Welcome to the Western Mass Recovering Learning Community
The Western Mass Recovery Learning Community (RLC) supports healing and empowerment for our broader communities and people who have been impacted by psychiatric diagnosis, trauma, extreme states, homelessness, addiction and other life-interrupting challenges through:
- Peer-to-peer support & genuine human relationships
- Alternative Healing Practices
- Learning Opportunities
Essential to our work is recognizing and undoing systemic injustices such as racism, sexism, transphobia and psychiatric oppression.
The RLC is made up of PEOPLE (not places) and is wherever and however YOU and others from the community may choose to connect. Together, we offer a variety of events, workshops, trainings, advocacy and leadership councils, as well as a peer support line, three resource centers (Springfield, Greenfield, and Holyoke) and a Peer Respite in Northampton. Above all else, we create space for anyone who has a genuine interest in taking part in our community and holding its values to share and find connection, information, ideas and opportunities to make change in their own lives and/or the community around them. Our shared experiences and ‘humanness’ are what unite us. Our stories, collective wisdom and strength are what guide us and our community forward.
The Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community is funded, in part, by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, the United Way of Franklin County, and a variety of private foundations and donations.
Advanced Hearing Voices Facilitator Training
Wednesday, June 7 & Thursday, June 8, 10am to 4:30pm, Holyoke area, location TBD
This workshop is intended for those who have already completed the 3-day Hearing Voices Group Facilitator training, and/or who otherwise have extensive Hearing Voices group facilitation experience. The workshop will provide an opportunity to meet other facilitators, link up with other groups, and share good practices around setting up and sustaining Hearing voices groups.
The workshop will explore:
- Projects and Network news
- Group discussion and dynamics
- Successes and challenges
- Featured presentations on advances in innovative approaches
DEALING WITH VICARIOUS TRAUMA: HELPING THE HELPER
Monday, June 12, 10-4:30pm, Holyoke Community College, Kittredge Center, Holyoke, MA (Sponsored by the WM RLC)
Tuesday, June 13, 10- 4:30pm, Advocates, 1881 Worcester Road, Framingham, MA (Sponsored by Advocates)
Vicarious trauma is the process of change that happens because you care about other people who have been hurt, and feel committed or responsible to help them. Over time, this process can lead to changes in your psychological, physical, and spiritual well-being.
The workshop will explore:
- Risk factors in developing vicarious trauma
- Signs of vicarious trauma
- Strategies for dealing effectively with the impact of vicarious trauma
- Beyond vicarious trauma—to vicarious transformation
Who is Jacqui Dillon?: Jacqui is a writer, and international speaker and trainer. She has personal and professional experience, awareness and skills in working with trauma and abuse, dissociation, hearing voices, and healing. She has lectured and published worldwide. She also has one of those great English accents that us Americans seem to so love! Learn more about Jacqui at www.jacquidillon.org
- Training peer supporters to not "get in the way"
- A peer supporter refusing contact on these sorts of bases would be a violation of the very nature of peer-to-peer relationships.
- This training is being offered online. Peer support is centered around human connection and relationships. It does not fit with the impersonal nature of a computer screen.
- “I want to thank [the trainers] and all my fellow Trainees for opening my soul. I have done many different trainings. The completion of [this training] is the one I am the most proud of, and the most inspired by.”
- “This is one of the best trainings I attended in a while because it challenged me to really look at my fear and how I connect with myself and others.”
@the Summit View Banquet House,
555 Northampton Street, Holyoke
- Who do you think is offering extraordinary peer support?
- Who's been an especially great ally?
- Who's been an exceptional volunteer?
There has been a recent trend of attempting to diagnose Donald Trump as ‘severely mentally ill’. Some are using it as an opportunity to make fun of him. For example, Andy Borowitz published a ‘satirical’ piece in the New Yorker about Trump hearing voices: "Trump Accuses Media of Not Reporting Voices He Hears in Head". Although meant to be funny, the piece pokes fun at Trump at the expense of people who do actually hear voices, and reinforces negative stereotypes.
But most articles about diagnosing Trump aren’t meant to be funny, including a petition started by a psychologist and demanding his removal from office on that basis. Why is all of this a problem? There are several reasons including (but certainly not limited to):
The suggestion that psychiatric diagnosis means one is unfit to be president is discriminatory. There are many people who’ve been diagnosed, hospitalized, and so on, who are extremely smart, reliable, gifted, loyal people working in jobs where they have a great deal of responsibility and much positive impact.
The suggestion that we need to diagnose someone to see their actions as good or bad is harmful. People are perfectly able to look at what Trump is doing, and decide how they feel about it or evaluate his actions against the law and ethical standards without a diagnosis.
Pointing the finger at a supposed ‘mental illness’ does nothing but further harm already marginalized groups in this country. The people this will ultimately harm the most will not be people with lots of power and money, like Donald Trump, but the rest of us who’ve also been diagnosed and are mostly just trying to survive in this world. For more on this topic see the following two articles:
Trump and the Diagnosis Free-for-All ~ by Sera Davidow.
The Truth about Trump & Psychiatric Diagnosis ~ by Paula J Caplan
and to read the entire article, choose "read more" below