All of us at one time or another find ourselves at life’s crossroads. These moments in our journey can be difficult, full of challenges, and unpredictable. Our decisions on which direction we should take is often based on past experience – lessons learned, failures and successes. It sometimes just takes a gut feeling on what path would lead us to a better outcome.
But what about people whose life experience has been distorted by violence, repeated – gut-wrenching disappointment, and unresolved pain that seemingly can only be coped with not by the promise of hope found in a nurtured, well-adjusted life but in brokenness.
As a therapist, I work with people who stand daily at life’s crossroads with life experiences that are full of pain which lead to taking paths that are self-destructive. The people I am speaking of are men and women who as children came from hard places. The path they have taken at the crossroads of their lives often leads to self-destruction through drug addiction. After all, what coping measures do they have that would bring them the hope and nurturing all human beings need to live and thrive?
Alpha Recovery Centre (Please double click on the link to visit Alpha Recovery Centre) has served West Texas communities since 2006, providing substance abuse and mental health services to individuals and families. In addition to serving the Midland, Odessa, Big Spring communities and their surrounding rural communities, we provide aftercare to individuals who are currently in both the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and Federal Bureau of Prisons Substance Abuse Recovery Programs. I have been given the privilege to work with parolees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. I am discovering that the majority of my clients have come from some very hard places and never had a chance to experience the loving and nurturing care all human beings desire and need to thrive. When they came to the many crossroads in their lives, they chose paths that only temporarily numbed the unresolved pain of their violent childhoods, but sooner than later only brought them down further into a deeper and darker abyss that time after time grows more difficult to climb out of.
Recently, I was invited via web conferencing to dialogue with members of the Texas Christian University Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development concerning the use of Trust-Based Relational Intervention as part of our work with parolees and their families in what we call a Therapeutic Community setting.
In my presentation Utilizing Trust-Based Relational Intervention (T.B.R.I.) Principles in Helping Promote Behavioral Modification Among Texas Department of Criminal Justice Offenders (please double click on the link to review and download this presentation) I drew behavioral comparisons of the traditional child populations TBRI has found great success in reshaping lives and TDCJ parolees who are under our therapeutic care. What I am finding in my implementation of TBRI empowering principles to the TDCJ population is that their ability to gain mindfulness of their childhood trauma is foundational to their recovery. This, and the integration of TBRI methodologies in redirecting and/or re-framing behaviors from negative to positive is helping bridge the gap of healthy nurturing care deprived during their early years.
We employ nurturing groups, known as Process Groups in the Therapeutic Community, to work as a family to solve issues that surround addictive behaviors. In-line with TBRI practices, the clients work together to problem-solve whatever issues are being brought to the table during these group sessions.
Individual therapy is vital to helping the client identify the deep trauma that drives their addiction and daily ability to function in their immediate environment and in larger society. Oftentimes the hopelessness of not being able to get a job or have a family is projected to a “rap sheet” that scars them for life. The use of TBRI empowering principles helps clients come to know that they are not defined by their past, rather they are defining themselves for the healthy qualities they live every day outside of the penal system.
It was agreed that we would take up to a year of research to measure the success of using TBRI in helping our parolee population through therapy.
Trust-Based Relational Intervention as it is employed at Alpha Recovery Center helps our clients understand their inherit self-worth and puts in-place hope for a future that is not limited or worse yet, stifled by the past.
Please share with me your thoughts.