely living outside of an institution is NOT Community Integration or Reintegration. In order to be integrated in to the community, a community has to be available or one has to be created. It is devastating to learn how many individuals never learned HOW to live in a community or never had a community available to them. ​

It is important to add that what constitutes community is highly individual, we feel that community is about connection, not proximity. Simply being in the midst of others does not constitute community. It is sometimes easier to feel lonely and isolated when surrounded by people, than it is to feel this way when home alone.​


This subject always reminds us of the beautiful Starhawk quote below. What a beautiful way to imagine a community.


“We are all longing to go home to some place we have never been – a place half-remembered and half-envisioned we can only catch glimpses of from time to time. Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace where we can be free.” – Starhawk