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2016 Healing Accomplishments
Joyful Heart promotes a holistic approach to healing and wellness for both survivors and the professionals who support them, anchored in the belief it is possible to not only overcome trauma but also to thrive and reclaim joy. Through our programs, we seek to increase society’s understanding of the effects of trauma and expand the use of integrated, trauma-informed wellness practices to improve the quality of life for survivors.
In 2015, Joyful Heart launched a multiyear plan to evaluate the efficacy of our signature survivor retreats with researcher Dr. Mary Ann Dutton of Georgetown University with the goal of helping to improve the well-being of women who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, or child abuse. This model incorporates a survivor-centric, holistic approach that can be offered alongside other methods of treatment, such as counseling and therapy.
In the fall, the Healing team successfully led the third and final retreat of the Holistic Healing Arts Retreat research study. The implications of the early findings suggest this four-day retreat model is effective and beneficial to its participants. We anticipate releasing a Summary of Findings in 2018.
Funded in part by the Atherton Family Foundation in Hawaiʻi, this project is a two-year effort designed to assist local organizations in developing and implementing a repertoire of practices, policies, and procedures addressing vicarious trauma. In early July 2016, we held a series of Heal the Healers workshops, technical assistance opportunities, and training sessions with each organization’s leadership.
Upon completion, this project will inform our national Heal the Healers program on how to best support individual staff members’ wellness while building the capacity of each organization’s management to institutionalize wellness and holistic sustainability across the organization.
The Hawaiʻi team also provided a Heal the Healers workshop for sexual assault response coordinators and victim advocates stationed at the U.S. Army’s Schofield Barracks. Over 40 active duty military and civilian advocates who work on the front lines of providing support to sexual assault survivors in the Army participated in two days of healing activities to address their compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma.
In November, Joyful Heart joined leading domestic violence organizations in California for a learning circle convened by the Blue Shield of California Foundation. The circle came together for six months of facilitated learning sessions to explore each organization’s practices that lift up survivor-centered approaches. The resulting white paper, “Going Against the Grain: A Report from a Survivor-Centered Practices Learning Circle,” was published in July 2017.