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