In early 2012, Matthew and two of his staff took the TIR Workshop. Later that year he took the TIR – Expanded Applications and Life Stress Reduction Workshops. Early this year he arranged to have the rest of his staff to take the TIR Workshop. He is a trainer-in-training.
Alameda County Youth Development is the first official Allied Organization with AMI.
What interested you in pursuing TIR training? How about the second and third workshops you completed?
MAG: The George P. Scotlan Youth and Family Center, operated by Alameda County Youth Development, Inc., is West Oakland’s oldest and largest community youth and family service center. Scotlan Center has invested resources to train our staff to address the prevailing overwhelming trauma experienced by many of our clients’ reentry [into the general population from the criminal justice system] and local populations related to gun violence and domestic violence. Specifically we wanted to learn evidenced-based, nationally recognized practices that use innovative processes and theory that deliver maximum results in as brief period as possible. I pursued this training because we are the frontline “social paramedics”, whose job is to stop the emotional bleeding and psycho-social wounds of at-risk youth & adults. The person-centered approach that is the cornerstone of the TIR training enables the case managers to resolve issues as the client perceives them, not as the case manager would define them. This allows us enable the client to identify solutions that they own and will embrace.
Please tell us something about your work and your organization
MAG: Scotlan Center has provided comprehensive services for the at-risk populations of West Oakland and Oakland at large for more than 35 years. Scotlan currently offers primarily youth-focused programs. Those include programs funded completely or in part by the City of Oakland: (a) year-round education and Job Training Program serving youth ages 14 – 21; (b) the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program, enrolling, training, and placing in subsidized and unsubsidized summer employment, youth ages 14 -24; and (c) Women’s Reentry Program in partnership with the Oakland Private Industry Council to provide education and job readiness training to women from ages 18- 35, including: intake, assessment, case management, and referral.
Among its ten programs, the Scotlan Center also has operated 3 programs for the Alameda County Probation Department for more than 25 years, serving youth. The Probation-funded programs include long and short-term mental health services, crisis intervention, intensive case management, and parenting groups, classes, and workshops, as well as anger management/conflict resolution groups. Parallel to the Probation-funded programs, Scotlan also works on Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Prevention Program and a family reunification program (see below for more detail on this.)
For the past year, Scotlan Center has also maintained two State-funded CalGRIP (California Gang Reduction, Intervention, and Prevention) Programs for gang-involved youth ages 16 – 24. These programs combat the influence of gangs, providing comprehensive, wrap-around services to gang-involved youth to guide them into employment and school/career paths using employment training, educational and career path training, skills development, case management, counseling, life skills development, support services, and finally job placement and entry into post secondary and vocational training programs for highly at risk, gang-involved youth. In total, Scotlan Center serves more than 1200 at risk youth and their families per year and is strongly and deeply immersed in the target populations. As will be seen below, Scotlan Center, despite its long history, is also a constant innovator in youth programming and has pioneered some of the most creative and successful youth-focused, issue-based programs in Oakland.
In general, Scotlan Center has worked with homeless, runaway, foster care, re-entering (formerly incarcerated), dropped out and otherwise high-risk youth populations for more than 35 years. All Scotlan’s programs are free of charge and serve only these targeted, low-income, under-served populations.
MAG: How do TIR and other Applied Metapsychology techniques fit into the work you are doing with troubled youth and families?
Scotlan Center’s Family Counseling, Case Management, and Parenting Skills Programs are subject to performance and measurable outcome goals. These include: the number of youth and families served, the number of youth diverted from the juvenile justice system, the number of youth showing improved school performance, the number of youth with improved truancy rates, and the number of families upon which a measurable benefit (such as improved family functioning) has been conferred. Scotlan also has operated three programs for the Alameda County Probation Department for more than 25 years, serving over 450 youth annually between the ages of 7 and 19, who are at risk for involvement in the juvenile system or are formally charged with crimes under the juvenile codes, as well as youth who are academically at risk due to school attendance, behavior and performance issues. These treatment programs include the families of the affected youth. The Probation-funded programs include long and short term mental health services, crisis intervention, intensive case management, and parenting groups, classes, and workshops, as well as anger management/conflict resolution groups.
Parallel to the Probation-funded programs, Scotlan also conducts a vibrant Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Prevention Program and a family reunification program for families suffering from involuntary or court-ordered separation. This program serves more than 125 families per year. The Applied Metapsychology techniques are powerful tools that facilitate communication with family members. Often Wrong Indication Handling [addressing and resolving painful, judgmental statements from one person to another] and upset handling techniques are critical to improving the communication between the teens and their guardians.
What inspired you to train as a TIR Trainer?
MAG: I was inspired by the evidence-based listing from SAMHSA [the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration]. I needed an innovative approach to reach the unique ongoing traumatic incidences that are experienced in our community. I grew up as a foster kid and understand how important it is to be heard. To know that “somebody knows your name” and cares about what you really feel. Emotions and traumas were often suppressed in my life as a survival mechanism so I would not be seen as difficult or a problem child. The training has further helped me to resolve some of the suppressed issues that can be triggered in adult realities. I want to pass on these much needed Applied Metapsychology techniques to staff and others to increase service delivery effectiveness. Making a safe place and having empathy and kindness is critical to enabling communication with these troubled teens and young adults.
MAG: What is your vision for TIR and Life Stress Reduction in your community?
As an agency on the front lines of urban crime, violence and delinquency, we are faced with the daily responsibility of resolving situations in which urgent intervention techniques are required. We see the need for a fully trauma-informed region as vital and part of the critical role we play in making trauma reduction tools available to the community. We feel that with this approach we can help as many as possible understand and pursue the benefits of TIR and Life Stress Reduction. These unique approaches don’t require Masters or PhD level competencies to deliver effective results. I am excited about the ability to reach out to caring individuals in the social service community and equip them with reasonable access to techniques and information that can bring much needed relief, improve the quality of their lives, and address the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that is prevalent in our community.[Ed. Note: This article originally appeared in the AMI/TIRA Newsletter (Vol. X, No. 2) July 2013. ISSN 1555-0818. Reprinted with permission.]