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You must respond to at least 2 classmates’ threads with 200–250-word replies each as if you were talking to them not in third person.
The group I would like to lead and also use for this class is a First Responder Peer Support group. This group is open for up to 30 people, all of whom must be first responders or military members (active duty or retired for all categories). It is an open meeting and is set up to provide a safe place where first responders can come and share. This meeting is founded by Harbor of Grace and supported by law enforcement, emergency services, and military units from all over the United States and abroad. In addition, Peer Support Team members from other agencies across the mid-Atlantic and other Eastern States have come to attend in hope to see how they can provide similar support back in their area. Some people attending this group may be attending because they are struggling with a mental health issue stemming from trauma, substance abuse, or just struggling with aspects of their employment. Some are current residents of the Harbor of Grace, former clients of Harbor of Grace, and others who have never required inpatient treatment. It is averaged that first responders encounter approximately 188 traumatic events within a career of 16.6 years (Chopko, et al., 2015) and so providing support to these individuals is paramount. This group is unique because typically within first responder agencies the need for support groups or the acknowledgement that anyone has any sort of mental health or substance abuse issue is taboo.
Thankfully, groups like this are becoming more commonplace because the need for them is so great. The stigma regarding self-help and treatment is slowly changing in the first responder community but not nearly quickly enough. More police officers died from suicide last year than died in the line of duty. (Solomon #038; McGill, 2020). This is a multi-faceted group and is facilitated by a staff member from Harbor of Grace and is supported by three to five other mental health practitioners, chaplains, or peers at each weekly session. This group meets once weekly for 2 hours with a short break in the middle where pizza and wings are served.
Chopko, B. A., Palmieri, P. A., #038; Adams, R. E. (2015). Critical incident history questionnaire
replication: Frequency and severity of trauma exposure among officers from small and
midsize police agencies. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 28(2), 157-161.
Solomon, K., #038; McGill, J. (2020, June 20). Blue H.E.L.P. https://bluehelp.org/
Discussion Board 1: Groups
I would like to lead an education group, focusing on understanding and improving resilience. Normally education groups have many participants, however, due to Covid-19 restrictions the group size will be smaller with three to nine participants. This is an open group within the military community.
The purpose of this education group is to teach participants how to grow and thrive in the face of challenges and bounce back from adversity. This is achieved by building core competencies that enable mental toughness, optimal performance, strong leadership, and goal achievement. These sessions will be taught on an ongoing monthly basis so the primary purpose will stay the same but each session will also have a secondary purpose related to the specific competency being developed (Jacobs et al., 2016). The competencies build off one another, however, they are communicated in such a way that anyone can attend any skill at any time. The sessions will last from one to two hours, depending on if competencies are combined and how many practical exercises will be completed.
This resilience material is the intellectual property of the Army and as such can only be taught to military soldiers, families, and Department of the Army (DA) civilians. To teach this material, a level one certification in Master Resiliency Training (MRT) is required. Resilience sessions are leadership-directed as the leader is responsible for discussion facilitation, demonstrating practical exercises, and overseeing exercise completion (Harvill, 2020). These sessions also work best with an intrapersonal leadership style as one of the goals in improving resilience is to utilize relevant personal experience.
The leader also needs to focus primarily on the needs and concerns of the participants while not forgetting group dynamics and cultural issues (Jacobs et al., 2016). As a Christian I am unable to use biblical references when teaching this material, however, the bible has a lot to say about resilience competencies such as optimism, self-regulation, strength of character, and connection. Resilience training is a great way to serve and help nonbelievers in a non-religious setting while also building biblical competencies.
Harvill, R. L. (2020, August 26). Process and content [Video file]. Retrieved from https://learn.liberty.edu/webapps/blackboard/conte…
Jacobs, E. E., Schimmel, C. J., Masson, R. L., #038; Harvill, R. L. (2016). Group counseling strategies and skills (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
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